How Lucky Are We?

Hello, friends! Rob here.

Current mood:

Seriously, you guys. I know that the above piece of music is just drums, and that it's only one hundred seconds long, and that it comes from the soundtrack to a TV show about bad things happening in the dead of winter, but still. This is my number one summer jam this week.

Quick- without looking it up- what do you think is the name of the current mayor of Toronto, Ontario? For the record, this exercise has nothing to do with the cautionary tale that was the late Rob Ford. Just, what do you think is the name of Toronto's current mayor?  I'm guessing David Thompson.

Do you have a guess? Okay, then I'll look it up.

John Tory. Damn, I was close. Why is that close? Well, for starters, I guessed male. I also went with a relatively bland and WASP-y sounding name, as opposed to something more unusual in the West, or a nickname like "Buck” or "Skip.” You'd be surprised how many people with folksy nicknames are allowed to be mayors. To boot, I even got his last initial right. There are no points involved, but this would have been a pretty solid guess in a round of a game we call "Guess the Mayor.”

This band has spent a lot of time in cars and vans and buses. Collectively, we've probably killed about twenty thousand hours driving from Jingleburg, South Dakota to Frank's Knee, Oregon and back eighty times a year. As such, we've occasionally been forced to think of ways to keep ourselves occupied once everyone's phones run out of battery. (I know what you're thinking, and believe me- with a single twelve-volt socket, you can't charge upwards of seven phones faster than upwards of seven people can drain their batteries.) Sometimes, we guess mayors. Sometimes, we ask "How Much?,” which is basically a variant of "Would You Rather” where, instead of comparing two either favorable or unfavorable scenarios, you pick one unfavorable hypothetical and see how much everyone would have to be paid to do it. While many of our favorite "How Much?”es are actually fairly innocuous- how much would it cost for you to say "that's my name, don't wear it out!” in an annoying voice every time anyone says your name for a whole year, for example- games of "How Much?” tend to get vulgar in a hurry. There's also a game where we guess the net worth of celebrities (as reported by, which is actually a real website), which I admit can be vulgar in a different way.  But it can also be interesting if you find a compelling theme, like looking up the principal cast of Friends back-to-back...

Okay, actually, that game is in pretty poor taste no matter how you look at it.

Anyway, this has been a wild couple of weeks. As I mentioned earlier, we're hopping all over the dang continent this month. We started in Cleveland(-ish), then Charleston(-ish), then Toronto (actually Toronto proper- we were staying in a hotel that was so Canadian they found a guy named Neil Young to do the art on the walls). From there it was a quick flight to New York, and three days back in a Sprinter hitting Mountain Jam in upstate New York, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City (where, for the most part, we cleaned up at the tables), and then Philadelphia for a daytime bash.

From there, some business that would have brought us to Los Angeles fell through at the last minute (don't worry, it was nothing vital to our survival), so we ended up spending two nights at home. Now we're back out again. I was planning on updating this sooner, but the last few days have been pretty grueling, to be honest- a lot of late nights, early calls, airport breakfasts, hurried sound checks...

We're in Los Angeles for what would have been the second time had our plans last week not fallen through. Today, our only "off” day for this whole run, we'll be flying out of LAX in the afternoon and landing in Grand Rapids sometime after midnight. From there, it's round two of Electric Forest, then Milwaukee Summerfest, which we'll be reaching via a ferry across Lake Michigan (I am excited about this to an extent one could describe as "more than normal”), then we finish it off in Sioux Falls. Our first time playing in Iowa! Love it.