Alright, AlRIGHT

January 3, 2010

My girlfriend has publicly called me out on my piss-poor drive to update this blog. Citing I could ‘use a little blogging motivation’. So, as the rules go share 7 random personal facts, and then choose 7 more people to pass this on to. While I plan on sharing some DEEP, LITTLE-KNOWN facts with yall, I seriously doubt I have 7 friends who blog enough to participate with this. I’ll try to think of as many people as I can, but as far as calling out 7 blog-friend, I make no promises.


1. I am an only child. It’s always interesting when people find out I grew up sans siblings. Half will say, “Oh! Really? You don’t strike me as an only child.” While the other half will say, “For sure you’re an only child, I could totally tell!” The weird part for me is the former think they are paying me a compliment, and the latter feel as if they’re throwing a light-hearted insult my way. It’s the opposite, actually. Being a one-and-only is all I know. And I’m proud that, for the most part, I think I’ve come out of the experience being a fairly well-rounded individual. For me, being an only child mainly meant I spent more time playing two-person games by myself more than all my friends. If there’s one thing I can truly take away from being an only child, still my uncanny skill at Mario Kart on Super Nintendo. Never having to share the controller gave me infinite time to hone my driving skills; and I have yet to meet a truly worth competitor.

2. I’m adopted. Yep, not only am I an only child, but I was given up for adoption as a baby. I don’t know anything about my birth parents, or the reason they didn’t raise me. I was fortunate enough to have been adopted at a really young age, so I never had to deal with any resounding psychological difficulties of being ‘abandoned’ by my biological parents. I lucked out to have a mom adopt me who was completely transparent with me about being adopted from day one.

3. For years, improv was my life. I started doing improv as a freshman in high school. I did it primarily to meet new friends at school where, upon enrolling, I knew two people. It more than did the trick, improv became a part of my life for the next eleven years. Until about a year ago, every week of my adult life included some sort of improv rehearsal or show. With me switching to a job where the hours are very volatile; and finding myself increasingly annoyed with the political aspects of performing in Chicago, I began to drift away from the improv scene. I’d like to perform again one day, but since my job needs me to be available at odd hours, it’s difficult to guess when that will be.

4. I’m a really big sports fan. Hockey aside, I love following professional sports. With my nerdy nature, and skinny frame, it generally comes as a surprise that I can hold my own in a conversation surrounding which National League relief pitcher has the most deceptive WHIP. My childhood love for the Twins, Vikings, and Timberwolves never subsided when I got really into TV, film, and music. Rather, they coexisted in perfect harmony. So if any ever wants to debate the NFL’s top linebacker, then immediately debate the top act on Drag City Records, I’m your man.

5. I didn’t have a girlfriend until I was out of high school. Whether it was me being the victim of poor luck, my general overall awkwardness towards the opposite sex, or a combination of both, I never dated anyone while in high school. Dear Ladies of the Cretin-Derham Hall class of 2001: YOU MISSED OUT!

6. I’ve never lived outside the midwest. The longest I’ve ever been away from this region of the country was during the summer of 2001. As a high school graduation present, my mom graciously took me on a week-long trip to London. My mother and I have polar opposite views of how to tackle a vacation. Where I prefer to search a town on my own, and see cool non-tourist places, my mom will be the first person in line for a double decker bus guided tour, followed by high tea with a uniformed beefeater. Luckily, we established a good plan (we’d spend half the day solo, and the other half together) and ended up having a great trip. This is the only real exposure I’ve had to another non-midwestern culture for longer than like five days. I love the midwest, but I feel like I’d really be doing myself an injustice by not visiting other countries (let alone other parts of the country) for the remainder of my life. Baby needs his tropical vaca!

7. I’m really interested in investing. Though I don’t consider myself materialistic, and I have a job in a creative field where math generally doesn’t ever enter the picture, I enjoy learning about how I can make money grow. It’s so fascinating to read about all the different aspects that go into making a stock rise and fall in price. I’m nowhere near an authority on the subject, but it’s cool to think how your money can turn into…more money…OMG, like MAGIC!

There you have it everyone,. Hopefully I gave you a bit of insight to what makes me tick. Here are the folks to whom I pass on this wonderous blog-challenge to:

Jacob at Trying too Hard

Jeannie at Jeannie’s Obsessions

Lauren at All The Latest Moves

and finally Jamie at Nice Jumpshot



Gourmet Burger Countdown!

November 11, 2009

It’s absolute dead at work right now. So I’m literally counting down to 1pm, when I’ll be meeting friend and member of the renown NYC overrated-core band Dirty Projectors JBH at Primehouse for $5 gourmet burgers. This puppy’s aged 40 days in a meat locker whose walls are covered in Himalayan salt

In other news, out of the blue, this song by NYC underrated-core band The Walkmen is stuck in my head. I welcome it with open arms:

With my band had live gigs. I think our live show would be a lot like this, but in outer space.



Pet Peeve Alert: Self-Righteous Underground Hip-Hop Personalities

October 2, 2009

I don’t listen to too much hop-hop anymore. I was hella (rap-speak for ‘really’) into it in high school and into college; but somewhere along the line, my interest has dwindled to the point where I could honestly see myself never buying a rap album ever again. Get me a periodic Kanye single and I’m set for life. There have been a few exceptions to my loss of interest in hip-hop. Donuts by J Dilla could very well hold a seat in the PT All-Time Top Ten (Should I do countdown with my Top Ten like the bros over at P4K? LET ME KNOW) Other than that though, the last, like, six years hip-hop and I have been friendly, but hardly MusicBFF.

AAAAANYWAY, my biggest hip-hop pet peeve by far (beating out rhyming a word with the same word by a wide margin) is the holier-than-thou attitude displayed by many “underground” hip-hop acts. This trait is painfully visible and any of the array of acts to come from the Minneapolis hip-hop scene (Atmosphere, Doom Tree, et al).

I feel like this insistence on saying you’re making “real hip-hop” may come from some sort of regional inferiority complex. but…just…STOP IT! It’s not any more real than when that big black guy comes out of nowhere to rap in Burnin’ Up by the JoBros (check t about the 2:38 mark).

I just feel like if Grizzly Bear un-ironically told their audience “this is real rock, yall!”, people’d be majorly off-put. But in the hip-hop world, making such a fucking self-important statement sells you records.

Dear Ego-Driven Underground MCs,

You’re not doing God’s work. You’re not as innovative as you think you are. And if you feel the need to explain to me what free-styling is one more time, OR insist on me saying something back to your “When I say ___, you say ___” shtick, I’m going to summon the ghost of Eazy-E to come give you a venereal disease.

Am I overreacting? Do I just not get it because I’m not PART of the SCENE?

Underground is more commercial than ever before people! Try making something special that will get me interested in hip-hop again instead of rattling off the old drawn-out methods of your more seasoned hip-hop brethren.


Also-this was probably the most whitest-sounding blog post in Acme Valley’s history. If you have other great moments in my blog’s whiteness, please feel free to share.

Regarding My Ethnicity

September 29, 2009

I’m getting curious yall!


So, I’m adopted. And, as a white orphan-type, I have no clue as to what’s my biological heritage. I don’t think about it all THAT often; but this weekend while I was shaving I looked into the sink and there it was: A 2CM-LONG RED-LOOKING HAIR!!!

Red? Huh.

What does it all mean, Internet? Does it mean I’m For Real Irish? Finally living up to my For Real Irish name? Or does it mean I have some sort of Scandinavian background? Where my GreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat Grandfather (give or take) Erik The Red led fleets of vikings on crusades of raping and pillaging? Sounds fun, right? I DID buy a shirt w/ a Viking on it at Family Thrift on Saturday? DESTINY PERHAPS?

What do you guys think? From what you know of me, where are my ancestors from?


And furthermore, what tips do you gingers have for making it through day-to-day life? Possibly being one of you scares me to death.



PT: The Lost Year?

September 18, 2009

I was gonna write about mash-ups, but I think that entry’s meant for a different day…

For one reason or another, I’ve been thinking a lot about my freshman year of college. Although I graduated from Columbia College, I spent my first year of higher education at DePaul University. My decision to attend DePaul came down to A) Wanting to go to school in a big city with an amazing improv scene and B) because I didn’t get into  my #1 school, Northwestern (I didn’t learn about Columbia until well after deciding to take the Blue Demon Plunge).

When I immediately thinking about my time at DePaul, I generally focus on the bad. DPU and I were an awful match on essentially every level. Academically, the classes felt like a repeat of senior year in high school. The student body was, on a whole, made up of the kind of entitled, upper-middle class, unintelligent, preppy assholes that populated my high school; and I was hoping college was golden ticket to ridding myself of these kinds of people forever. Gah! Admittedly, my time at DePaul may have been doomed form the beginning, as I paired with the Worst Roommate in the History of Dorm Life. I wish I was exaggerating (I wish more I had some sort of link to his facebook page, but his name is so common that I couldn’t find him in the midst of other dudes that I can’t help but judge because they share his name). I’ll make time to go into more detail later of specific tales of his awfulness. For now, I’ll let you know that: he pledged a frat at a school where no frat houses exist. He left a package of corned beef in our shared, and unplugged, mini fridge for the entirety of DePaul’s 6 week-long winter break. And finally, one night he got so drunk he tried climbing up to his loft bed on my detached wood desk shelf. He shattered all my CD jewel cases as well as a mug given to me by my now-late grandparents. HE WAS A REAL PEACH.

Anyway, my recent reflection on my time at DePaul has been more focused on the good times. Which include:

  • My first ‘college party’ which took place on a basement near Armitage and Halsted. I paid my $5, got a plastic cup, drank like 4 beers, and talked with the two other dudes I came with. It was amazing.
  • Making friends with mostly the theatre school kids. It was crazy. Since they were in their own conservatory, there was a whole other level of school-gossip I heard about, yet had no hand in whatsoever. It was the closest thing Ive ever gotten to watching a soap opera.
  • My short stint as a member of the DePaul Ultimate Frisbee team. I left shortly after I did the organizer a ‘favor’ by sitting in w/ his other team in a tournament in Whitewater, WI. What I thought would be fun-filled weekend, crashing on people’s couches, etc., ended up costing me like $150–a sizable chunk of my dwindling savings.
  • An end-of-the-year trip to Six Flags with some of the Theater Kids. I saw the biggest butt I’ve ever seen, we ate at Olive Garden, and the driver of the car with like six of us jammed in almost got bust for being high while driving.
  • The innumerable trips to Demon Dogs which was right around the corner from my dorm under the Fullerton L train station. On Sundays, I’d grab a dog (or two) run back to my room and eat while watching football.
  • My near love affair with Jen, our floor’s RA (we stopped hanging after I found out she was a cute lil’ quasi-hippie with an Army boyfriend. Not getting involved in THAT mess).
  • And, of course, the time I road-tripped up to Madison for the weekend, which led to me realizing I needed to transfer colleges immediately.

I’m still friendly with a handful of people I met that summer; but I’ve lost contact with a majority of my DePaul acquaintances. Though I must mention a couple years ago I saw a myspace message from my DePaul friend Star, which led me to purchase the bed I’m sitting on RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND AS I WRITE THIS BLOG.

May this blog entry be an open invitation for all old  DePaul friends to write me. We’ll grab a drink and talk about shit like the quad and that one Ben Folds concert the school put on at the end of the year (not to be confused with the Ben Folds show I saw at The Vic the second week I was at school..that really should be a bullet point. Oh well.). What were yall’s collegiate times like?

PS- I unabashedly had a Coldplay poster hanging in my dorm.

Rod BLOGojevich!

September 14, 2009

Woah! I have a blog! And if I’m never going to become famous for just hanging’ and bein’ me– as planned– if I don’t have a more IN YOUR FACE, BALLS TO THE WALLS online presence. I’m gonna try, People!

Anyway, work’s been crazy today. I’ve been buzzing around the office doing the job of two people. The internet went down, right before lunch, and I got a little freaked. A majority of my daily tasks require some sort of connection to the INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY to be completed. Just as I’m about to dry-heave with anxiety, my iPod shuffle’s to Dolphins by Tim Buckley.

This EXACT version of the song! I remember back, either junior or senior-year of high school. My frend Caitlin and I spent almost an entire day driving around the Twin Cities looking for Tim Buckley’s BBC Sessions CD. It was eventually procured at The Electric Fetus in Minneapolis.

I was a huge Jeff Buckley fan in high school, and learned about his dad through, I believe, skimming through a Jeff biography at the Barnes & Noble in HarMar Mall

In any event, Tim was more prolific than his son but they both died way too early.

Man, my last two posts have referenced dead singer-songwriters. Did Acme Valley finally find it’s niche?

Love you all. I’ll write more now. I promise!

What the WHAT??

June 19, 2009

How on EARTH did it take me nearly two fucking weeks to find out that Jeff Hanson DIED?!? This is so sad.

I frst remember hearing Hanson’s freakishly beautiful falsetto on a compilation CD I got free for purchasing local music at Cheapo Records. My immediate reaction “I really like this. Who IS this woman?” I checked the back of the jewel case, became confused, did some research online, and became curiously enthralled with this stock dude from my hometown who sang like a lady.

Ultimately I think his signature voice was both a blessing and a curse for his career. I was THE Jeff Hanson trait aside from great Elliott Smith-like style of songwriting. But, I think his singing style may have been a reason Hanson never reached a larger audience. Even though artists like Dan Bejar of Destroyer, Joanna Newsom, Tom Waits, and the DREADFUL Colin Melloy have made names for themselves with their unique vocals. Even the backing of his very well-known indie label Kill Rock Stars couldn’t help Hanson reach anything further than critical acclaim and a small, loyal fanbase. Maybe the world just wasn’t ready for a non-glam, non-castrati man to be singing the way he did.

Hanson’s obituary makes it sound like he may have died from falling on a concrete floor in his new St. Paul apartment; and I believe, just from knowing him through his music, that that’s probably the case. Although his music shared a similarity to the suicidal Smith, his songs have a warmth and gentleness to them that do not seem to harbor the kind of depression and inner-struggles that Elliott Smith’s music do.

Hiding Behind the Moon is the first song off Hanson’s first full-length album Son. It’s a perfect beginning to the discography of an unheralded musician. You better check out this video now before he goes all Jeff Buckley on everyone and hits an insane level of postumous popularity. Stake your Jeff Hanson claim now!.

It’s really unfortunate this is the second eulogy-like post in the short history of Acme Valley. RIP Jeff.

Handy Man Special

May 19, 2009
more, better lit photos to come

more, better lit photos to come

I have a project! AllysonD unearthed this road bike from her building’s basement. I”ve always wanted to fix-up a an old clunker; and this gives me the perfect opportunity for a…EXTREME BIKE MAKEOVER (girlish squeeeal)!

I started on the overhaul after dinner. One of the most visible maladies of this bike is the fact there’s is no seat and the seat post was rusted right in the frame. after trying to pull it out with my bear hands (most likely resulting in a yet-to-be-diagnosed hernia) AllysonD and I tag teamed on chiseling away the rust with a flat-head screwdriver and hammer. It totally worked! the seat post came flying out of the frame.

Next, I tackled the right hand brake, which had slide down to the bottom of the handle. I had no idea how to tighten the hand brake so it would stay where I wanted it on the handlebar. So, I began trial and erroring. unscrewing, loosening and tightening whatever seemed like it would help me along. After a little Internet research, I discovered where the correct screw was to tighten the brake; but the only way to access the screw would be to undo the brake cable. This was seriously tedious, as I’ve never dealt with brake cables this intimately (and rusty) before. I was getting so frustrated with my lack of progress I definitely took a popcorn break with AD and watched the last of the Twins getting…swept…by the Yankees.I eventually got back to the brake cable, undid the cable from the hand brake, tightened the handbrake, and reconnected the cable. It took a few tries to get the cable taut enough; but I eventually got it right, and the brakes work great.

More tune-up and upgrade stories to come. I’m hoping by mid-summer I can have this baby rolling the streets looking better than new.

PS – Countdown to Michigan Memorial Day Extravaganza: 3 days!

Everything is Made Better When it’s Sponsored by Target

May 17, 2009

Today marked the grand opening of the new Modern Wing at The Art Institute. Thanks to some good pre-event scouting by AllysonD, we were hip to the fact that there’s free admission to the wing during its innagural week. In hopes of beating the crowds left to make it to the museum right at its 10:30 openning. DSCF0004DSCF0006Acolsutely stunning. The new wing is a work of art unto itself. As you can see, evnen though we arrived very close to the museum’s openning time, there were throngs of people waiting to check out the latest addition to the Art Institute.

DSCF0010the amount of natural light in this place is fantastic. Millenium Park also lends itself extremely well as the perfect backdrop.

DSCF0011There’s an amazing outdoor patio area.. which no one was allowed to sit on. Art cock tease?

DSCF0012After seeing all the exhibits, out attention steered toward both finding the rooftop terrace and checking out the bridge that now connects the modern wing to Millenium Park. What was supposed to be a more chilly, cloud-filled Saturday afternoon turned into the absolute ideal conditions. Once on the terrace, We noticed something playing on the big projector in the Pritzker Pavillion. We walked down to check it out– turns out it was the SAIC commencement ceremony. My good friend Anne was getting her Masters, and we got a chance to meet up with her and Chris after we took a lovely stroll through the Park, down to the lake, and then to Buckingham Fountain.



I hadn’t been to Buckingham Fountain in at least seven years. You completely forget how large that puppy is.

It was an absolute perfect Chicago day. During our trip today I definitely had one of those life-affirming “THIS is why I live in Chicago!” moments. While other cities may have their share of great sights to see, no other city could replicate the day we had. Definitely one for the ages, in the best way possible.

Still Long for the Days When Ollie was Just a Hilarious Pet Name

April 26, 2009

Thinking a lot about Junior High today. For me, and presumably most of you, 7th and 8th grade were the launching point to my Awkward Teen Phase (which I’m hoping to grow out of very, very, soon).

While I had a solid core of friends, I was always concerned how I appeared to my peers. I thought I was a pretty righteous 13 year old: starting First Baseman for my little league team, enterprising neighborhood lawn mower, and reciter of EverySimpsonsLineEverWritten. But still, I found it not enought o simply be happy with being myself. Awkward Teen PT had a goal that eclipsed all my afrementioned accomplishements: I wanted to be fucking cooool.

What constituted ‘being cool’ in the eyes of the 7th grade me: A pair of Airwalks, unbuttoned Plaid flannel accompanied by ironic t-shirt (ironic tee could be switched out for a Kurt Cobain RIP shirt), JNCO jeans, and a low-hanging backpack.

These were the fashion choices of the skater crowd, whom after school, would hangout in front of the skate shop The Green Gecko just down the street. Rumor had it, they would go behind TGG and SMOKE CIGARETTES, which absolutely terrified me.

The problem was, I looked nothing like this. Junior high was the first time I started being concerned with what I wore to school. A majority of my clothes were purchased by my mother at fine outfitters like Montgomery Ward or Mervyn’s. Obviously, my fashion apathy simply was not going to cut it at Ramsey Junior High. I had a desire to fit in and look the part, even though a) I didn’t hang out with these kids, and b) had no idea how to skateboard. Looking back, a reason for my desire to fit in could have been that the skater look was exactly that, a LOOK. A Prergogative. What did my clothing choice say to the world? It said, “I don’t know, ask my mom.” It was time to forge my own (their) style, I thought. hulkhogan5

So, I made a style change. That Thanksgiving break, my mom and I made our annual trip to Omaha to spend the holiday at my aunt’s house. During our stay, one day we ventured to Crossorads to buy some clothes. I strolled inside the mall’s Gadzooks, pulled out my Lawn-mowing savigs and bought a pair of JNCO’s, which at $45 were the most expensive item of clothing I had ever owned.A couple more stops throughout the mall, and I was ready to (look I was going to) skate with best of them.

What happened the following week at school is akin to the scene from Freaks and Geeks when Sam wears his new Parisian Night Suit to school. My new threads brought on the exact opposite attention I wanted. While he entire school wasn’t glaring at me, every friend and acquaintance I had welcomed my new look with very confused and slightly amused looks.

While I didn’t immediately retire the jeans as Sam retired his night suit, they definitely didn’t make many appearnaces following that day.Pretty sure I rocked the flannel-and-tshirt look all the way through Freshman year of high school, though. My fave t-shirt I wore under said flannel was grey with THIS:

229551714_a5b4f7bc431GARY LARSEN = GRUNGE GODDD!!!!

never forget: