Economic Cycles

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Comeback Post

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It’s been a long time hasn’t it? I’m going to try my best to give a little update on everything that’s happened in the last month, so expect this post to be more rambling and incoherent than usual.

In terms of music, I’ve been digging into my old CD cases and uncovering some lost gems. CDs (yes, CDs) that I rocked on the regular in high school have been getting fresh spins in my car. In other words, I’m partying like it’s 1999. So what have I been rocking? Here’s a small list: Blink 182’s Cheshire Cat, both Bigwig records, Good Riddance, Operation Ivy, Poison the Well’s Opposite of December (which does NOT hold up over time), Past Mistakes, Strung Out’s Twisted by Design, DeLaHoya, The Break, No Use for a Name’s Making Friends, Digger’s Powerbait, and some other punk rock classics that escape me at the moment.

As far as TV goes, Briks and I have been suffering through AMC’s The Killing each Sunday night. God what an awful show. The only reason we keep watching is the fact that we’ve invested so much time in the show already and it’s a murder mystery, which we’re suckers for no matter how poorly executed. In case you haven’t been watching, I’ll give you a quick run down of what the show’s all about. Think of all the cop cliche’s you have ever heard. Add to that cliche’s about Seattle’s weather (it’s constantly pouring down rain). And finish it off with a god awful storyline about a mayor’s race we could give a shit less about. Oh, and a local high school girl was killed and we still don’t know who did it.

Ok, books time. I just made an Amazon order because I broke my cell phone case the other day. I’m unaware of any other venue that sells HTC Android cases as cheap as Amazon does. $5 cell phone case? Yeah, I’ll take it. So in addition to a couple really cheap cases, I ordered a couple books I’ve had my eye on. I will be receiving Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by economist Tim Harford. Tim is known in economics circles as one of the few economists who can write really well. Another economist who knows a thing or two about writing is the great Walter Williams. Walter recently came out with two books. One was an autobiography that eventually I’ll read and the other is a economics book on race and discrimination. I ordered Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? There are few economists better than Walter Williams, and there are no economists better than Walter on issues of race.

What about libertarianism? Well, is there a better time in history to be a libertarian than right now? Obama has solidified George W. Bush’s third term with more undeclared, unconstitutional (and hardly covert) wars, more civil rights busting surveillance state controls, an official American citizen assassination list, and more executive branch secrecy. Don’t believe me? Just read the news. Or Glenn Greenwald. You’d have to be the most hardcore partisan loyalist to refuse to admit that the two parties are actually one party. And yes, there are many of you out there.

Let’s get to a little home life. I’ve had the smartest friend I’ve ever had and literally the first friend I ever had Mike visit me at the beginning and the end of his trip to Colorado. He flew in for a friend’s wedding held coincidentally at the Boettcher mansion on top of Lookout, and ended up hanging out and staying with us a couple of days. What a great surprise! There is no one on earth I can more nerdy with than Mike. I’ll miss that when he’s gone.

Economics? I guess I sort of covered that in my books section. But I’ll say this as well. Go read Mises.org and learn something.

And now to granddaddy of them all: cycling. I don’t want to get into all the gory details on this post but I will give the Cliff’s Notes version. After taking 6 full weeks off the bike to rest and rehab my knee, I started testing my knee out early this month with a few short, easy rides. After a couple of weeks of testing and increasing my volume, we decided to start getting me training again. So last week I met with my coach and outlined my comeback plan for the end of the season. I officially started training 2 weeks ago and will race again at the end of June up in Wyoming at the Dead Dog stage race. I obviously won’t be fit by then but it will be great to get back in the ol’ saddle and race a bit. By the time August rolls around, I should be fit again and ready to do well at the AFA state road race championship, Rist Canyon race, and finally the Steamboat Springs stage race. Definitely looking forward to those.

In other bike news, thanks to all my stretching, PT, and chiropractic care, I am tons more flexible now with miles of new range of motion. Therefore, I feel extremely comfortable and loose on my bike. So George and I decided to stretch me out a cm and drop me down 1.5 cm’s. It feels soooo good. But I’m still slow at the moment, which is frustrating. I feel like a million bucks, but I can’t push 200 watts without huffing and puffing.

I’d like to end with a public mid-year resolution to get back into regular blogging again. I’ve been so distracted with trying to get my cycling back in order that I’ve neglected this outlet. I had to put it on hold while I was mentally broken because of my knee. I’m back now though. And I’m ready to start training and writing regularly again. Wish me luck.

Written by jlongo12

May 29, 2011 at 7:49 am

From Hip Hop to Pop-Punk

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I’m going to switch gears a little bit and talk music for this post. I don’t think I’ve even written about music yet. Crazy huh? Anyway, I was on quite the hip hop kick the last couple months due to the new Kanye West record and the mix tape that accompanies it. I got the G.O.O.D. FRIDAYS mix tape from Ben awhile back and it is very good. It has several of the same tracks that are on his new album, just different verses and artists – aka RE-MIX! So I got into the mix tape and then transitioned smoothly into his new record, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I’m not sure which record I like more. Of course the studio album is more cohesive, but the mix tape has some pretty amazing stand alone tracks and a ton of great cameos. Talib Kweli, Jay-Z, Pusha T, Common, Lupe, Kid Cudi, and John Legend just to name a few. Plus, the version of Power on the mix tape features Jay-Z prominently, which equals awesomeness. Unlike a lot of remixes, Kanye does a great job of making his remixes nearly as good (and sometimes better) than his original tracks. In the end, I’d say it’s a wash. Get both the studio album and the mix tape.

Since coming off my hip hop kick, I’ve been on a monster pop-punk kick. I think it was seeing Chris Conley live that did it for me. That show conjured up a lot of old pop-punk feelings, plus I’ve been talking pop-punk history with Applebottom a lot lately. This translates to many listens of Saves the Day, Two Tongues, The Wonder Years, and the Saves the Day acoustic stuff. I still think STD’s Through Being Cool is a top 5 album for life.

Who is this Two Tongues you speak of Justin? Glad you asked. Two Tongues is a side project from Chris Conley and Max Bemis (of Say Anything). They’ve come out with one s/t record so far and I must admit, it’s pretty good. And “pretty good” is about as good as it gets for inter-band side projects. You can definitely hear the influence of both STD and Say Anything throughout it. They also do a good job of trading off vocals.

Another pop-punk band I’d highly recommend that I haven’t mentioned yet is Hit The Lights. Another band I really enjoy thanks to Ben. As Ben says, they’ve mastered the halftime catchy chorus. I’d start with Skip School, Start Fights and then work backwards through their discography. You will love it, unless you hate really catchy music.

Addendum: I just got the newish Cee Lo Green. Holy. Awesome. Am I now going to be on a neo-soul kick??

Written by jlongo12

February 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

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Growing Up in Jersey

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If you happened to have grown up in NJ in the mid 90’s / early 2000’s, you inevitably saw Saves the Day at some point or another. Whether you liked pop punk, metal, punk rock, hardcore, or other bands that were influenced by Lifetime, it was impossible not to have grown up with Saves the Day during this time period. I was a HUGE fan along with all my friends. We saw them super early on, I think in 1999 or so – between Can’t Slow Down and Through Being Cool. Lead singer Chris Conley was still a pimply teenager at this point and was perfecting his pop song writing skills (and said Hi to his Mom who was in the crowd halfway through their set that night). Saves the Day’s lyrics pumped through my veins all through the end of high school and the beginning of college. There is no doubt Chris is one of the most talented lyricists in music (my pick for the best would probably be Wes from American Nightmare).

Anyway, Brika and I got to see Chris perform solo last night when he opened up for the 10th anniversary of the Swiss Army Romance Tour. It was my Christmas present from Ben, Rikki, and Jonah. (Thanks guys!) Of course most of the crowd could care less about Chris or Saves the Day and many decided to heckle him during his set. They were just too immature and impatient for the Dashboard performance. I wanted to yell in their faces, “Don’t you realize how influential Saves the Day was?!” But of course they don’t. They didn’t grow up with the band like we all did. It’s a shame. Despite the many shortcomings of the East Coast, they have probably the greatest music scene in the world. From Boston down to DC, that corridor is a treasure trove of musicians from every genre of music. New York hardcore in the mid-late 80’s (Sick of It All, Warzone, Gorilla Biscuits). Boston hardcore in the later 90’s (American Nightmare, Bane). New Jersey pop punk and ska (Inspecter 7, Bigwig, Midtown). DC hardcore (Minor Threat, Bad Brains). Billy Joel. THE BOSS, to name a few.

Well, the music and the food. The food is way better too.

I’ve spoken to Chris a few times at other shows in the past, but this time I made sure to talk to him after his set particularly because of the unfriendly Denver crowd. He mentioned on stage that he was from Princeton, NJ and got some shouts from the crowd about NJ and where a couple others were from in the Garden State. I yelled how I was from the Princeton area too – EXIT 8 baby! Anyways, I saw him hanging around the merch table before Dashboard went on and told him he did a great job and that I appreciated the fact that he was still doing this all these years later. Then we talked about NJ and the Princeton area for a bit. Brika walked over and took a picture of us at the end of it. Pretty awesome. He is still a super humble, down to earth dude who doesn’t hesitate to talk to fans when they approach. I wish I could have really broken down how much his music and lyrics influenced me growing up. There are still a few lines that I can’t live without. One of them that will forever stick with me is, “But it’s okay ’cause I’m still breathing.” That lyric in the context of the song, and in the context of my penchant to blow things out of proportion in life kept me sane at times. Thanks again Chris for writing some of the best songs with the best lyrics. You made Jersey an even better place to grow up.

Written by jlongo12

January 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

Testing, testing… is this thing on?

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You know those t-shirts nerds wear that say, “No I won’t fix your computer.” Well, let this blog serve as my virtual t-shirt that says, “No, I won’t blog for you.” After blogging for other people in several different capacities for the last few years, I’m taking my ball and going home – into my own world of frivolous, inconsequential musings that will entertain no one but myself.

I plan to talk about economics, libertarianism, cycling, my training, my racing, good music, good TV, and whatever else I feel like typing. Some of it might be interesting to you. Some of it won’t. I think my material covers such a broad spectrum that at least one post a year will catch your fancy. And that’s my goal. One million posts for me, one post for you.

Written by jlongo12

November 29, 2010 at 4:37 am