Life Playlist – July 2012

Friends and Fam – July was full of people we love! We spent about 5 days in Lindsborg with our families as I helped work on some projects for my parent’s business. That weekend also included a reunion with the cousins on Beth’s side of the family. A couple weeks later we hosted sister Laura and her fiance Ben for the weekend. We caught our second Royals game of the season, which resulted in an extra-innings loss like our last visit. The next weekend we had most of our dear friends who are in the States for their annual summer visit. We had a great time eating, shopping for dresses and eating more.

The Long and Whining Road – Retrieving our mail one afternoon this month was particularly exciting when we saw a package from the Royal Mail service. We had received our copy of our friend Sim’s book, “The Long and Whining Road”. This is a recounting of the Courtie’s one-year, round-the-world adventure with their family in a VW camper van. You can get a good sense of his smart and hilarious writing style from the blog he maintained while traveling.

The Long and Winding Road by Simeon Courtie

Buy the book for Amazon Kindle for a mere $4.75 here:
The Long and Whining Road (Kindle)
The paperback version is available direct from Sim here:
The Long and Whining Road (Paperback)

Basement Finishing Project – Work on the basement continues. This month’s highlights include receiving the onyx base for our shower and sweating copper for the first time. We lucked out with timing and my cousin Allyn was able to bring the base by our house so we didn’t have to make a special trip. It looks fantastic and will match the tile for the walls well:

Onyx Shower Base

My new-ish friend Jeff stopped by a few nights later and helped me through the process of sweating a few copper joints for our new shower. After my first messy attempt, things seemed to go pretty well. I haven’t had a chance to pressure-test it yet but I’ve had water sitting in the pipes for several days with no leaks so that’s a good start.

Sweating copper for shower valves

First inspection should be in early August.

Music I’ve been enjoying this month:
– Mutemath Pandora station
– Mumford and Sons Pandora station – I occasionally get Thomas Newman on this station. He wrote most of the Shawshank Redemption score which has a very distinct and memorable sound that makes me want to watch this movie again.
– Derek Webb is rumored to be coming out with another full-length album next month so I’ll very likely pick that up.

Life Playlist – June 2012

Hospital Hill half marathon – Beth completed her second Hospital Hill half marathon in early June and set a new personal record for herself by a few seconds. I still can’t believe she just decided one day to run a marathon. I’m proud of her.

Taylor Roadshow – I went to the Taylor Road Show held at Mass Street Music in Lawrence. Taylor sends out a couple employees and a couple dozen guitars and explains their product line focusing on body styles and wood types and how these variables affect the sound. The evening is geared a bit toward those considering buying a guitar and wondering what the best choice would be. The Taylor guys they sent did a great job and even though I’ve had a Taylor for almost two years I still found their presentation very interesting.

Doomsday Preppers – The best show on TV we haven’t even seen. A couple friends told us about this show of people preparing for the end of the world, however they think it may come. What we heard about the show sounded almost unbelievable but eventually we got around to watching a few previews on National Geographic’s website and it didn’t disappoint.

This is probably my favorite show re-cap:

Other highlights for the month include:

  • Doing some much needed car repairs with our friend Wayne
  • Hosting parents-in-law
  • Hosting sister-in-law for wedding dress shopping
  • Whiryball for John’s 2nd annual Father’s Day gathering.


Due to the type of stuff I have been working on lately I have been able to listen to quite a bit of Pandora while I work and a few new channels of mine have worked out pretty well for me lately. The nice thing about the new channels is that I’m a bit less distracted since I don’t know most of the songs that are coming up so far, but I’m listening enough to get used to the bands and their sounds. New channels:
– Punch Brothers (Thanks Rob)
– Black Keys (Thanks Matt and Rob)
– The National (Thanks Reuss)
– David Mayfield (Thanks Taylor guitars)

SOLA-MI – The digital scavenger hunt started by Derek Webb over a month in advance has resulted in (so far) a “soundtrack” to a supposedly forthcoming movie. The theme has to do with the process of a computer or robot becoming self-aware and “waking up”. It’s an electronic project but I actually like it quite a bit and it’s growing on me each time I hear it. Derek has done the writing and had someone else do the vocals but I still feel like you can hear Derek coming through in the music and writing. It remains to be seen if this is the end, but Derek has suggested there is more to come in this project. It’s a free download from

Memorial Day Estes Park, Colorado Trip

We went to Colorado for a good friend’s wedding and decided to stay a couple extra days. We were fortunate to have good weather while we were there, despite some very cold and rainy forecasts. We found ourselves hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park in a mixture of warm sunshine and light snow. For those familiar with the Park, we took the free shuttle to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead and hiked to Alberta Falls and then Mills Lake, which was worth the hike. We went back by way of Bear Lake.

While in Estes Park we also signed up for a 2 hour horseback ride at the Cowpoke Corral just southwest of Estes Park on the way to the YMCA. We had a great guide that took us up a trail in the mountains and back down. I had the slowest horse of the bunch named “Ace”. The group had to constantly stop and wait for us to catch up. It was a great time and a new kind of adventure for me.

We enjoyed being around Estes as we found a couple great places to eat (thanks to our friends Rob and Sarah) including the Dunraven Inn (order the lasagna; make reservations on the weekends) and Poppy’s Pizza and Grill (their single sized pizzas are a great deal!).

As is common on an Achenbach vacation, we treated ourselves to ice cream at least once on this trip. A thousand local snack joints and we end up here:

Finally, on the way back to KC we really lucked out since our hometown is right on the way home and my brother and sister were both in town from Chicago and Mississippi. The previous day was my dad’s birthday so we all went out for dinner at Tuscon’s in Salina. At Tuscon’s, I couldn’t resist the “Kansas City Combo”, which was choice of two meats. I went with brisket and pulled pork. There was some mix up and about half of our meals came out 10-15 minutes after the other half. Fortunately, one of the outcomes of the mix-up was an unexpected half slab of ribs on top of my already-full dinner plate:

After dinner, we went back to my parent’s house and played some cards, ate some snacks and played a great game of “name that tune” that will be remembered for a long time.