[Blog Update] 2020 Recap

There will be a few end of year lists from me over the next few days, but today I want to reflect on the year that was… 2020.

A crappy year for most people.  Illness and job losses hit a few I know personally.  Death, thankfully has been kept at least two or three degrees away from me. 

For me, I’ve been OK.  Both Sarah and I haven’t stopped working.  Sarah has been working from home, an experience we are both enjoying.  Also good health wise.  Last night I began to have a scratchy throat and it is still there this morning.  The first time I had anything close to a cold all year.  My allergies in the spring were much worse. 

We have been extremely lucky as our only real sacrifice has been missing our family.   We live in a “hot zone” in Southern Ontario while our immediate relatives all live 4 hours north of us where the cases of Covid-19 are relatively low.  The last thing we want to be is patient zero.  So, we haven’t been able to visit our parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, or our friends all year long.

Our hunting for vinyl records took a major hit as well.  We were able to slip in one record show this past February (Also the last time we sat in a restaurant) before it all went tits up.  We did take one trip in August to record stores in Coburg and Oshawa, then cases began to rise again in September.  So that was that.

The only store I felt comfortable enough going to is our little mission thrift in town.  We’d go right when they open on Saturday morning when it was still empty.  They don’t get enough vinyl records to make it a worthy visit, but they do have plenty of $2 CDs.  Even that has died down as I only went once this past month since we went into lock down again.

All in all, personally, Christmas 2015 until a few months into 2019 was much worse than 2020.  I feel very much for everyone else who has had a rougher go.  Regardless of how bad you had it, the one thing I believe is a constant for everyone is how 2020 began very different compared to how it ended.

For this blog, I began the year… no, decade!.. by steering its focus back onto film reviews.  The reason why I started it was to catalog the movies I watch so I can better remember what I have seen.  But, I found a more efficient way to do this was by logging them into a spreadsheet and writing mini reviews on letterboxd.  Follow me there too!

Besides, too many things were pulling me back to writing about music here… 

For one, Covid carved up anytime I would spend listening to podcasts.  My work commute time was cut down by a lot.  40 minutes has been shaved off the morning trip alone.  And my lunch hour at work was dropped as management eliminated our overlap shift.  I would take that time to walk on the nearby trails and in the parks while listening to podcasts.  It all added up to 15-20 hours a week of podcast time that is now gone.  My backlog quickly ballooned to unmanageable.  

The final straw was when the air conditioning in my car gave out (again) in the spring.  Hearing people speak over the car stereo is difficult for me to do with the windows rolled down at 100km/h.  So, music in the car became king again.

My base model 2012 Honda Fit doesn’t have anything fancy where I can hook up an mp3 via USB directly to the stereo, so I purchased this little digital player device for $30 that allows me to hear them via the FM radio.  It also plays lossless flac files which is my preferred way to rip CDs.  Huzzah!  Complete game changer!

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I enjoyed it so much I bought one for Sarah too!

As my listening habits changed, two of my friends began weekly YouTube/Facebook shows about music that I have been lucky enough to be asked to be a part of. 

Bill’s Vinyl Collection Show on his STCPod channel has me closely looking at my own collection at least once a week.  Discovering what (embarrassingly) I have bought over the last few years and still haven’t listened to only motivated me more to start enjoying my records and CDs.

Then Mike DeLano began his “lockdown show” which has evolved into The LeBrain Train, theme song and all!  Asking to regularly be a part of Top 10 (11) lists about rock and metal had my gray matter buzzing on music even more.  Heck, even the weeks when I’m only watching does the trick!

Finally, Sarah and I began writing tandem posts for our blogs.  Our run through of Led Zeppelin’s catalog had us both reconnecting with our collection.   Every Sunday we would avoid distractions and “force” ourselves to listen and write about music.  We enjoyed the experience so much that we will be reviving the series very soon.  

Looking at my year end blog stats for 2020, my music posts did far better than any movie review.  Especially whenever I wrote about AC/DC.  I fully admit, having you all better engaged with the music posts has also been a strong motivator. 

And now with The LeBrain Train, I have faces and voices to put to a lot of the comments.  And your posts too!  Funny to think how it was only this past April when I had no idea who Deke or John T. Snow sounded or even looked like.

OK, Full confession time…

Deke is NOTHING how I pictured him when I read his blog pre-LeBrain Train.  The voice, look, and attitude I imagined was Randall Graves from Clerks:

I’m happy to report that the real Deke is nothing like him!

19 comments

  1. BAHAHAHAHA…WHUT? Classic man. I will say that I have worn my ball cap more than a few times and may have done that walk a few times after I had too much Lickbo sauce.
    2020 has been interesting that’s for sure. I was face timing Tbone earlier today and told him I have talked to him more via facetime since this started than before all the world took a dump.

    Blogs have been an excellent source of entertainment as it all comes from the hearts of everyone who are passionate about something. In saying that I’m really glad you came out swinging with a bunch of music reviews this year along with Sarah. That Zep one was pretty cool to read every Sunday back 2 back Zep reviews and your marriage survived!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post about the year that changed a lot. Here’s hoping this year improves a lot of the shortcomings of 2020. Especially record shopping, man I miss it. And I still need to read both your Led Zeppelin series. I know, I know! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I only found your blog in August, but I bet half of those views from your AC?DC posts were from me lol! Confession time: I fangirled a little bit when I saw what you, Mike, John, and Deke looked like for the first time because I’ve chatting with you guys in the comments for at least a month before Mike sent me the link to the AC/DC deep cuts livestream (John wasn’t on that one, but work with me). It was a surreal moment seeing that you’re real people lol. Also, I thought you were much older because of your knowledge on AC/DC. I can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for your blog Kevin. I love that you and Sarah dedicated time to listen to your Zeppelin records with no distractions and write your album reviews. Props to you both! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lana!

      It might have been you who was boosting all of my AC/DC stats!
      I fangirled as well when I saw John and Deke for the first time.
      As Judas Priest once said a few times in one song: You don’t have to be old to be wise!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great posts.

    I enjoy the movie posts as it’s cool to see what different eras and genres you sink your eyeballs on.
    And for music, Led Zep and ACCA posts always get me interested and anything to do with artists who play the blues.

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  5. Great post Kevin!! Nice recap. I like both your movie and your music reviews so I am happy for either on your site. The LeBrain Train was a blast this year. It has been fun to watch and quest on the show as well. I wish I could catch it live every week, but life gets in the way sometimes. Here is to a better year and that family gets to be seen as it has been over a year since I’ve seen mine.

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  6. Love your movie/music posts, so I’m really looking forward to more next year! (though I really ought to keep up, haha) The Zeppelin ones by you and Sarca were so much fun to read as a fan. It’s always so cool to see your album collections too. I’m not much of a collector, so I’d have to live vicariously through all of you, heh. Here’s to an awesome 2021!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Happy New Year to you and Mrs Mars too!

    Sadly I have to report that I’ve bought more records this year than ever before (beating 2018 by 2). I wasn’t at the front of the queue for willpower.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Back at you! I still bought quite a bit, but it has all been on amazon. The real hang up for us is a record store is at least a 30 min drive to areas where the cases are higher than we are. It might be different for us if there was a store here in town.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Only a few visits to record shops over the year, other than that I’ve just tried to buy new stuff direct from the bands/label – hopefully they get more of the cash that way.

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