In Which I Explain Where This Week’s Blog Post Went

Dear readers,

The delay in this week’s post is due to food poisoning and me getting it, which I highly suggest you never, ever do.

Until I can give you the actual update we both deserve, here’s a link to the article that’s my inspiration for the next post.  It comes from the always awesome Washington City Paper:


Love always,


In which I could never sleep face down on the floor of a Metro train, but I could fall asleep listening to Glassjaw

Listening to: The album “Clumsy” by Samiam


Samiam posted a song yesterday from their new album that’s due to come out this fall, which I learned about from the every trusty Punknews.  In the past, Samiam has never disappointed; if this track is representative of the new album it sounds like they’re about to continue that trend.  So chances are you’ve already heard this if you like Samiam as much as me.  If you have, here’s an easy link to listen to it again.  If not, try out these amazing sounds:


I have some weird music choices when it comes to what I like to have on as I’m falling asleep.  Glassjaw, Bear Vs. Shark, Jawbreaker, and A Perfect Circle (I admit it!) have all been past selections.  I know many people who can’t fall asleep with any sounds in the room, let alone music that emotes and surrounds as much as these.  But for whatever reason, this is the kind of thing that soothes me into the REM cycle.


You can see some weird things on the DC Metro.  In fact, there are blogs and Twitter accounts that devote plenty of time highlighting some of the absurdity.  In the nation’s capital, people often do three things while on the Metro: listen to something playing through headphones, read, and/or sleep.

Here’s a photo of a girl doing two of those:

it was probably a long day. hope those are some good tunes in there

You get the idea. Some people have strange takes on the combo, though.

This morning I Metro’d to work, which happens every now and then when I’m feeling too lazy to walk up the giant hill that stands between me and my usual bus.  I did the reading/dozing combo whilst on the train, which is probably why I didn’t see the man with the strange take on these common Metro-riding options.

The man I’m speaking of was wearing a white t-shirt, khaki shorts, sneakers, a baseball cap, and was lying face down on the Metro train floor.  He was halfway under a set of seats at the front end of the car.  I didn’t see him until I stood up for my stop, but there he was, full sprawl.  Others on the train were eyeing him curiously as well, some with looks of disgust, others with amusement.  A moment of concern took over first–is he hurt? Unconscious? But as the train slowed for my stop, he lifted his head to look around and check which station we were pulling into.  He looked perfectly awake and healthy.

I’m kicking myself for not having enough time to take a photo.  If I hadn’t been so engrossed in my zoned out/reading state, I surely would’ve seen him soon enough to photograph, post on Facebook, and tweet at @unsuckdcmetro while shamelessly hoping for a retweet.

Then leaving the station, I rode the elevator up with a guy, probably early thirties, who was dressed such that he was in the ambiguous state where it’s impossible to tell if he was a tourist.  He had on a plaid, button-down, short-sleeve shirt, a backpack that bulged slightly as though packed for at least a day away from home/hotel, and headphones blasting.  Blasting so much that I could clearly hear the music he was listening to, though I didn’t recognize it.


It got me thinking.  I rarely if ever have on a pair of headphones while walking around anymore, even with the volume turned low.  I’ve certainly never slept face-down on the floor of a Metro train (though I’m sure, if that ever does happen, it’ll be safe to call it the low point in my life).  But what’s so different between these two men appearing so comfortably engrossed in their sleep/music and my odd choices for music to which I fall asleep?

It may seem like a stretch, but the connection formed fairly clearly in my mind.  I’d never be comfortable sleeping on the floor of a Metro train (for what I hope would be obvious reasons), just as I wouldn’t be okay with blasting headphones so loudly on the street that I couldn’t hear what was going on around me.  And yet, I’m completely okay with loud, vibrant, adrenaline-inducing music for when I fall asleep.  More than that, I feel like I need it; I have a difficult time falling asleep in silence.

This blog certainly follows in the same vein of the one that precedes it.  It seems this has been what’s on my mind while forming direction for the entries.  Next week, a stray from this path is in order.  Feel free to comment with whether or not you agree.  And I think a future challenge I will pose for myself in this blog will be not to start any sentences with “I.”


– Picking it up and putting it down and picking it up again (I’m getting there, I swear)

– Tunes for the economic drama-rama

– “Mature” music tastes (yeah, right)

In which I have trouble concentrating

Listening to: shuffling through the albums “It’s a Trap!” by Captain We’re Sinking; “Absolutely Not” by Lighten Up; “DISMOUNT” by The Holy Mess; and “Not Like This” by Iron Chic

Today, the most important part of this entry is the “Listening to:” note at the top.

It’s not because of the albums/bands listed (although I highly recommend checking them all out for some great punk music), but because of the fact that I am, indeed, listening to music while writing this entry.

And here’s why:


Full disclosure: I got the idea for this blog entry from Plinky.  I checked out the site when I wrote my first blog entry and realized I was severely lacking direction.  Serendipitously, this blog’s topic happened to be the default question of the day.  I won’t be surprised if future entries are inspired from there, too.

Earlier this year, I read for the first time Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.  I actually first bought the book from a thrift store  (Value Village, for those familiar with the place) during my freshman year of college, but didn’t get around to reading it until after graduation.  Go figure.  One of the things it made me realize–among many, many others–is that I should’ve taken more philosophy courses.

I’ll admit, parts of it were a huge challenge for me to read.  Certain parts that proved difficult, though, I felt shouldn’t have been–and were the direct result of what felt like a psychological experiment that Pirsig had just performed on me through proxy.

For those not familiar with the novel, it’s a philosophical journey taken by the main character through a chataqua to literally find himself while on a cross-country motorcycle road trip with his son.  Towards the very start of the novel, the narrator is talking about how humans interact with, reject and accept technology.  I wasn’t far into the second chapter when I read a line that would shape my reading experience for the rest of the novel:

“You can’t really think hard about what you’re doing and listen to the radio at the same time.”

For context, the narrator is speculating why motorcycle mechanics sometimes butcher the machine on which they’re working.  He says it’s because a person can’t concentrate on the radio and an important task harmoniously.

I found it ironic that I had headphones on and music going full blast as I read this.  But as soon as I did, as though it was some kind of hypnotic suggestion, my music seemed too loud.  It was impossible for me to concentrate on reading the novel and listening to the music at the same time.

I’ve always been a multitasker, and I’m even listening to music while writing this.  All through college, I would keep music on while studying.  Heck, I needed to have music on to successfully study.  But for the entire rest of that book, I couldn’t for the life of me listen to music and concentrate on what I was reading simultaneously.

Since then, as I read on the bus to and from work, I no longer keep headphones in while I read.  Maybe Pirsig made me aware of an idea that had been dormant in me, or perhaps it was just a way of thinking that had never touched me before.  Whatever it was, I can no longer just hear music in the background.  I need to listen to the music I have on whether I like it or not.

It’s a concept that never concerned me before.  But why did I figure I could just hear or ignore all that sound going on in the background? If I’m specifically choosing that music because it’s what I want to listen to, what would make me think it would be so easily turned into muzak?

The strange part is, I have music on now (as noted in the especially important “Listening to:” section above) and if anything, it’s helping me concentrate.  Normally at work I don’t have music on in the background, but that’s only because it’s not conducive to my work environment–half the time I’m working with other audio and the other half I need to be able to speak and discuss with my coworkers. But while writing especially, I prefer having music on.  Yet now reading–even and especially for pleasure–is no longer accomplishable with tunes on in the background.

Maybe that’s the reason why it’s so easy to get songs stuck in my head.


– Picking it up and putting it down and picking it up again

– I got a song stuck in my head, and it’s playing over and over, and it’s… the economy! (I know, you’re thrilled and so engrossed that you can’t wait for more)

Blog entry 2: In which I ramble for a while before getting to my point about the punk community and social networking

Listening to: the album “Idle Ages” by Junior Battles

Most of the time I’m more surprised at how fast time moves than how slow it moves.  Maybe this is a more prevalent view than I think, or maybe it’s just a feeling that comes with growing up.  I heard once that time feels like it’s moving slower when you’re younger because you have fewer years of experience to draw from.  The more memories you stack up, the easier it is to realize how many events and experiences and moments have happened already–and the quicker time seems to go by.

But that’s not what this post is going to be about.  That’s just a longwinded way of saying that I was taken by surprise that it’s been a week since I wrote my last post.  Of course, that day also kind of feels like an eternity ago, which probably shows that in the relative scheme of things I’m still pretty young.  Maybe I’ll post more on the idea of how time moves in a later post if I can figure out a better angle to take on it.

Also, when I was walking back to my apartment in 90+ degree heat after work today, I considered ranting about the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial for at least part of this post.  Then I put about six ice cubes in a glass with some water, consumed it, and then decided that ranting about Anthony basically walking is not the tone I want to set for my second blog entry, so this is all I will mention of it… today.

No, today, after my so very brief three-paragraph introduction, I will try to set a stage and a backdrop so readers can be more familiar with me and the blog’s content.  As well as… *drumroll* my first real topic!

After much thinking and jotting down on pages of a physical notebook (They still exist! And I still use them. Save the trees though, people), I decided that the writings in these entries will be a public journal.  I’m writing for this to be a journal overall, a log of ideas, experiences and issues I want to remember (or at least, I think are important enough to remember whether or not I really do want to remember them).  But this will also be kept entirely public, or so goes the plan.  So I’m journaling, but I hope it will be a journal that’s interesting and relevant enough to captivate a few of you who are floating around the interwebz.

I’m not saying every entry will be “blah blah blah Capitol Hill” or “blah blah blah pick it up pick it up,” but yeah, that’s what every entry will be about.  Kidding. Kind of.  Obviously this is still a work in progress and very disjointed.  Current events have been the main focus of my life for so many years now that it’s hard to imagine a life without them.  And by “current events,” I don’t just mean the front page of CNN/Washington Post/New York Times/The Daily Beast/insert your favorite news organization(s) here, but also the current events in the world of music and the bands I love.

MEAT AND POTATOES (or tofu and sprouts, since, ya know, I’m a vegetarian. Fun fact!)
For instance, last Friday I went to see a show at St. Stephen’s church in DC.  Bomb the Music Industry! was headlining, and the show also featured The Wild, Cheap Girls, The Max Levine Ensemble and Algernon. I’d never been to a show at the church before even though I’ve been in this area for about five years now.  It completely rocked; it was just the un-air conditioned, sweaty, raw, community experience a great punk show could and should be.

I could go on about how great the show was, but something else from that night stuck with me.  After Cheap Girls’ set, I went outside for some air.  As many in my generation are wont to do, I pulled out my smartphone to make sure I don’t miss a moment of what’s going on in my social network.

“.@Cheap_Girls just rocked dc! Stoked for some btmi! very soon” I tweeted.

“Thanks buddy! RT @argaines: .@Cheap_Girls just rocked dc! Stoked for some btmi! very soon” Cheap Girls tweeted back almost immediately.

I didn’t see their reply until the next day, but it got me thinking about how cool that is.  A few days earlier, I had tweeted at Junior Battles:

“tried to dl @juniorbattles new album last night and got trolled by a jimi hendrix experience ‘best of’ album. shoulda just waited til today” said I.

Again, a speedy reply:

“@argaines You didn’t get trolled, we just got wiiiiild in the studio. Hendrix-wild.” said the Battles.

And these weren’t the first quick exchanges on Twitter I’ve had with bands and musicians I that I love.  I could go on and on with commentary on how social media is changing the news, but the Twitter exchange with Cheap Girls was the first time I considered how social media is changing the punk scene.  Community is such an important part of the music; The Wild and other bands at the show on Friday repeatedly shouted out to Positive Force DC and similar groups for working towards creating safe, friendly spaces where kids (of all ages) can go to shows.

I’m a sporadic user of Twitter at best–though I’m trying to tweet more frequently–but seeing how easily and openly bands and their supporters can connect makes me see the site and the bands in a whole new positive way.  I’m not usually the type to get star-struck, but I can get tongue-tied at times, especially when it’s to someone I really respect, admire, and/or think is awesome in general.  So being able to say a quick “hey” on a site like Twitter and see a near-instant response is, honestly, super exciting.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to post it in the comments so we can discuss!

And I’d like to thank BTMI!, The Max Levine Ensemble, Cheap Girls, Algernon, The Wild and everyone else involved in Friday’s show for making it great.

– Can I work while listening to music? You bet your butt I— used to be better at it than I am now
– Picking it up and putting it down and picking it up again

Hello world!

Hello world, indeed!

This blog has been an idea tossed around in my head for a couple months with a name that I’ve used as a handle across the Interwebz for years.  It’s been two years since I last had a blog and I’d been getting antsy about wanting a new hobby.

Numerous friends of mine took up knitting or crocheting at various points in the past and now can make useful and delightful creations, but every time I’d tried I got frustrated too quickly so that was out.

Other friends had great theme blogs–move reviews, wedding preparations, the art and anxiety of moving cross country–but none of those applied to me.

Well, I’ve got one other big hobby, and that’s playing guitar.  I spend so much time following music news from various sites anyways, I figured that’s what I know best for a blog–music and news. (Oh yes, I’m a news junkie in general.  Might as well put the two together.)

So there you have it.  Or a vague idea of it at least.  This is my new attempt at a blog to write about news and music, probably with a big old focus on politics and punk.  And whatever else I feel the need to spew words about, at least until I get this a bit more focuses.

So, here it is.  Hello world!  Welcome to my new blog.  To be updated every rudie-Tuesday.

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