Thursday, November 26, 2009


You can tell a lot about a person from their ringtone. Matt Payne's is "In the Meantime" by Helmet.

If you are not familiar with Helmet, they are a very influential Alternative Rock band. Terms like Post Punk, Alternative Metal, Post Hardcore, Noise Rock are used to describe its genre. The music is spartan and spasmodic, stripped of excess, both lyrically and melodically as it unapologetically flagellates conformity.

Many of Matt's responses to MTN's questionnaire demonstrate his "Strength to Minimize" (a line from "In the Meantime"), which refers to not allowing the prescriptions of culture to get in the way of finding what defines and satisfies oneself.

Fashion and self-understanding are rarely compatible.

Here are his unedited answers:
Occupation: Aeromechanical Design Engineer, Alliant Techsystems Inc.
College? Where? Degrees? I was on the 10-year plan. 2 years at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY that resulted in no degree and a huge bill, followed by about 5 years of driving all over the US in a beat up old conversion van with my buddies seeking rock stardom (interspersed with a bunch of random manual labor temp jobs and one year at MSU-Mankato that didn't amount to anything). Somehow I ended up at the University of Minnesota where I received my BS in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics.
Favorite food: Chipotle: Steak burrito, no beans, extra hot sauce, tons of cheese (plus the chips and salsa). If you ever need to pound down 1500+ calories in a hurry after a race, there's nothing better on earth.
Favorite books: I'm a total sci-fi nerd. Lately I've been into Orson Scott Card and John Scalzi.
Favorite Movies: I don't really stay up to date on Hollywood's latest. I pretty much end up going to whatever my wife drags me out to. The last movie I was legitimately excited to see was District 9, which was excellent.
Favorite actors & actresses: See above.
Favorite TV shows: The only TV show I'm catching with any regularity right now is The Office.
Favorite Singers or Bands? I still listen to the exact same stuff as when I was in high school, which is predominantly mid-90's era NYC post-hardcore (I'm sure that will make sense to about 1% of the people that will eventually read this). Helmet, Quicksand and Orange 9mm are my all time favs.
Favorite Songs? Meantime by Helmet. Hearing that song for the first time in 1992 inspired me to quit the high school CC and track teams and join a band (thus kicking off the 10-year bachelor's degree plan). When I hear it today I still want to drop whatever I'm doing and pick up a guitar.
Favorite Junk Food:
Tortilla chips. I'm the guy who can't possibly open up a bag of chips without eating the entire thing in one sitting.
Your Perfect Meal: I'm really low maintenance when it comes to food. I'll take a backyard barbecue with my friends over some outrageously priced 5-star gourmet fluff any day.
Favorite Restaurant:
Based on the portion of my paycheck that ends up in their cash register, Chipotle. But the Lions Tap would give them a run for their money if I lived closer.
Favorite Alcoholic Beverage: Good ol' American beer in a can. I'm not the slightest bit picky here.
Non-Tri Hobbies: Poker, reading, video games.
Favorite Pro Teams:
The Twins are the only pro team I really follow at all.
Favorite College Teams: The Gophers I guess, but I'm a casual fan at best.
Heroes? My Dad and both of my Grandfathers. They were just all around solid guys who worked hard 100% of the time and passed on a much better life to my generation than we really deserve.
Dream Vacation Destination? Maui. A) You can swim out 50yd from pretty much any beach on the island and be surrounded by sea turtles, which is awesome. B) The bike ride up Haleakala (10,000 vertical feet of non-stop climbing over 35 miles) is absolutely epic and should be on every cyclist's bucket list.
Winter Training? How do you train in the off-season? Swimming, swimming, some more swimming, followed by a little bit more swimming (with just enough running and cycling mixed in to not forget how). Right now I'm giving up a minute or two in the water to most of the other Team MN guys. I hope to rectify that situation by next summer.
It's a pleasure to know you, Matt!