Library Related Things in the Second Half of 2016

 

I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about library related things in my world recently because…well…when I look at the other stuff being written about libraries out there it hits me that what we’re doing here in Titusville PA may not just be of much interest to people in libraries these days. While other libraries out there are talking about makerspaces, open data, hackathons, social justice, and more, we’re here focusing on the simple things: opening our doors, welcoming the community into our space, and doing what we can do to make life in our little neck of the woods just a bit more enjoyable for everyone.

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We hosted the local Chamber of Commerce event “Home For The Holidays” in our Community Room. It brought community members and local artists and vendors together and hopefully some folks got some neat local holiday gifts for their family and friends.

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We decorated the inside and outside of our space for the holidays. Just a few little decorations can really brighten up the mood and add to the positive spirit that goes around this time of year. It makes me smile.

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It snowed! The steps that we restored over the summer are holding up nicely in the late fall/early winter weather and we do our best to clean them off and take care of them so that our community doesn’t get injured as they come and go from the library.

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We hired Becky Stahl to be our new Youth Services Librarian at the Benson Memorial Library. She’s awesome, a lot of fun, and very kind and I appreciate that. My sons Finn and Aero love her craft and tech programs.

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Guardian Elder Care in Titusville, PA helped us fund our front step renovation project. To celebrate the event, we held an outdoor live music event which was attended by over 20 community members. There was free food! That was awesome.

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My first speaking event of the Fall was for the Pioneer Library System in Canandaigua, NY. What a great library system full of very kind people. I was very impressed by who attended the event…it wasn’t just librarians but there were trustees, Friends of the library, and state legislators in the audience. It was great to share and chat with everyone.

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My final speaking event was in November at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library in New York. What a great library! It reminded me a bit of the Darien Public Library in how the building was laid out, which was extremely customer friendly and welcoming. The staff at the library was so very kind as well, and before and after the event I always felt like I was part of the staff and had worked there for at least 10 years. That’s the best!

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Happy this time of year to everyone out there from the Hoenke Family. We love you all. We’re gonna watch a lot of holiday movies and listen to the same holiday music we listen to every year and just enjoy the hell out of our family and friends. This is the best time of year. Love love love love love.

 

Justin Hoenke’s Weezer Song Rankings (Winter 2016 Edition)

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To read the Winter 2016 Edition of my Weezer Song Rankings, please click here!


I listened to quite a bit of Weezer in October-November 2016 which then prompted me to update my song rankings to see how my Weezer listening habits changed over a few months (click here for the Summer edition of these rankings)

THE ALBUM RANKINGS

  1. Pinkerton
  2. The Blue Album
  3. Songs from the Black Hole
  4. The White Album
  5. The Green Album
  6. The Red Album
  7. Everything Will Be Alright In The End
  8. Make Believe
  9. B-Sides
  10. Maladroit
  11. Unreleased Music
  12. Raditude
  13. Death to False Metal
  14. Album 5 Demos
  15. Alone I-III
  16. Hurley

The White Album made a huge leap in the rankings, jumping from #8 to #4. This album really grew on me over the past few months. The songwriting on it is a great combination of the best of early Weezer and post Green Album Weezer. I find myself going back to the songs quite a bit. I’m not 100% sure of why Everything Will Be Alright In The End dropped in the rankings, as I’ve grown to love that album even more than I did before. It may be due to the fact that I think Green and Red just have some amazing songs that rank really high (for the song rankings, see below) and Everything Will Be Alright In The End did not have as many of those. However overall, that album is much more solid (in my opinion) than both Green and Red.

THE SONG RANKINGS

I made some slight tweaks to most of the song rankings, but what I really focused on was trying to hone in on what I considered to be “perfect 10” songs. Here’s my list of those perfect 10 songs:

Crazy One 10 Alone (I-III)
Miss Sweeny 10 B-Sides
Mykel And Carli 10 B-Sides
The Prettiest Girl In The Whole Wide World 10 B-Sides
Cleopatra 10 EWBAITE
Across The Sea 10 Pinkerton
El Scorcho 10 Pinkerton
Falling For You 10 Pinkerton
The Good Life 10 Pinkerton
Tired Of Sex 10 Pinkerton
Why Bother? 10 Pinkerton
Trippin’ Down the Freeway 10 Raditude
Longtime Sunshine 10 Songs from the Black Hole
My Name Is Jonas 10 The Blue Album
Say It Ain’t So 10 The Blue Album
Island In The Sun 10 The Green Album
The Angel and the One 10 The Red Album
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn) 10 The Red Album
L.A. Girlz 10 The White Album
Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori 10 The White Album
Baby 10 Unreleased
Mad Kow 10 Unreleased
My Brain Is Workin’ Overtime 10 Unreleased

These are the Weezer songs I find myself listening to and enjoying the most. They’ve got everything I look for in a great Weezer song: melody, chords, quirky arrangement, rawness, and emotional power. Everyone’s list of their favorite Weezer songs is going to be different and it’s going to grow and change. I really look forward to seeing what some of your favorite songs are!

MY TAKEAWAYS

I’ve liked Weezer for a long time. I still continue to like Weezer quite a bit. They’ve contributed many songs to my personal soundtrack. I hope everyone has this kind of band in their lives.

SONGS: Black Little Face by Zomo

I write pop songs and I put them out as albums on the internet for free or little charge because I have things that I want to sing about. Writing songs also helps me understand myself and helps me become a better human being. It is very healthy for all humans to have an outlet which they can use to discuss topics, grow, and make an impact on the world. I really believe that when songwriters say that they “write songs to make people smile and enjoy life” that they mean it just a little bit but at the same time what they’re really doing is creating art to better understand themselves. Part of creating art is selfish and I have learned that it is OK to say and believe that!

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My wife Haley and I got a tattoo of this face from Hedwig And The Angry Inch shortly after we met. It was done in that moment of both of us saying “hey, yeah we really want to go through life together as a team”. From that tattoo grew the Zomo song “Black Little Face”, which appeared on the 2008 album Triangle of DrunkI wanted to write a song about marriage and partnership but I did not want to write the typical boring “oh now I’m married and life is perfect” song because that’s not how life works. When my friend Dustin Miller and I wrote this song, he asked me if the tattoo hurt. I replied that it did not, and he came up with the only line in the song “Black Little Face, on the back of your arm, will not cause you any pain”. From that I told him that it would be neat to have that be the only line in the song and to have the chord changes be simple and easy. I came up with the G to Am to C to C/B to Am to G chord change. The lyrics and the chord changes all felt cyclical and wonderful. Our first take at this song featured myself on vocals and guitar while Dustin played the triangle. We only had a few days to put the basic tracks down so we made a version of the song repeating the chords and lyrics that went on for about 4-5 minutes.

Dustin was the one who came up with the lush orchestration and backing vocals for the song. I added nothing but the idea, the chords, and the basic track. I was really impressed by the work he did on the song and to this day it remains one of my favorite pieces of music that Dustin and I worked on.

I really enjoy listening to the music that Zomo wrote and recorded during our 10 year run. It is good to be proud of what you do!

 

Happy Birthday Aero Read Hoenke

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my son Aero Read Hoenke. Today this little magical ball of rock n’ roll turns 5!

Aero: I love you little man. You really dig KISS, rock n’ roll, bass guitars, and building stage sets to re-enact KISS concerts. You are super snuggly and full of love, and that is one of the best things about you. Please never change that! I also love how you stick to your guns and always demand that things be done in that special Aero way. It took me 35 years to learn that and you’ve somehow mastered it in five years.

You are awesome and I love you.

WAITING FOR THE GREEN by Zomo

It is with much happiness that I can finally present to you a version of the 2002 debut album by Zomo, titled WAITING FOR THE GREEN. 

Tell us a bit about the history of Waiting For The Green

Back in 2001-2002, Zomo was made up of myself (Justin Hoenke), drummer Dustin Miller, guitarist Zach Watt, and “insert bass player at the moment”. Eventually Rob Felsberg became our bass player in 2002 but from what I can remember didn’t actually ever join us in the recording studio. We recorded the backing tracks to most of the songs with Atom Watt (Zach’s brother) at his studio in Girard, PA. I remember his whole living room was full of sound baffles and drums as Dustin tracked the drums for what seemed like weeks. I can’t recall how long it took. After that, Zach and I began putting guitars on the album and by the end of 2002 and mid 2003 everything just kind of stopped on the album. We all kind of moved on from these songs into newer ones and band members came and went. I think the final nail in the coffin was in June 2003 when Zach Watt left the band. After that we recruited Aaron Davis and for the next 6 months rehearsed and recorded For The Muses.  So yeah, if you follow that timeline then this is definitely our debut album even though we never got it done.

What was the original vision for the album?

It was going to be 14 tracks…7 written by myself and 7 written by Zach Watt. I can’t speak for Zach, but the songs I contributed were: Lucy Gray, The Bells, Tooramalay, Here Come The Demons, Sleepyhead, Cutting the Boy in Half, Breakdown, Giraffe, Girl of My Dreams, Mountain Jam, The Rise and Fall of Joe Walsh Part I and Upon My Sleeve I Wear This Badge. We were going to record as many songs as we could and then whittle everything down to a nice solid debut album.  At the time, we were very much focused on growing ourselves as songwriters and capturing our first songs in a nice debut album.

There were a lot more songs floating around at the time but we held off on putting them on the first record. For some reason, we thought that a lot of these songs would be better for the second album…songs like Pine Away, Alberta, Pocket Symphony, and a few others. In my mind there was a clear “ok, let’s do this set of songs for the first album and this set of songs for the second album” vibe happening. But the songs kept coming so fast and the new ones were so much more exciting than the debut album songs because we’d been playing the Waiting For The Green songs so much. We really got ahead of ourselves.

Why finish this album now?

Well, the album still isn’t finished. You’ve got to remember that Zomo doesn’t exist anymore and without Zomo around there will never be a finished album. To properly finish this thing, Dustin, Zach, Atom, and I have to get into a room for a period of time and do it….and I don’t see that ever happening.

I finished the studio versions of Girl of My Dreams and Giraffe this year based off of the rough backing tracks I had in my archives. I finished them and then relistened to the live tracks you hear on this version of the album. I was blown away by our performance and the raw energy of the songs. I mean listen to Zach’s lead guitar! It’s so freaking good.

I wrote these songs and they mean a lot to me and it was driving me nuts to not have them out in the world. What good is a song when you just keep it to yourself? So I finished things up, relistened to what we had performed live, and came up with this tracklist. It’s not perfect but it is something….and it puts out this great music that we created out into the world. That’s the best thing.

Is there anything else in the Waiting For The Green Archives?

I’ve got other rough backing tracks from those sessions in my archives, but I don’t think I’ll be revisiting those anytime soon. I think the live versions of these songs work much better. Zach’s got his songs as well and I have no idea what he’ll do with them.

What is the future for Zomo?

As far as I can tell, there is none. The band did some stuff, released 3 albums, and now we’re all off on our own living our lives and making music in other ways. It was fun, but everything changes.

My Brain is Workin’ Overtime

 *this title comes from a wonderful Weezer song that the band played live around 2000 but never released commercially. I love this song!*

My head and my heart have been really full the past few weeks. September was full of our book sale, the rise and the fall and the possible rise of our Friends of the Library group, and working on hiring a new Youth Services Librarian. October was the month when we finally got that (really really really awesome) new Youth Services Librarian in place, I worked on the 2017 budget, tried to figure out how to get my staff a well deserved raise, and received my first ever request for the reconsider of a library material. On top of all of that, it’s been getting cold and soggy outside and we haven’t got Fidelia Hall fully heated and let’s just not get into the 2016 Presidential Election. Mix in past 2016 happenings such as the death of David Bowie and Prince and what you’ve got is one heck of a year. Just like all of you reading this, I am ready for a break but honestly there’s no end in sight. There’s never an end in sight.

There’s never an end in sight just about what it sums up to be a human these days. For the day to day workers, the parents, educators, and the people who are getting out there and making a difference in their communities the phrase “there’s never an end in sight” has become commonplace. Life has becoming tiring and stressful for so many people out there. Our brains are workin’ overtime. So are our bodies.While I do believe that hard work and dedication can lead to success and accomplishment, there’s a limit to which a person or a group can take….and I think there are so many people out there who are reaching that limit or are well past it. We’re not whining. We want to work and do great things for the world. But we’re tired because we’ve been pushed so hard for such a long time.

I would like a future where this was balanced out. That’s what I am personally working towards for myself and my family. I don’t know if and when we will get there, but I hope we can. And then I hope I can help bring that change to many, many other people.

REVIEW: Animal Crossing New Leaf Welcome Amiibo

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Originally released in 2013 (2012 in Japan), the Nintendo 3DS version of the popular franchise gets an update…3 years after it was released. I have to admit I was thrown off a bit when this update was announced, but as a very avid Animal Crossing: New Leaf fan I was so excited that I jumped out of my pants.

You can read all about the improvements made in the update by clicking on this sentence. While I do really enjoy the added Amiibo compatibility, my favorite part are the added items and the MEOW coupons, which reward you daily for accomplishing tasks around your town. I was already visiting my town daily to shake trees, collect fruit, and more, and with this update it gives me even more of a reason to say hello to my townspeople. The new and returning characters are just as you’d expect from any character in the Animal Crossing series…adorable and instantly loveable. They fit really well into the world of Animal Crossing and I look forward to seeing them in my town everyday.

Anyone who is a fan of the Animal Crossing series will love this update. It packs so much more into a game that was already full of great joy. New Leaf is the pinnacle of the series so far and I am curious to see where Nintendo takes this game when their new system comes out in March 2017. In my opinion, it would be hard to improve on this amazing gem of a game but I’ve been surprised before.