Month: May 2018 (Page 1 of 2)

“Hell is Real”

I’ve never checked out the infield portion of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 500 mile race. I’m likely too old to do so. Or at least too old and with too low tolerances for drinking in the heat. But it’s good to know that even if tamer than in its glory days of the 1970s and 1980s, the Snake Pit is still a den of debauchery and mayhem on race day.

Hell Is Real, And It’s the Infield of the Indy 500

Reader’s Notebook, 5/30/18

My reading pace has come to a nearly complete stop over the past few weeks. That’s a shame, because I’m pretty sure I was on pace to have my best reading year ever. George Brett didn’t hit .400 the entire summer of 1980, so I guess I was due for a slump.


Manhattan Beach – Jennifer Egan.
I read this three weeks ago, so I’m not sure how much justice I can do to it. It was much hyped and lauded, but as with some of Egan’s previous books, I liked it but did not love it.

Egan goes back to World War II-era New York, for the most part, to follow Anna Kerrigan, a single woman in her 20s who, dissatisfied with the drudgery of inspecting parts at a arms production facility, talks her way into the navy’s diving program. Despite being mocked by her superiors and often treated as a joke, she not only earns her way into the program, but becomes one of its brightest students.

Surrounding Kerrigan’s story are the connected stories of two men that played profound roles in her life. Her father, Eddie, was a bit of a bag-man and small-time fixer for the local mob until his sudden disappearance in the early 1930s. Dexter Styles is a made man in the New York mob, connected to the crime world by occupation and the power elite of the east coast by marriage. He and Anna strike up an odd friendship that becomes more, only to be destroyed when Anna learns Styles has knowledge of her father’s disappearance.

Egan zips back and forth through the Depression era mob, the War era life of New Yorkers, and the life of a man who has run away and carved out a new identity for himself. She wraps things up in a manner that will likely be satisfying for many people. I just never fully connected with the story, or understood how the various parts fit together.


Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story – Chris Nashawaty. I linked to an excerpt of this a month or so back, and at the same time immediately put a hold on this book at my library. I believe I was the first person to check out my library’s copy. Sadly, that excerpt sucked up many of the book’s best parts.

Nashawaty spends as much time setting up the making of Caddyshack as he does breaking it down. We learn about the history of the National Lampoon and the various artistic venues that spun out from it as we do about the movie. Many of his revelations about Caddyshack will likely be familiar to anyone who has read even a little about the movie.

For children of 1980s comedy, this book will be enjoyable. But it was a disappointment to me, as I was hoping it would be filled with dozens of things I had never heard about before.

Holiday Weekend Wrap Up With More Big News

Our summer is off to a very hot and hectic start.

Remember back when I was bitching about how cold it was in April? Mother Nature was paying attention and has punished me, and others in Indiana, who complained about her April offerings. This month is almost certain to clinch the hottest May in Indianapolis history. Yesterday was the hottest May day here in 107 years. It’s stupid. I’m assuming June is going to be wet and in the 60s.

We began the summer as we normally do, heading down to the lake. We went Saturday, taking one of our young nephews, and were joined by other family on Sunday. So the girls were super annoying Saturday without friends to keep them entertained. They were slightly better when aunts, uncles, and other cousins showed up. We had a second birthday party for one of the cousins. The rest of the time we just sweated in the heat.

Each of the past two summers, as we’ve closed down the house for the season, S and I have had a very brief conversation about whether the lake house is worth it. We really only spend six or seven fun weekends down there every season, but we’re paying a mortgage, insurance, taxes, and utilities for 12 months. We always talk about spending a weekend down there in the fall or winter, but never do it. Each of the past two years, the answer has been yes, it is still worth it. That math has changed.

We’re getting ready to sell the lake house, too.

It’s partially because we’re getting busier and it’s going to be tougher to get down there as the girls continue to get older. But it’s also because our new home in Indy is stretching us out more on how much money we’re spending on properties each month. It’s tougher to justify the lake house when it’s no longer in the comfortable financial zone to keep it.

We told the girls a couple weeks ago, and they weren’t happy. One of them cried for an hour. Too much change at once, I think. We explained our reasoning, but also pointed out that this will free us to do other things in the summer. They can have friends over more often. We might get to take some more, bigger trips. Eventually that logic has taken hold, but I still think they are, overall, disappointed.

When they were acting like being at the lake was a chore this weekend, when I spent 90 minutes in the heat working in the yard, when I thought ahead to all the prep for lake weekends and all the clean up after, I was ready to put a sign out when we left Monday morning. I’m sure I’ll be in a better mood in two weeks when we have friends down. But after six great summers, I’m kind of done with it.

We are just full of bombshells lately, aren’t we?!?!

Our home here officially went on the market today. We already have one showing scheduled. It’s been a hectic week or so to get the house as ready as it can be to start letting people walk through it. I believe I mentioned one of our next door neighbors had two offers the first day they put theirs on the market two weeks ago. That sets kind of a high expectation for how quickly things could happen. We also pushed our price up a decent chunk since they got more than their asking price, and we have more updates and a much bigger lot than they do. We could get an offer in a week, which would be pretty good, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be all stressed out since the neighbors were done so quickly.

We went over to meet the builder at our new house today. Even though we bought after it was 95% complete, we still had to run through some bullshit marketing surveys to satisfy their execs. They were putting in all the landscaping today, which made the house look better. Only problem is it is hot and dry, as I mentioned above, and they’re waiting on some final piece of paperwork to get the water line connected. We’re supposed to have a pretty good dose of rain over the next 36 hours as the tropical storm remnants pass us, but if the water isn’t hooked up soon, I worry we’ll have to start over in the fall. Oh well…

I hope all of you had safe and enjoyable holiday weekends free of major, life-changing decisions.

Friday Playlist

About an hour ago I dropped the girls off at school for the last time this academic year. And, as M pointed out, this is the last time we will ever take that route to school. Next fall our drive will be about eight minutes shorter. Some songs for the occasion.

“Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams

“Summer Nights” – Van Halen

“Summer Teeth” – Wilco

“Sleep All Summer” – Crooked Fingers

“School’s Out” – Alice Cooper

“Summertime” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Finally!

M’s kickball career has gone like this over the past three years:

Fifth grade, advanced to the City semifinals and lost by 5 or 6 runs. They would not have beaten the team that was waiting in the City finals but it was still disappointing.

Fall of sixth grade, went undefeated in the regular season and lost in the City championship game 26–1 in four innings. Blech.

Spring of sixth grade, went undefeated in the regular season and lost in the City championship game by 9 runs after having a one-run lead going into the 7th. This one hurt; they were the better team and had one bad inning in the field and plate at the worst time.

One of the dads in our class dubbed the team “the best team to never win a City championship.” They were the Buffalo Bills of Indianapolis kickball, I guess.

Time to retire that nickname, our girls are finally City Champions!

Well, co-champions.

It was a weird season with an appropriately weird ending.

The season began with the absolutely most bonkers game I’ve ever been a part of. I could literally write 5000 words about what happened that day but I’ll boil it down to bullet points:
* Playing a team of all 8th graders we had a lead the entire game but went into our last kicks tied and couldn’t score. The first extra inning game I’d ever been a part of.
* Neither team scored in the 8th.
* In the 9th it looked like we had won the game. But the umpire called our runner, who had appeared to have scored the winning run, out for interfering with a defensive player when they ran into each other at home. Never mind that our girl A) tried to avoid the defender, B) the defender ran into the baseline and our runner’s way, and C) our girl touched home before there was contact. There was some arguing about the call but we played on. One of the opposing players called our runner involved in that play a “bitch” loud enough for everyone on the field to hear. Nice.
* We entered the bottom of the 10th down five runs. We scored two and had two on, two outs and kicked a ball to the shortstop who tried to get a force out at second. The umpire called our runner safe, but then ruled her out for coming off the bag. Game over. I started arguing that the second baseman never tagged our runner. Umpire said it was a force out. I said, rather forcefully, no it wasn’t; once the ump called her safe our runner had the right to go to third, so the defender needed to tag our runner. Our coach banished me to the sidelines, because my tone was not helping. She proceeded to argue the call for nearly 10 minutes. Finally the opposing coach came over and said, “I think she’s right, that wasn’t a force out.” The umpire insisted she made the right call, but since the opposing coach was fine with it, she reversed her call and brought the teams back out. There was much protesting from the opposing team’s parents. But, still, we were down three with two outs. We got two in and then our best kicker won the game with a three-run homer, M was officially the winning run as she broke the tie when she crossed home. Parents from both sides were yelling at the umpire and each other, the opposing girls were yelling at our girls and each other, their coach and his daughter were screaming at each other. It was really the craziest thing ever.

Whew. We got through the rest of the regular season without a loss until our final game, when we had a rematch with that team. This time we lost by three in a game that was relatively drama-free. They had a game rained out against a pretty good team and were not going to play it. Our coach insisted they play it before we play a one-game tiebreaker. They made up the game, won by three, but then our rematch was delayed a week because their 8th graders were on their DC trip.

Monday we were supposed to play the tie-breaker and immediately after the winner would play the other division champ for the City title. Naturally the only rain we’ve gotten all month was a severe thunderstorm right before the game. We postponed to Tuesday, but now the other division champ had graduation that night and class trip the next night. Whoever won on Tuesday would have to try to find a date for the championship game.

Tuesday our girls, for the third time, got an early lead. They were up 16–6 after five but I was nervous because they had blown leads in the first two games. Our girls played fantastic defense the last two innings which helped us weather two poor kicking innings, and earned a 16–10 win. The girls were all pumped up. I think many of them expected to lose. We have a player who is a great athlete but was new to kickball last year, and has always struggled to kick. She took a ball home last week, watched videos online, and kicked two home runs on Tuesday. She was so excited. That was extra cool. She made a huge difference as we were missing one of our best players because of a back injury.[1]

Now to schedule the championship game. We tried a number of options, but nothing was going to work. We had graduation Thursday, and although our team is all 7th graders, one coach and three players had to be at the ceremony. Today and all of next week both teams would be missing several players. After much discussion the coaches decided to share the championship rather than force one/both teams to play without their entire rosters. This was a good move for us, because we would not have beaten that team.

We decided all of this on Wednesday, the day of M’s class retreat. The coaches and I were both helping transport the kids at the end of the day, so we made plans to bring the girls together after they returned to the school building to update them.

The coach gathered them all in the lobby and explained how there was no good way to play the championship game. “So, we’re not going to play it. You’re City champs!” They looked at each other for a moment, then it hit and they all started screaming and jumping on each other. Later we heard that students down both halls of the building could hear them and wondered what was going on.

We got the girls ice cream and they were able to hang out in the lobby and celebrate together for the last half hour of the school day.

Sure, there’s an asterisk next to this championship. But I think they absolutely earned their share by beating a team full of huge 8th graders two out of three times. I think several of the girls went into the playoff game thinking they didn’t have a chance, or wanting to lose so they could avoid their nemesis St. B’s in the title game. But that was their best, most complete game of the year. Unlike other times when they’ve played in City and they make a mistake or two in the field and then crumble, the girls steadied themselves and kept misplays from turning into five-run rallies.

And now comes the fun part: ordering City champs shirts for the girls and updating our kickball banner in the gym to reflect another title.


  1. Our opponents were missing two girls, which really hurt their defense. But it’s worth noting the night they beat us, we were missing two of our best players. Spring sports schedules are a bitch.  ↩

She’s a Good Egg

Most of my kid posts are a little braggy. But this one is even more braggy than usual.

L wrapped up her soccer season over the weekend. They were playing a crappy team they had played earlier in the week, and this time the other team was missing so many kids that we had to loan them a couple of ours. L had a couple of really nice goals in the first half, both of which involved her beating a defender one-on-one and then ripping a shot from 10–15 feet away from the goal. These goals showed off some power we haven’t seen from her this season.

In the second half she did something that made us incredibly proud. Our team was absolutely dominating possession, even without our prodigy who had to leave at halftime to go play his fourth game of the day with his travel team.[1] The kid that is probably our third most talented player, but has no idea how to play with others, kept getting the ball, refusing to pass to anyone, then taking terrible shots. L saw him waste about five chances to pass to a teammate who had a wide-open chance and had enough. She started getting the ball in midfield, working through the defense, and then trying her hardest to set up two teammates who had not scored all year. She set up her buddy from school for his first goal of the year with a beautiful pass through the defense that ended up right on his foot so he could finish easily. Then she spent 10 minutes trying to get the littlest kid on our team, who really should have been playing down a league but only played up to be with his cousin, a shot. She worked her ass off and gave him at least seven or eight chances, but the poor kid is too small to get to the ball so he kept either helplessly watching it roll by, or not getting a good foot on it. The head coach and I were almost falling over at how many good balls she sent this kid’s way but he just wasn’t physically mature enough to get to them. Meanwhile, if kid #3 got ahold of the ball, he would take on five defenders and refuse to pass away to a wide-open teammate.

I’ve written a lot about L’s soccer exploits here over the years. I’ve never been prouder of her than I was on Saturday. She could have scored 10 or 12 goals, easily. But she worked hard on a hot, muggy day to try to give her teammates a chance to score.

Last week we got an email saying that she had been nominated for an award at school that goes to students who sacrifice in order to make other people’s lives better. This morning was the all-school assembly at which the nominees were announced and the awards given. 20 kids from the entire school made the cut. Alas, she did not win, although one of her best friends did, which was very cool. After she said she knew he would win because, “he’s always giving people hugs.” Hugs are tough to beat.

I was given a copy of her nomination after the ceremony. I don’t know who submitted it, although I’m guessing it was her teacher. In it, they wrote how L has a “wonderful, creative spirit” who is friends with everyone and always works to make sure everyone is included.

That kid does a lot to make us proud. But this week was extra cool.


  1. Seriously…  ↩

The Family Project Reveal

I have been struggling with insomnia lately. Several nights a week, despite often being absolutely, physically beat, I will go to bed, fall asleep for 30–45 minutes, and then wake up and be unable to go back to sleep for hours.

This is mostly because my brain has been working overtime of late. I’ve been teasing you with references to a big family project for a week or two. It is that project that has my brain unable to shut down at night.

At last I can reveal what it is that has been dominating my life and keeping me from sleeping.

After almost 15 years in our current home, we have purchased a new house. The B’s are moving!

It’s a long and likely funny story, but I’ll cut to the chase for most of you. We are moving ever-so-slightly south into the Nora area of Indianapolis. We purchased a spec home that was built on a 3-acre property that has been split into three parcels. Our house was built first. On the opposite side a house is currently being built and has already been sold. And in the middle is a third lot that will likely break ground any day.

Exactly a month ago we went and looked at the spec house. We loved it, but were not totally sold on the location, so we kept looking. We also had our eyes out for empty lots where we could build exactly what we wanted. The area we’re looking in is pretty much saturated. We realized that it might take us months to find a lot that both fit our budget and construction needs. So about 10 days ago we began seriously looking at the middle lot I mentioned above. We toured a model home of the design that is slated for that lot and absolutely loved everything about it.[1] So a week ago we were reasonably certain we were going to bid on the lot and build that house.

But after going over the builder’s pricing sheets, we realized that building the house of your choice is often a budget killer. The spec list they gave us was already beyond our means, although our realtor claimed we could make some easy changes to knock the price down significantly. Problem is we wanted to make some other changes that, unfortunately, would have wiped out those savings and added plenty more spending.

So last Wednesday we changed approach and decided to go after the spec home we looked at a month ago. Saturday we walked through, made a list of things we wanted to have done, and submitted a bid. The builder had an open house scheduled for Sunday, so we knew we wouldn’t hear back until after that was done. Sure enough, 15 minutes after the doors closed, we got a pretty reasonable counter. We countered right back and just after noon on Monday we received the builder’s acceptance.

We looked at our first house on April 20. We are set to close on June 21. That’s some fast real estating! We are hopeful we have the same luck with our current home as our next door neighbors just had. They listed their house on a Tuesday and had two offers that night. Our house will likely go on the market a week from today. The area we live in is super hot right now, so we’re hopeful for a quick resolution.

So that’s the big news.

Why has this been keeping me up at night? Because when I hit that magic moment after 30–45 minutes of sleep and wake up, I start running through lists. I admit I’m a little overwhelmed by all that is involved in moving. So I start running through what all needs to be done to get our current house ready to sell. I mentally pack. I mentally purge old belongings we don’t need anymore. I think of all the changes in address that need to be made to utilities, etc. Then I think of all the work that will go into setting up the new home. And so on. Next thing you know it’s 2:00 AM and I finally give up on sleeping and come downstairs to have another beer and read for a little bit to try to re-set my brain. I think I’ve been averaging 4.5 hours of sleep over the past couple weeks, with an hour or so up front, and hour in the middle, and then two-plus hours of exhausted sleep before the alarm goes off. Luckily the excitement of all this keeps me going during the day. I figure I might start relaxing and sleeping again sometime in July, assuming we get this house sold promptly. If not, I may not be able to sleep at all.


  1. Which is kind of the point of model homes, right?  ↩

Friday Playlist

It’s been a rough music week. As you can imagine, I have been listening to a lot of Frightened Rabbit’s music. Their songs always had a difficult quality to them. Those elements have been amplified since Scott Hutchison’s death.

But it is time to move on, so here are some new tunes for you. No video this week, as I’m waiting on our fourth visit from AT&T this week and videos aren’t loading right now. (Update: dude was here for three hours and was unable to completely fix the situation. Apparently we have a rogue wire that is hidden behind some ductwork that may need to be fished out at some point. But this involves holes in walls so we’re going to put that off for now.)

“I Am a War Machine” – SONTALK. / “Lake Erie” – Wild Pink. These two tracks have both been highlighted by music writers as songs for people who are into The War on Drugs. They each hit different parts of TWOD’s sound, and do so rather nicely. The SONTALK track probably hews a little closer to classic TWOD. The Wild Pink track veers more towards Americana, although that late solo is pure Adam Granduciel. They’re both nice songs.

“Howlin’ Heart” – Richard Edwards. Indy’s Edwards had a rough few years. He became very ill. His marriage ended. In this song you can hear both heartache and hope.

“Special” – Angel Olsen. I didn’t devote too much attention to Olsen’s Phases album, which came out last year and featured leftover tracks from other projects. This one is quite good, though. I love how it smolders and builds and eventually roars to the finish.

 

C = 12

It’s a wacky, wild time around here right now. I’ve been busy with a bunch of outside projects, we’re in the midst of a big family project I may be able to announce officially soon, and then the end of the school year has brought a bunch of during-the-day and after-school events that have filled up my calendar.

Oh, and our Internet has been bugging out all week and AT&T can’t seem to figure out the problem. There’s been a lot of cursing when web pages don’t load.

So that’s why I’ve not been able to post much. But today I had to carve out time to get something pushed out, as it is C’s 12th birthday!

Year 12 is big in our house because that’s when you get a phone. I had hoped to sneak into C’s room this morning, place her iPhone next to her bed, then call from another room to wake her up. But she was wide awake, fully dressed, sitting in bed reading when I opened the door 10 minutes early. Oh well. And she had picked out the phone, case, and pop socket so it’s not like it was a surprise. Still, she was excited to get it.

Each year on this date I write something about how C is our wild mood swing kid. That has both changed and not changed. She can definitely control her moods better than she used to. But she’s also the most likely kid to burst into tears for no apparent reason.[1] Some days she’s wildly bouncing off the walls and can’t stop laughing. She’s the hardest kid to get settled in the middle ground, where she’s in a good mood but not acting crazy because of it.

The thing that has changed the most, and for the best, this year is how sports have helped her to develop more self confidence. She’s always been the least confident of our three girls. But between her success in cross country and becoming the best kickball player in her grade at St. P’s, she just carries herself a little differently now.

I especially love watching her play kickball. She just has this look on her face that she knows she’s faster than everyone else, and can make plays no one else can make. She’s learned to use her speed to force the defense to make mistakes. When she turns a single into a triple, she arrives and third trying to contain a smile/giggle at the ridiculousness of what she just did.

Here’s another example. A few weeks back a throw back to the pitcher was wide and rolled near home. In kickball, until the pitcher controls the ball it is still live, so the baserunners could keep moving. There was a fairly fast girl on second. Her coach saw the ball rolling away from the pitcher and told her to go to third. C raced over to get the ball, ran around the other team’s players who were lined up to kick on the third base line, and beat the girl to third by a step. It was an outrageous athletic play. She even knocked the girl over in the process of tagging her, but immediately reached over to help her up and asked if she was ok three times.

As the girl went back to the bench, her coach said, “Sorry, I didn’t think there was any way they could catch you.” I chuckled to myself and thought, “Yeah, you didn’t know that was C.B. with the ball though!”

C is still at her happiest when she’s working on art projects. She does some amazing stuff, and I’m not exactly sure where her talent came from. However, she remains a complete disaster in her room with her art supplies. Most mornings I struggle to open her door because there are piles of art crap strewn about everywhere. One of our goals for her now that she’s 12 is to keep her room cleaner. I have a feeling this will always be a source of contention between us.

C has always been, and remains, the sweetest of our girls. She tends to be drawn to kids who are somehow marginalized. From my view it seems like everyone in her grade likes her, but she’s also kind of in her own space rather than part of a specific circle of friends. She spends lots of time with the girls who are somewhat removed from the main social circle. She even told us that she wanted to get one classmate a birthday gift, “Because she doesn’t have many friends and won’t have a party.”

With middle school coming up, we are anxious to see how she handles that. She gets good grades, but school is also more of an effort for her than either of her sisters. I have a feeling there are going to be more tears as she struggles to learn how to balance the additional work that comes with sixth grade with everything else she likes to do.

Like all parents who have more than one kid, I have a different bond with each one of my girls. M is the most like me in her personality, so we both drive each other crazy and understand each other better than the rest of the house. L is likely the closest to me because she loves sports and is a pleaser by nature. Where her sisters run off to do their own thing, she’ll often find a way to hang out with me regardless of what she has going on.

But C, as the middle kid, is the one I think I sympathize with the most. She gets it from both sides, and I find myself often stepping in to tell the others to knock it off. It’s not in C’s nature to stand up for herself. I probably step in too often, but sometimes that is the best way to prevent another crying episode. I’m hoping the confidence she’s developed recently will translate into her fighting for herself when she gets pushed around by her sisters.


  1. Unlike her big sister, who will burst into tears because of hormones, drama, or something she’s manufactured. L only cries if she gets in trouble.  ↩

Scott

Normally on Friday mornings one of the first things I do is start combing through my playlist of newest music to put together the Friday playlist.

I can’t do that today.

News I had been fearing for several days was confirmed just moments ago: the body of Scott Hutchison, lead singer of Frightened Rabbit, was discovered in Edinburgh overnight. Hutchison sent out some cryptic Tweets Tuesday night (our time) and then disappeared. Those tweets were not unusual; Scott battled depression and would occasionally go off the rails with late night Tweets, only to apologize the next day. Wednesday did not bring apologies but rather appeals from Scott’s brother Grant, FR’s dummer, for anyone who knew of Scott’s whereabouts to ask him to contact his family.

The last two days passed with more pleas for help finding Scott from both his family and authorities. And now he is confirmed as gone.

I feel terrible for his family and loved ones. I feel terrible that Scott had so much pain that he was unable to find a way to manage.

I also feel terrible for finding so much joy in his songs about his pain. Over the last 10 years, since I first discovered Frightened Rabbit’s music, I’ve listened to and enjoyed no band more than them. I often found that a little odd, as his songs of romantic failure, depression, and internal pain came at a time in my life when I was happily married, having kids, and generally leading a placid suburban existence. What about late 30s/early 40s me connected with these songs of deeply damaged 20-somethings? Hell, even in the brief periods of my 20s when my life wasn’t going the way I wanted it to and I felt aimless and unhappy, I never reached the depths of what Scott sang about. So there was no connecting dots of my previous life with his.

I think it was always the utter, brutal honesty in his songs that kept pulling me back. Plenty of people sing of heartbreak and sadness. There was something unique to his lyrics that dove right into the uncomfortable bits, as he might call them, and made it impossible not to find some connection with them.

And there was always that glimmer of hope in even his saddest, darkest songs. There was the feeling that Scott was going to bash his way through the pain by strumming his guitar just a little harder, while his brother beat the hell out of the drums behind him, and through communion with his audience, find a way to get through another day.

All week I’ve been thinking of “Floating in the Forth,” the final full track on FR’s 2008 breakthrough album The Midnight Organ Fight. The song, which begins with a low moaning that sounds like a tug pulling from harbor, works through the process of a man stepping to the edge of a bridge – in this case the actual bridge that crosses the Firth of Forth in Edinburgh – and then deciding he’ll “save suicide for another year,” before exploding in a glorious, angelic closing sequence. “Take your life, give it a shake…” was the line I kept repeating to myself, hoping Scott had found the strength to do that one more time.

Initial reports say that Scott’s body was found near the Forth Road Bridge he sang about 10 years ago.

I was worried about Scott two years ago, as much as a fan who briefly met and shook hands with him once can be worried. The band’s 2016 tour had several “off the rails” moments, they may have broken up briefly two different times, and 2017 dawned with some real questions about their future. But they toured heavily through that year, released a fine, three-song EP in the fall, and 2018 dawned with optimism. The band did a small club tour for the 10th anniversary of The Midnight Organ Fight. Scott and Grant recorded with two other Scottish brothers as Mastersystem. Scott spoke with several publications about both where the band had been and where they were going. He seemed positive about their future, noting that several songs were already in the works for FR’s next album. Just a week ago he told a writer, when asked about his health, he said:

“Pretty fine. Middling. On a day-to-day basis, I’m a solid six out of ten. I don’t know how often I can hope for much more than that. I’m drawn to negatives in life, and I dwell on them, and they consume me. I don’t think I’m unique in that sense. I’m all right with a six. If I get a couple of days a week at seven, fuck, it’s great.”

So much of the best music comes from pain. As a music fan, you hope that the albums you buy, the digital tunes you stream, the tickets you buy, and the positive vibes you send back to the artists you love can ease their pain and help to sustain them. I’m very sad today that all of us who loved Scott Hutchison and his music could not help him keep his demons at bay.

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