The Weekday Ramble is a daily dose of sports, music, culture, and more from Rambling On founder Erik Ritland. For more information check us out on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or at our website.
Thursday May 21, 2015
I can’t believe I made it, folks! When I set out to do a blog every weekday back in January I didn’t think I’d last more than a week or two. Here I am, though, several months later and still tearin’ it up. I’m doing something at least.
To celebrate here are 100 facts about me. By popular demand. I’ll do 25 per post so it’s easier to digest.
Topics in the first part include my first cassette tapes and CDs, peeing next to a celebrity, the saintly and profane, my first band, the first songs I ever wrote, the wind, ice cream, pickiness, my favorite movie, my favorite TV show, and the metal video I watched over and over again in kindergarten.
1. My first cassette tape was Ace of Base, The Sign. Their weird synth-y stuff is still sort of unique. Back in the day the only person who could top them was Mariah Carey, whose “Hero” kept “The Sign” out of #1 on the charts and I’ll never forgive her for it.
2. My first CDs were the Beatles Free as a Bird and Real Love EPs. I already had all their music on either cassette or LP so they were the obvious choice.
3. Please Please Me was the first Beatles tape I ever bought. I remember going to my local Best Buy to pick it up. It was almost closing. I picked it over the rest of the Beatles tapes because it had 14 songs (the American versions of their stuff with only 12 songs were still being printed) and “Twist and Shout” was on it. I remember my parents playing it in the car and sensing that it was taking them back somewhere special. They probably hadn’t heard a lot of those songs for 30 years.
4. My home church growing up was Lutheran Church of Peace in Maplewood, Minnesota. It was a nice community that treated me very well and taught me about what being a Christian means. Mark Becker, their pastor when I was a member, is still one of my biggest Christian influences. He’s a tenderly intelligent man.
5. When I played baseball early in elementary school my number was 14 because Kent Hrbek was my favorite Twin. I’ve always loved fat first basemen: Hrbek, Cecil Fielder, Prince Fielder, John Kruk.
6. Nolan Ryan was my favorite baseball player growing up. Not a bad choice, eh? He’s probably still my second favorite baseball player of all time behind Babe Ruth. Lots of raw skill with those two. The romance of Ruth matters to me almost as much as his ability (as a pitcher and a hitter).
7. I once peed in a urinal next to Kent Hrbek at the Starkey Awards Gala at the RiverCentre in St. Paul. I told him that I was disappointed that there aren’t as many home run hitters on the Twins now as there were when he was playing for them. He said “Yep, those were good times” and walked away. I don’t think he listened to what I said.
8. I have two brothers and a sister. We’ve always had a close connection even when we haven’t been close.
9. At one point in my life I was working at the Cathedral of Saint Paul and the Xcel Energy Center, the two main religious and secular buildings in my dear St. Paul. It was pretty cool to be a part of so many weirdly varied events: confirmations, hockey games, rock concerts, choir concerts, ordinations, food shows, festivals and celebrations of various kinds. I’ve never felt more like I was a part of the pulse of the city.
10. My first band was called Faded Suede. The only other permanent member was my old friend Drew Pederson (who thought of the name so you can stop judging me). We were really into Wilco, he was really into Ryan Adams, and he believed in my not-very-good folk songs enough to learn guitar parts for them. We didn’t play a whole lot of shows or make a whole lot of recordings. I was just learning how to write songs well at that point.
11. I wrote over 100 songs my senior year of high school. They were mostly terrible but I still go back to them and make them into better songs.
12. I’ve written hundreds (hundreds?) of songs. I really like about 20 of them and am satisfied with about 20 more. I hope to release my debut double album, In Toil We Krimber, sometime this year.
13. I like walking. I’m glad I do because if I didn’t I’d get really fat really fast.
14. One of the best things that ever happened to me was discovering my parent’s record collection when I was in elementary school. Highlights included John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Uriah Heep’s Demons and Wizards, Charlie Daniels’ Nightrider, and the Kinks’ Sleepwalker.
15. My favorite movie is Walk Hard, the parody of Walk the Line starring John C. Reilly, Jack White, Jack Black, Frankie Muniz, Tim Meadows, and more. I like it because it doesn’t try too hard but is also often clever. It’s a music nerds dream. The running gag about drug use is simply brilliant, as is “Let’s Duet.”
16. After about six years of contemplating and questioning I became a Catholic on April 19th, 2014. It’s difficult but fulfilling, lovely, and beautiful. It’s the foundation of my life.
17. The first article I ever published online was called The Five Greatest Guitarists of All Time. My list? Mick Ronson (who played during Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era), Mick Box of Uriah Heep, Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Mick Box is the funniest choice there.
18. My favorite television show is Adventure Time. It is the best show on right now. There’s depth, there’s humor, and it doesn’t have to be raunchy or swear a lot to be entertaining. Even as an adult a lot of the stuff on the show goes over my head. I’m glad there are some kids shows that don’t dumb stuff down.
19. My favorite song in kindergarten was Metallica’s “One.” My brother Chris had a VHS of the spooky video and 5 year old me loved it. Despite the fact that my mother forbid me from watching it.
20. After years of it making me fat I’ve finally pretty much given up drinking regular pop. There are so many good, off the wall diet choices that there’s no reason to go with the sugary stuff. I wish I could give up pop completely, but one step at a time I suppose.
21. I like listening to the sound of the wind going through big trees as I fall asleep.
22. My favorite ice cream growing up was chocolate marshmallow. My grandpa would buy it for me and my siblings by the gallon.
23. I don’t understand being picky. The pickier you are about everything, from food to music, the less fulfilling your life will be.
24. I have a bachelor’s degree in English with a philosophy minor from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. I wish I would have done more activities in college and taken less naps. However I discovered a whole lot of great music during that time, getting heavily into Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Wilco.
25. I like being outside so much that it’s hard for me to be indoors when it’s nice out.
Check out part II here.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.