Friday, May 27, 2022

A break in previously scheduled programming.

I had planned on a series of posts about writing, my own history with writing, and the changing landscape I've observed over the last 32 or 33 years since my first critical piece about popular music was published. You know, drawing comparisons between then and this little blog, as well as some of the shifts I've seen and how I personally approached them.

But the day this site turned 20 another unspeakable tragedy struck in the U.S, yet another in a long line of horrors we are all just supposed to deal with these days, with little or no relief from anyone "in control" in sight. That was followed by an attack on a Chicago man that left me truly doubting if my hopes for my fellow man have truly been long overblown. And the rising refrain I'm hearing from more and more people (like me) that have always endeavored to improve the world and do right ... is that we are all losing hope.

So it didn't seem appropriate throughout the week to dwell on something as relatively dumb as my own thoughts about writing. Maybe later; but right now I'm just trying to find some way to move forward without being cloaked in utter despair about our world's future.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Happy 20th birthday to this here little website!

Pretty accurate "about" section, eh?
20 years ago today, the first post appeared on the Tankboy blog!

What started as a potential archive for my previous years of Tankboy email newsletters turned into a website where I posted every week day for over 15 years, before slowing down a bit in late 2018. But I've never put the site on  a hiatus, once regular posts began.

The Tankboy site is also a space I've never run ads on or tried to monetize. So from the get-go, that space was always meant to be just for me and you. No distractions.
20 years later I'm not certain what the Tankboy site will be like in another 20 years. Heck, I'm not sure what it'll look like next year, at this point. But it's meant to evolve so I don't worry about it.

And 20 years later, I'm starting to think we might be moving back towards the blogging mindset, as platforms are choked by the demand for new content, people actually do like to hear personal thoughts not driven explicitly by press releases or the media cycle.

So happy 20th birthday to the Tankboy blog! How you and I have kept going is a bit of a mystery, but I'm glad we did!

And  thanks to EVERYONE out there—whether you've only visited the site once or you've been a regular reader, you're important to me—so thank YOU!

Monday, May 23, 2022

Woodsy walks are good for the soul.

15 minutes from my house? Yes!
Some days you get outside and forget about all the problems and are just overtaken. I was never a nature boy before; despite being an Eagle Scout, and even living on a farm at one point in the distant past, I've always been drawn more to the city and city things. But the last couple years flipped that on its head* and these days I find myself actually wondering where my camping gear went, now that I could see myself actually using it for enjoyment, and not just a tolerable burden of an excursion someone else asked me to do with them!

O.K,  I may be getting a little ahead of myself there. But I have grown to really treasure time in the woods, earbud-free, and clear eyes wide open.

*Though, really, has anything not been flipped on its head the last couple of years? I may be stating the painfully obvious with that line. Sorry!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Sephoria! You know, like 'Euphoria!'

While I've never been particularly squeamish about running errands for significant others, this short had me in stitches because I have definitely called Sephora "Sephoria" in the past. 

Also, this just reminds me how dumb most guys are when faced with anything un-dude-ly, and that makes me chuckle too.

Also also, if Netflix ever created this, it's one reality program I might actually watch for entertainment!

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Just waiting for those rhythms of life to pick back up.

I confess I've been struggling in my more personal writing endeavors. The last couple of years have thrown everyone's lives into turmoil, so I can't sit here feeling sorry for myself. But it's still frustrating.

If I just write about music that feels too constricting. Plus, I really want to write more for Third Coast Review this year, so I've started to identify what might be more appropriate for that venue while keeping my more personal musical recommendations going here. 

But this site was never meant to be only about one thing. 

Of course, until recently, writing about a myriad of subjects was easy because I was always submerged in a number of different worlds at any given time. But those worlds have shrunk, and these days most of what I experience is either through a digital screen, outside my home-office window, or in my head. While I have grown to really value my long walks and all the mental work that gets done during those jaunts ... there is nothing to replace the human interactions and unexpected discoveries that arise from people just talking through even the simplest topics with each other. 

And while I've long strove to be a confident voice in the topics I write about, I am not interested in merely espousing my views honed from singular, internal discussions. I need people, man!

So, I'll keep pushing through this, and at some point I am sure it will all start to fall into place as new life rhythms pick up the pace. 

And, as always dear reader, I am thankful you're still sticking around to see where this all ends up.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

We're coming up on 20 years since the first post in this here space.

My first post on this site was 20 years ago this month, though I didn't start writing almost daily until the following year. But it's a bit odd to realize I have an unbroken record of my life in one spot over the last 20 years. And if you were to tack on the Tankboy email newsletter, you'd have a pretty solid view—from one perspective—of my life since the mid-'90s! 

More on this later this month as the actual anniversary approaches, but I've been looking around for other uninterrupted, long-running independent, personal sites that have never been ad-based in any way, and you know what? There ain't a lot of them. So I'm thankful my own little project that began as an intended repository for my email newsletters turned into something completely different that has gone on for almost two decades now.* It seems a little unreal—20 years ago often feels like 20 months ago to me—but I'm glad this site exists. And will continue to exist as long as I want it to, which, right now, remains open ended.

*I also take a little pride in never posting an "I'm gonna quit blogging!" announcement, or having to write the requisite "I've decided to start blogging again after shutting this blog down" post.

Friday, May 06, 2022

'start at the end' with Tamar Berk this Bandcamp Friday!

I met Tamar Berk in the very late '90s when she was still fronting the fuzzy, power-pop Chicago power-trio, Starball. I really dug Starball, and even booked a few shows with them eons ago, but the band never quite got the acclaim I thought they deserved. Berk took off for sunnier weather out West a few years ago and I didn't hear much from her musically during that time, aside from a stint in a prog rock combo I found really enjoyable. But in the last couple of years, Berk picked up her guitar and decided to focus on her own songs (and has a healthy stable of amazing musicians to back her up, as needed).

Berk just released her second solo album in two years, start at the end, and it takes the youthful buzzy blast of her solo debut the restless dreams of youth and focuses it on more serious concerns without losing an ounce of excitement or energy. 

I just got my vinyl copy of the album in the mail, so I'm putting my money where my mouth is and not just blowing hot air here; this is music you will really dig. Check it out!