The worst songs on SiriusXM’s AltNation right now.

I listen solely to satellite radio, Pandora, or Apple Music.  In fact, my radio in the car hasn’t been on a local radio station for close to a decade and a half.  Local radio offers nothing but commercials.  But that’s another story!

On the very first day I bought my first satellite radio, I found the alternative radio stations and fell in love.  Oklahoma City radio is absolutely pathetic.  Your choices are the local rock station the KATT, whose tag line is “Rock 100 the KATT – 10 minute rock blocks of commercials and stale 80s hair bands,” or the top 40 CrapRap channels.  AltNation was a refreshing change.  Then, about six months in, I realized that the only difference between the local shit stations and AltNation was the commercial factor.  There are no commercials on AltNation, but the repetition of songs is almost unbearable.  On top of that, the quality of music is just (to borrow from VP Biden) profoundly ignorant.

Almost all pop music is what I call assembly line junk.  It’s all in 4/4 time so you can dance to it.  It’s written in a single format:

intro | verse | bridge | chorus | verse | bridge | chorus | bridge(2) | solo | chorus | outro

That formula is predictable and needed when you’re talking about junk songs that will be played in dance clubs.  They’re easy to sing along and dance to.  Is it art?  I equate this level of art to your first grader’s finger paintings as art. Mommy and daddy think it’s great because mommy and daddy are morons.

When I grew up in the 80s, alternative music was obscure. It was music that was never played on commercial radio in medium sized markets.  It was the Cure, Depeche Mode, the Fixx, New Order.  It was angst and non-conformity.  You had to dig through the depths of Deep Ellum in Dallas, TX to find some of this stuff in the beginning.  The stuff played on AltNation today is none of that.  AltNation music shouldn’t bleed over to other platforms.  You shouldn’t hear it on the pop stations.

This brings me to the worst music on AltNation at the moment.  And when I use the term at the moment, I’m really referring to the last six months to a year because once AltNation gets their grubby little Trump hands into an alt-pop hit, they just won’t let go.  Most of this music should have never been played on AltNation.  It belongs on the pop channels.

  • Coin – Talk Too Much: The epitome of puss-rock.  This is assembly line weenie rock at it’s finest!
  • Strumbellas – anything by the Strumbellas: See Coin above!
  • alt-J – Every Other Freckle: AltNation destroyed alt-j.  They played this song every 20 minutes for months on end and by the end of the first month, I was so fucking sick of it I just started changing channels.
  • Joywave – Destruction: I actually love this song.  What I hate is the spoken intro on the album version.  It goes like this:
    Narrator: Would the soundtrack kindly produce a sound.
    Music: {single keystroke on synthesizer}
    Narrator: Go on, don’t be nervous, go ahead, any sound.
    Music: {two keystrokes on synthesizer}
    Narrator: Heheh, well, that isn’t quite what I had in mind.Hey narrator, then why the fuck did you say “go ahead, any sound?”  If you had something else in mind, then say it.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were a crazy woman who wanted the band to read your mind…..dick!
  • Killers – worst band ever!
  • The Shelters – anything and everything.  Once again, see Coin above!
  • Grouplove – “Whine, whine, whine, happy, happy, happy, whine!”
  • The Hunna – my god this is a horrible band. Again, see Coin above.  But we’re seeing a common theme here: all these singers have high, whiny voices. None of them can actually sing.
  • 21 Pilots – This is possibly the worst band ever in the history of music. White boy shitty rap?  They got it.  Autotune?  They got it.  I think maybe, possibly, by a small margin, the only band that is worse than 21 Douchenozzels is the Black Eyed Peas!
  • Vance Joy – Mess Is Mine: Hey Vance, take your wimpy-ass shit and go play with Ed Sheeran.
  • Milky Chance – Stolen Dance: Yes, they are still playing this horrendous song.  Boring much?

I think that’s good enough for now.  I could go on for another 5000 words about these bands but I’ll call it quits right here.

Stay tuned for the BEST songs on AltNation.  That post will literally list probably two to three bands. XMU, here I come!

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MIA: Missing In Apprehension!

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. There’s a good reason for that: I didn’t have anything to say. Life takes us on some pretty fucked up turns every once in a while and the mind just kind of shuts down. Hence, writer’s block.

It’s not that I really didn’t have anything to say, it’s just that I didn’t have anything of quality to say.  Most of this was due to the loss of a furry family member over Labor Day weekend.  It completely devastated my household.  She wasn’t any old dog.  She was the glue that held everything together and even now, as I write this, I am tearing up and still trying to hold it together!

But time should heal all wounds and life moves on.

So what have I been up to over the last few months?  Whew, let’s see…..

I took a wonderful meditation workshop with my good friend Adi that has slowly helped me ease into a calmer lifestyle. I’m not saying I changed overnight, but things are getting better after an incident in June.  I’ve logged hundreds of miles on the bike and will continue to do so through the rest of the year with the goal of hitting about 3500 miles for the year.  But in reality, that’s not a lot compared to my cycling compadres!  And I continually struggle to come up with content to fill this little space of the internet!

Next year I turn 50.  With an epic birthday should come epic adventures.  I’m planning on a massive trip next year, I just don’t know where at this moment.  Some of the choices are…

  1. backpacking in Yosemite, Banff, or Yellowstone.
  2. Bikepacking….somewhere!
  3. A full-length Ironman distance triathlon.
  4. Several marathons, including Grandmas Marathon in Duluth, MN again.
  5. Possibly a trip to Vancouver because….Hell yeah Canada!

I have some time to plan and this should be fun.  Who knows, maybe it will totally kill me.  That’s ok.  At least I’ll go happy!

Gracie, the most perfect soul ever!
Gracie, the most perfect soul ever!

Weekend Wonders

I hate to spew the typical “back to work on Monday” cliche, but Monday’s really do kind of blow.  I try to fill up my weekends with exercise and events that keep me busy and entertained. This weekend wasn’t spectacular, but it was filled with friends and great food and drinks.

Friday night we hit the Wedge Pizzeria.  As a vegetarian, I struggle to find a pizza that actually has flavor.  Sauced on Paseo has a Spartacus that is hands down one of the best.  When I didn’t see what looked appetizing on the Wedge’s menu, I shifted over to a make-your-own and told the waiter to tell the chef to pick out five ingredients and just surprise me.

His concoction? A beautiful blend of veggies and marinara sauce that was spectacular: asparagus tips, onions, sauteed mushrooms, new potatoes, and broccoli.  Couple that with a COOP F5 and you have yourself a high calorie binge-fest of fun!

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Saturday was my typical long ride out of Schlegel Bicycles.  It was 40 miles of hell.  Well, about 18 miles actually.  At that point I got so pissed off at shitty riders who didn’t know how to maintain their lane I just took off on my own and finished the last 28 solo.

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That’s me in the white kit being pissed off until I bailed!

Sunday afternoon took me to Draper for a some mountain biking on a beach.  Seriously, if you’ve ridden Draper lately, it’s a sand filled beach from hell.  I really hate that because Draper has a great trail system that flows really well.

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And what better way to finish off the weekend than with drinks at our favorite pub?

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The 5 best IPAs after a ride

I’m addicted to IPA.  I don’t drink any other kind of beer at the moment.  This could all change in an instant, of course, but for the last two years I’ve had this insane addiction to the bitter hopiness that is the IPA.  I developed this addiction in part because Oklahoma City has a craft brewer named COOP AleWorks that produces the most unique IPA I’ve ever had.  I’ve been all over this country and had dozens of IPAs from other breweries.  While some were very, very good, none compare to COOP’s F5.  The grapefruit, bitter, smack-your-face hop-filled bitch slap that is the F5 is unparalleled…..anywhere!

The problem is, I can’t always get it.  It’s rare that it’s completely out of stock, but there are strange spurts where liquor stores are just completely out and it might take a week or so for them to get restocked.  That means I have to look at some other local brews (I almost exclusively drink locally unless I want to try something new.) when I want a good beer after a ride. What I’ve listed below are my favorites as I go down the line in choice.  Oh, and if you’re not an IPA drinker you probably won’t get this list at all!  That’s ok, we can still toast a brew after a good ride.

COOP F5
COOP F5

Beer: F5
Brewer: COOP AleWorks
Location: Oklahoma City, OK

I read a review that said, “F5 is a belligerent hop reckoning.”  That’s an understatement. You either love this beer or hate it.  I happen to love it.  Yes, it’s an acquired taste.  But if you love IPAs, this is the king.  Like any good IPA, it should be repulsive yet refined. The body should be between heavy and medium.  If you have great taste with no body, it destroys the experience.  I like it heavy.  I’m not talking stout heavy.  But the body must be bold instead of the consistency of pisswater like Budweiser.

Unfortunately, you can only buy COOP products in Oklahoma and I think Kansas.  I could be wrong but I don’t think they’ve gone national yet. However, they are so freakin’ huge in Oklahoma they’re doing quite well.  To make it even better, the brewery also throws a couple of parties each year for a small donation to the Central Oklahoma Humane Society.  Bring your own glass and fill up straight from their kegs.  And the best part?  All of their beers are vegan.  The do NOT use isinglass in any production method.

 

Anthem IPA
Anthem IPA

Beer: Anthem IPA
Brewer: Anthem Brewery
Location: Oklahoma City, OK

This is a close second to F5 but a very different IPA.  This beer will not punch you in the face then call your momma fat.  It eases down on you like a slow ride (How did you like that Foghat reference?) and leaves you satisfied without the beat down.  I almost always like the good beat down that F5 provides.  But when I have to make a sacrifice, Anthem’s IPA is the hot girl next door with a voracious sexual appetite you just can’t ignore!

 

Roughtail IPA
Roughtail IPA

Beer: Roughtail IPA
Brewer: Roughtail Brewery
Location: Midwest City, OK

I’ll forgive this brewery for being located in MWC because their IPA and double IPA (Roughtail Hoptometrist) are incredible.  The IPA will kick you in the balls but it’s nice enough to give you a great reach-around as it apologizes.  My only issue with this beer is that I forget it’s on a beer menu and almost always completely forget about it.

Mile HIPA at the Wynkoop Brewery in Denver
Mile HIPA at the Wynkoop Brewery in Denver

Beer: Mile HIPA
Brewer: Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Location: Denver, CO

I spent the 4th of July in Denver, CO and tried to hit a few breweries.  Since there are about a million breweries per square mile up there, there was no way I could really sample many.  However, a friend recommended Wynkoop in downtown Denver so I hit the brewery after doing some shopping at the REI mega store nearby.  The Mile HIPA is the closest thing to F5 I’ve found yet.  The only thing it’s lacking is that pure physical abuse put forth by the F5.  This IPA wants to kick you and make you it’s bitch, but just when you think it will succeed, it lets up.  I’m not knocking it at all.  It’s a great beer.  But the F5 keeps kicking until you’re down!

Cranknbrew at the Manitou Brewing Company in Manitou Springs, CO
Cranknbrew at the Manitou Brewing Company in Manitou Springs, CO

Beer: Cranknbrew
Brewer: Snowbank Brewing
Location: Fort Collins, CO

This was probably my favorite brew of the Colorado trip.  This is an IPA infused with coffee and it was absolutely amazing!  It doesn’t have the usual kick that an IPA provides.  Instead, it takes the great hopiness of the IPA and molds it with a perfect coffee stout…..without being a stout!

 

What’s your go-to beer after a ride?

Increasing community involvement in cycling

looking-over-shoulderOne of the biggest problems I’ve seen in community development over the last few years has been how to get cyclists and cars to get along with the ever growing cycling population in our mid- and major-level cities.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of road rage over the years as more and more cyclists take to the road.  Cars have intentionally harassed cyclists.  Cyclists have intentionally antagonized vehicles with reckless abandonment to traffic laws.  Things have gotten so out of control I keep channeling the Rodney King .gif, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Oklahoma City is not immune to this behavior.  I ride several days a week with some very, VERY experienced cyclists.  One is the owner of our premier bike shop in the state.  He has been riding for forty-plus years.  To say he knows his stuff is an understatement.  This is a guy who has such knowledge and control of this bike, he has actually held me up before so I wouldn’t crash.  I weigh 194 pounds.  That’s no easy feat.

We ride the roads with extreme caution and try to adhere to all traffic laws.  But even then, we get the occasional vehicle who will try to cut us off or stop to scream at us.  It’s a never ending exercise in tolerance for us.  And I have to admit, our tolerance is very low at this point.

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Yours truly!

But the real question that should be asked is, How to we solve this problem?”  Minneapolis solved this problem with education.  They decided that promoting a cycling atmosphere needed, first of all, public acceptance and understanding of what a cycling city really means.  Once they got acceptance, the public was more understanding of using funding to safely move the cyclists alongside the cars.  The result was a cycling super highway that runs for five miles from east to west and connects all the cities trails.  This allows commuters to head to the super highway and easily commute to work or more from one part of the city to another.

Granted, it takes funding to do this and right now, Oklahoma City is in the shitter because of the oil industry.  So how do you accomplish this with no funding whatsoever?

Well, the first step is something I’ve been involved with for several years now call the Full Moon Ride & Run.  This event is a combination run and ride starting in a large downtown park in Okc.  The event is supported by a pre-set course for the run and ride but both happen separately.  The whole thing has been a major success.  And while there’s no statistics on the numbers of participants who continue to bike on a regular basis, I would imagine it has fostered much more than just a handful of riders.  Participation numbers range from 200 on the small side to close to 1000 if the weather and day of the week (we go by the full moon, hence the name) are palatable.  Obviously, weekend rides bring out larger numbers.w620-377196e32c854b5a4004af07a2886a9f

What this has done is help beginner cyclists and children get involved in a group ride setting without having to buy an expensive bike or worry about the speeds that most of us ride each week.  Safety and inclusion are two key components of the ride.  All riders are required to bring a helmet and lights and all traffic laws are strictly enforced to instill good habits to all riders.

I don’t know what affect this event will have on the city over the coming years.  But with our participation numbers so high, I would hope that the cooperation between the cars and bikes would tend to grow.  After all, those of us who ride also drive cars.  That’s another important part of the equation to remember.

  • What does your city do to promote cycling?
  • Are there events like this that promote inclusion?
  • Which Power Ranger was the hottest?

Pokemon invades…and the MTB community isn’t happy about it.

PokemonDrivingIt’s a shame that my first real post on the blog is about a very contested topic in the MTB community within Oklahoma City. Pokemon has invaded our lives and I don’t see it as a good thing.  Yes, I’ve been in a handful of arguments on social media about this new game so I’ll try to give you both sides of the equation instead of just my biased version.

When this game was released, I didn’t think much of it.  On the day it was released, I logged on to iMore.com, as I do every single morning, and found that the first 20 posts were nothing but Pokemon related content.  I kept thinking, what the hell has happened to my favorite Apple social blog and why are they doing nothing but writing articles about a children’s game?  I soon realized that the game had taken the world by storm and wasn’t going to end any time soon.

That evening, I headed out to my favorite local trail and watched as the mountain bikers stood dumbstruck at a dozen or so zombies walking around the trail playing the game.  We were amazed at the spectacle of it all and just couldn’t figure it out.  What the hell were these people doing on the trails that WE built?  It was soon revealed that the creator of this game virtually loaded a bunch of the characters on parks and public venues worldwide.  Again I ask, WTF?

We didn’t think much of it until we started to ride the trail.  The first two people were pretty cognizant of the mountain bikes and jumped to the side.  The next two weren’t so cognizant.  Wearing headphones as a pedestrian on a mountain bike trail is never, ever a good idea.  As a fellow rider yelled twice that there was a ‘bike back,’ the Pokemoron ignored him.  We soon realized he was wearing earbuds while playing the game and walking on the trail.  My fellow rider ended up hitting the Pokemoron.

Five days later I was on an evening ride and experienced the same zombie like behavior at a local lake where a Pokemoron was walking perpendicular across a very busy trail.  Thankfully he moved after I yelled ‘bike.’

So here’s my side of this argument.  If you want to play this childish game, fine.  It’s a sort-of free country so do as you please.  But that doesn’t mean you can ignore etiquette nor rules of the road.  You don’t cross the street without looking both ways do you?  Well, the same theory applies to the trails or any other public space where movement is controlled and designed.PokemonGolf

The other side of this argument is that these people have gotten off the couch and we active adults should encourage them.  Well, hell yes we should encourage them.  If this is what it took to get a gamer out of mom’s basement and moving, more power to them.  But again, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the rules.

In two months, this game will probably die out.  At the very least, there will be enough regulations to help it be played more safely, for ALL involved.  Municipalities are having major issues with this game already.  People are driving cars while playing, walking off cliffs, and generally just being stupid.  At the same park referenced above, an adult man was on a dirt bike, riding through the park while playing the game.  The police were called and his bike was impounded.  The only good part of this is where he was forced to walk home, hence, more exercise!

I, for one, can’t wait until this thing goes away.  Hopefully the one benefit that comes from this is that people will see us all exercising in the parks and decide to drop the phone and join in.  I doubt that’s true, but you never know.

DUMBASS!
DUMBASS!

Until then, if you must play a game, do it safely and go back to crushing candy and inviting your friends to do the same on Facebook.  We’ll all stay much more sane for it!

 

Let’s get this started…

Over the years I’ve started and stopped many blogs and websites. Usually they stick around until I get bored.  At that point I dump the content, blow things off for a a year or two, then start writing again.

To be honest, I really don’t know where this one is even going at this point.  All I know is that I can’t sit back and not write something!  So here we go.  Me back at the keyboard.  You reading my mindless drivel.  It’s a vicious circle that never ends.  But I can tell you one thing: you’ll be entertained – at some point.

This blog will be about bikes, some beer, some random thoughts, and a little social commentary.  I might toss in a limerick or two just for good measure and there will probably be some book references because, let’s face it, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t read, you’ll probably be bored with this site.

Anyway, have a great day, a spectacular tomorrow, and for goodness sake, get out on your bike and ride!  It’s the only thing that keeps us sane.

Sean