Bad Copy


Dan Gardner’s (Four Lights) Top Distractions of 2020

This year has been… a year. While everyone seemed to have what we could collectively describe as a “shitty year,” everyone has had a very different 2020. This year, we couldn’t all meet up at festivals all over the country or the world. This year we couldn’t high five each other, chug cheap beer, and scream along to songs in a basement (or garage or sticky venue) on a Friday night. All the things that seemingly made us “us” were stripped away, leaving other facets of ourselves that we had long since forgotten or placed on an upper shelf to collect dust for some day when we would have more free time.

I’ve spoken to people who feel like they lost their hold on music and others who clung onto it for dear life like a life preserver. It’s been… a year. And while everyone has bravely faced 2020 with a different arsenal of supplies, this resulted in a variety different outcomes. That’s why, in addition to our contributors’ End of the Year Lists, we at Bad Copy have reached out to a handful of friends involved in music this year and asked them to share their top lists. Music, movies, photos, memories, new hobbies – much like 2020, nothing is off the table when it comes to these lists. Let’s find a little good in the bad, try to laugh at what we can’t control, and pray that we will be able to safely see each other soon. First round is on me. – Kendra Sheetz, Editor

Twenty-Twenty. What the fuck, right? I felt like it had some promise. We all had big plans for the year. I started the year reconnecting with some old friends, my band was getting ready to record a new album in the summer, I was looking at some vacation spots I desperately needed to visit for the Fall.. But this isn’t a list of things I wanted to do. No, this is a list of the things I used as a tool or a weapon against this year. These are the activities or in some cases, the attempt at activities to make this year either feel a bit more… normal… or at least try and keep me sane.

Making A Sourdough Starter 

I’m going to be honest with you. I was VERY excited to make bread. I love bread very much and the thought of just being able to make it whenever I wanted? I’m in. The joy I get from making food is immense. The joy I get from adding flour to water on a daily basis is non-existent. I think I made it a week and put it in my fridge and forgot about it until I could smell it and then threw it out. I will continue to purchase my sourdough at the grocery store.

Downsizing my Belongings

I moved in 2019 and I left a lot of stuff boxed up in my basement for a later day to sort through. Well, well, well, 2020 provided me with the perfect opportunity to finally sit down and go through all this crap and decide what I wanted to keep and what just needed to be chucked out. I honestly took a big dent out of it. I donated six large trash bags of clothes and dropped off about as many bags of just trash at the transfer station. It was just stuff that I had been moving around for years and maybe hadn’t even looked at. It was nice to finally relieve myself of this burden. Until it wasn’t. There are currently two half filled boxes sitting in my living room. Staring at me. I should just finish it, right? Just throw out those boxes and move on? To be continued…

Cake Baking

We watched a lot of TV this year, didn’t we? I mean… I watch a lot of TV every year but I watched a LOT of TV this year. I re-watched a lot of the Great British Baking Show to slip into something a little more mentally comfortable earlier in the year when things really seemed bad. A few hours later I was on Amazon ordering cake platters, icing bags, and whatnot. I made a lot of cakes. I was trying out different flavors of cake and icing. I wasn’t very good but it was still delicious. The problem with making a lot of cake while living alone during a pandemic is you now have to eat that cake yourself. I ate a fuck ton of cake. Too much cake.

The Beatles

I love The Beatles. I don’t give a shit. It’s easy to love The Beatles though; it’s almost a default setting. With time on my hands I decided it was time to take a deep, deep dive into the solo albums. I grew up hearing how lame Wings was. I knew the singles (“Band on the Run,” “Jet,” “Silly Love Songs,” etc.) and I defended RAM (RAM Gang Forever) as the best solo Beatles album but I couldn’t tell much about Red Rose Speedway or Gone Troppo. Maybe there was no Abbey Road in the bunch, no “Something” or “And Your Bird Can Sing” but dammit, those solo albums are still great. I listened to them a lot and I still am. If you are a Beatles fan and you haven’t done a deep dive into the solo years, you should. It is worth the time and effort. Even the Ringo albums, I promise! Maybe Kendra will let me do a series on them (Editor’s Note: What’s in it for me? Nothing? Okay, cool. You’re in!). Maybe I’ll start my own website where I can yell into the void about the greatness of “Magneto and Titanium Man.” Maybe that idea will end up like my sourdough starter, in the bottom of my trash can. Tomorrow never knows.

Smoking – Low and Slow

BBQ is some of my favorite types of food. Smoking meat takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. Thankfully, I had time by the buckets full this year. My folks got me a meat smoker last year and I really dove in this year. I made so many ribs, briskets, and pulled pork. I got good too. I can’t wait to have a get-together with friends and share all this delicious meat with them. It was nice to spend time doing something I loved, with a result that I loved and not get tired of it or give up! That’s a win!


I used to be pretty athletic. I played a lot of sports and was generally pretty active. As I got older that was not the case. I reached a point where I would get winded walking up my stairs. I wasn’t happy with who I was and who I became. The cake and ribs probably were not helping. If I wanted to continue eating ribs and whole cakes I needed to burn those calories. I also needed to get outside of my house. I was so sick of looking at the same walls all day, every day. It started as nightly walks after dinner and then I decided to try the Couch to 5k program again. It hurt. I remember the first time it had me run for like ten minutes and I thought, “Well how the fuck am I not going to die?!” Then a few days later it had me run continuously for 30 minutes. When I was done, the rush of endorphins was incredible. I felt so damn alive. After finishing that program I started to see how fast I could run and now I’m working on how far I can run. Each new distance felt like it was unachievable. Two miles? That’s madness. Five miles? Surely you jest. TWELVE MILES?! Well right now my record is 14 miles. I’m hoping to run a full marathon next year now. Strava has been a big part of it as well. Friends from around the country can see each other complete runs and give kudos to each other. Finishing a run is a wonderful feeling. Having your friends from San Diego give you a virtual pat on the back afterwards, in a time like this, is enough to keep me going and working towards that next milestone.

Creating This List

I had a rough year. I lost someone very special to me in March in a horrific way and it honestly still haunts me every day. A lot of the things I tried to do this year were a distraction from those feelings and a way to not dwell on it. It didn’t REALLY work but some of it helped calm me down enough that I could rationally think about what I was feeling and make sense of it.

Thinking back on everything I have done this year… thinking about how we all are finding ways to keep some shred of sanity on our sides… it’s pretty overwhelming. Picking out my favorite or at least the things about this year that stood out to me in a positive way was pretty therapeutic.

My mind is now on 2021. Will I get to record that new Four Lights album, will I get to take this trips I wanted to take, will I get to see Kendra (this is the longest we have ever gone not seeing each other in like six years and it’s pretty fucked up), will I get to run with my San Diego friends, or will I be discovering my love of painting or rock climbing and still not finish my unpacking. I guess time will tell.

You Oughta Know is a collection of recommendations and picks from the Bad Copy staff.

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