April Books

14. Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple
15. Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple – Both books were excellent, and I may have a new author to keep tabs on. I haven’t had that since Chuck Palahniuk over 15 years ago. They both take place in Seattle, with a tie in of the same school being featured in both, but they are not a series. Quirky female leads star, without being the typical bang wearing ukelele playing hipster nerdy quirky girl we’ve gotten used to (Eleanor and Park, Star Girl, Zoe whatshername Deshanel?) The storytelling style made you want to keep reading, and I finished “Today” in less than 3 days (another thing I haven’t done in years and years). They weren’t mind blowing, twist filled, stories like Palahniuk’s were, to grab my attention, they were just so well written, and entertaining. Loved.
16. Incontinent on the Continent – Jane Christmas – A travel memoir of a mid 50s woman taking her elderly disabled mother to Italy for 6 weeks. It was amusing, and sometimes sad, and sometimes funny. I can’t imagine what kind of insanity took over to even think that a trip like that was a good idea. In 20 years when I’m in my mid 50s, and my mom, if still alive is mid 80s, I can’t think of a worse idea than to try to go on vacation to Europe with her for a week, let alone 6 weeks.
17. Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson – Interesting book, with lots of history and environmental info, about hiking the Appalachian Trail.
18. The Lost City of the Monkey God – in progress

March Books

9. My Seinfeld Year by Fred Stoller – a very short Kindle published “book” about the author’s year on the Seinfeld writing staff. He wrote the “soup is not a meal” episode. It wasn’t that interesting, but it was quick…more like a long magazine article.
10. How to kill 11 million people – Andy Andrews – a short essay published as a book, asking how the public could stand by while the Nazi’s killed so many, and why standing up for truth matters. Seemed a worthwhile read for the times.
11. Station eleven – Emily St John Mandel – a post apocalyptic book following a handful of interrelated characters as they survive through a flu pandemic that killed the majority of the world’s population. With so many end of times books out, it was a refreshing interesting page turner.
12. Hidden Figures – book the movie was based on, telling the story of the black women mathematicians working for the government in aeronautics. Good stuff.
13. The All Girl Filling Station – Fannie Flagg – one of my fav books ever is her Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man. This one didn’t approach the humor level, but it kept to her style of telling a story about strong women and women discovering themselves. An easy fun read.

Dream

Crazy dream completely due to the new book I started, Station Eleven, about a new flu virus that rampages the world.

The flu was getting reported, and I was out with Jason and Adam, and started freaking out that we were going to get it and die. They were like, no we’re fine, we’re not sick. But I was like, everyone else might be, and we’re around people, and I’m going to get it and I don’t want to die. Adam said he had this gel at home that you rubbed on your orifices to prevent germs from getting in, so we went to Olean to get it and I rubbed it all over my face, except it was like grey foam, so you could tell I had it on. Then we were in a big house with like 15 other people, all freaking out about the flu, and we all sorta fell asleep, because we were getting sick. So I was asleep, and dreaming in the dream that I was about to throw up, so I was like, Sara wake up you’re going to barf, so I woke up from the 2nd dream as I was starting to throw up, and was able to run to a kitchen to throw up in the sink, because others were waking up having to barf too and there weren’t enough bathrooms. It was also “coming out both ends” so no one knew what to do first (lol). I realized that while I was barfing in the sink, Adam’s mom was laying on the floor under the sink, also sick with the flu. It sounds funny but it was really terrifying and I was able to wake myself up in real life to stop it. But then the rest of the night I kept going back to that dream in some form.

Dream

I was on a trip to London, and wherever I was, Prince William and Kate showed up. They had all their guards with them, which made a big scene. It was like I was hosting them, because I was all ashamed that I wasn’t staying in some fancy place. We were at a restaurant and I was nervous because I didn’t know all the right etiquette to be around royalty. Kate was sort of uppity the way women are when first meeting other women and are nervous. Then we all got in the shower and Will and Kate were speaking French to each other and they didn’t know I could understand them. Then I went to some other part of England and was staying in an inn and got to borrow the inn keepers car because I was going to the white house. I got there and Obama was there and I was like, omg I’m so happy you’re still here and he was like, yeah I’m just hanging around. But trump was still president and his people were getting things ready for me to meet him and I was like, no that’s ok I don’t want to. They were like, what?? How can you not want to meet him, and I kept insisting I didn’t want to meet him. Then there was something about going shopping with Kate, cuz she warmed up to me, but I was still nervous cuz she was a royal, and didn’t know where to take her, but she joked she’d buy anything as long as it wasn’t by Ivanka. Then it was back at the white house again, and something about Melania, feeling bad for her or something. And it was time for me to leave and Michelle Obama was there to walk me out and I was so sad but she hugged me and was sad too, and said something touching and uplifting which made me cry as I left. Once I was outside I realized I left my phone in the white house and had sort of stolen the car from the inn keeper, but I couldn’t get back in the white house and didn’t know how to get in touch with the inn. 

W the lovable goof.

When I re-did this site and re-read most of my old blog posts from the last 15ish years, it never occurred to me that I would also revisit my opinion of George W Bush and his 8 years in office. In Obama’s first few years, a certain friend joined a FB group called something like, Let History Be The Judge of George W Bush. He also “liked” pages for Bobby Jindal after his speech rebuttal. I couldn’t fathom this person being a republican, but I can’t fathom that a lot. I laughed at the “history judging” W, because it seemed so clear that he was terrible, and created terrible policies.

And then came Trump.

And I’m forced to admit that Bush (and Cheney) are moderate! That I long for those 8 years, when the world may have hated us, we were still respected. Bush seems like just a lovable goofball, fighting with is poncho at the inauguration, talking about being a pet portrait painter. That I wouldn’t mind getting a beer with him (or a hot dog, if you’re Stephen Colbert). That I actually respect his opinion on the current administration (!!!). Dick Cheney is a voice of reason. That I’d rather see Karl “Ham” Rove over Kellyanne Conway. Because at least their lies and distortion weren’t so blatantly obvious, so it seemed reasonable that people believed them. WTF has happened?!?

Trump.

I can’t keep up with my outrage over the administration’s first 100 days. I can’t keep up with the horrible cabinet picks, and terrible legislation regarding the environment, and terrible travel bans. I just hope the Russia ties turn into a big thing and the whole lot of them get pushed out.

The Tea Party – 2 night stand @ Town Ballroom

As suspected for a while, the Tea Party announced they were going to tour Transmission, like they did The Edges of Twilight, for it’s 20th anniversary. Yesssss. My favourite album. They announced 2 shows in Buffalo, and Town Ballroom was offering a slightly discounted 2 night pass. Since it was likely that this tour will be the only time I get to see most of these songs, I was going to go to both.

First night we planned to meet up with Eric and Mary at Expo Market for dinner before hand, where we were joined by Kark and Kelley. It was like old college times again, and I hadn’t seen them since Eric’s wedding, which was 10 or 11 years ago. It was great to see them again.

The shows had no opener, thankfully. Unlike the Edges show, they didn’t quite go in order, moving Temptation to the end, as they typically close with it, and switching things up a bit in the middle. After finishing the album, they took a 20ish minute break, before coming out for a 2nd “greatest hits” set.

Nights 1 and 2 1st Set:
Army Ants
Babylon
Psychopomp
Gyroscope
Emerald
Alarum
Release
Transmission
Embryo
Pulse
Aftermath
Temptation

Night 1 2nd set:
Writing’s on the Wall
The Bazaar
The Ocean at the End
Heaven Coming Down / All Along the Watchtower
Save Me

Encore:
Winter Solstice / Sister Awake / Paint It Black

Night 2 2nd set:
The River
Fire in the Head
The Ocean at the End
Heaven Coming Down / All Along the Watchtower
Save Me

Encore:
Winter Solstice / Sister Awake / Paint It Black

Both nights were more or less the same, except the first 2 songs of the 2nd set. The crowd was a bit more into things on Friday, I think, and the band was a bit more playful with all 3 of them loving the “Stuuuuuu” chants, and Stu was more animated than I’ve ever seen him – hamming it up, egging on the “Stuuuu’s”, flexing his muscles. Jeff Martin didn’t get super political, mentioning how much 2016 sucked and alluding to the political climate, but turning it more about the musicians that were lost, and dedicating Aftermath (I think) to Bowie. The 2nd night had more political allusion, changing Temptation lyrics to “We live in a world where the fear of the President is real”, and both nights they expressed their support for women, and the White Ribbon campaign before playing Release. Jeff’s voice held up pretty well, unlike when they first got back together, where the Lockport show followed Toronto, and his voice was a big old mess.

Mary was super excited for Emerald, which was great to hear, but I was more excited and impressed by Babylon, Alarum, and Transmission. The album sounds great live, and we both thought they should keep some of these songs in their set. The 2nd night, Eric had an extra from his 2 night pass, because he was only going to Thursday so I had invited LeighAnne. Then when Eric picked up his tickets on Thursday, they had given him a whole 2nd pass on accident, so he had another extra, which I offered to Kate. Mary was supposed to come, but wasn’t feeling well and I don’t think she made it.

Leading up to the show I was trying to remember how many times I had seen them. Turns out, these Tea Party shows were number 19 and 20!

book: ghetto girls

I use the overdrive app on my phone to borrow ebooks from my library. It’s pretty great. Browsing new book options after finishing the last Nazi book, I decided on Ghetto Girls. As I said, I was hoping for another Merivale Mall book. It was not that.

It was written by a black man, but it reads like it was written by a white suburban girl who’s only knowledge of ghetto life is from early 90 gangsta rap lyrics and watching Friday. In other words, I could have written it. Without getting into poor editing and continuity problems, it was tough. From the slang used, to the story line, it was out of a music video. In talking about it to Carolyn she said it almost sounds racist, if it hadn’t been written by a black man. And she’s right. It’s like a caricature. 2 thugs raping young girls, gang banging a stripper, doing drugs, shooting people who “do them wrong”. 3 young girls in a singing and dance group trying to make it. Rich uncle based on Puff Daddy. Crack head informants. One of the girls killing herself after banging one of the thugs, who killed her boyfriend just before that. It was ridiculous. I finished it, but it had no real ending, because there are 5 books that follow, which I’m going to pass on. I have a long reading list to get to.

I am surely no ghetto expert, and I know these kinds of people did exist but….really? Apparently it was pushed as a must read (or something) in Essense magazine, and it did well. Ok great, it got people to read, perhaps people who don’t typically read, but it’s garbage. Surely “hip hop” literature has something more to offer their target audience than this.

Unless I completely misread it and it was meant to be a lighthearted comedy. But it was pretty dramatic for a comedy.

dream

My mom and I were moving in with my Aunt Trudy. They were opening a store selling jewelry they made, and we were going to live there. Turns out Aunt Trudy had a pet rattlesnake and she just let it roam wherever it wanted to, including in the store. My mom was like, you can’t have a rattlesnake wandering around, it might bite someone. Trudy is like, no, it has a rattle so you know where it is…we’re like nooo you can’t have poisonous snakes not in a tank. She’s like, it’s too big for a tank, it has to be able to stretch itself out. Meanwhile, it is always slithering up onto chairs, and curling all in on itself, never stretched out. It goes up on a chair with the cat, and curls itself all up on top of the cat, and I’m like OMG the cat, it could bite the cat, and Trudy is like no, they like to cuddle. Mom and I keep freaking out about the snake, and Trudy mentions that the snake prod doesn’t work…like an electrified piece of metal that if the snake gets too close, it shocks it, sorta like invisible fences for dogs, so they can’t use it in the store to keep the snake away from shoppers. I sit down in a chair, with my knees to my chest, and the snake immediately wakes up and comes right at me. I also have the cat now, and the snake slithers up onto my knees and makes itself comfortable. Now I’m totally freaking out, hugging the cat so it doesn’t get bit, and yelling through clenched teeth, and shaking though I’m worried my shaking will piss off the snake. Mom and Trudy are watching, and mom is like see, you can’t have the snake out. I’m full on hyperventilating, can’t breathe. Trudy is like, what’s the big deal, she’s not even snake phobic. Mom finally has enough and is like GET THE SNAKE WE’RE LEAVING, so Trudy picks the snake up off me, and I run out with the cat and mom and I get into the car to leave. I am having a full panic attack, gasping for breath, shaking. So we go…wherever…and it’s MTV and they’re having some show where bands come and play a song by another band…like NIN was there, and Nirvana who were going to play “How Soon Is Now”, and Bob Dylan…and there is a phone line viewers can call, and leave messages about what’s on the show. The phone rings and I answer it, Hello MTV News, and I can’t hear or really understand what the guy is saying, so I say Thanks and hang up, and when I do I feel a sharp pain in my arm. I lift it up and there is a snake hanging off my arm, fangs stuck in my skin. So I’m freaking out again, holding my arm up with the snake hanging off, and Bob Dylan whips out a big knife and cuts it in half.

Books: I sense a theme

I’m stuck in a subject. Nazi books. I feel like given the current political climate, I need to know about the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. I’ve just finished my 4th, 3 non-fiction and one novel. First was “In The Garden of Beasts” about the American ambassador in Berlin as Hitler became Chancellor. Next was “Night”, which I read in school at some point, but thought I should remind myself of the horrors of the Holocaust. Followed by the novel “Mischling” which centered around twins who were used in Nazi experiments. Most recently, I finished “The Nazi Officer’s Wife”, a memoir of a Jewish woman who spent the war “underground” with a false identity, and ended up getting married to a Nazi.

It’s amazing how many things sound parallel, which I screen shot (since these were all ebooks from the library) and post to facebook. Some things sound trivial, like Hitler being concerned with his crowds, but IT’S ALL THE SAME AS NOW! ugh.

Because of Mischling, I bought one of the books it used as reference, The Nazi Doctors, the psychology of genocide. Something like that. But I needed to lighten things up a bit, so I found a book called Ghetto Girls from the library so I’m tackling that… LOL….as I said to Carolyn I was hoping it was “Merivale Mall” with black girls. It’s not quite that, but it is as badly written/edited. Even thought it’s apparently written by a black man from NYC, it reads like it was written by a white girl who’s knowledge of the ghetto is rap lyrics. It’s as if *I* wrote it purely from Death Row rappers songs from 1992. The slang, the activities…or maybe gangsta rap really did reflect the realities of ghetto life!

An Open Letter

So it happened. Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President. I did not watch it, but it wasn’t exactly a form of protest, as 1. I was sleeping and 2. I think I’ve only ever watched Obama’s first. God did not smite him down when he placed his tiny hand on the bible (unfortunately) and there was not immediate nuclear war. So far so good!

Yesterday was the Women’s March on Washington, and sister marches across the country (and world, even Antarctica!), including one in Buffalo. I tossed the idea of going around in my head for a while, even thinking about last minute driving to DC but in the end I did not attend. I am so proud and happy for my many friends who did go. And I’m extremely disappointed in one friend, who “liked” on fb, a photo of the Women’s march, with the Wonka meme saying “Tell me again how many women’s rights were taken away by Trump in his first 24 hours”. Sigh. I so badly want to send her a message, but I feel like I shouldn’t. But I can’t get it out of my head, so here we go.

You’re my friend, and even thought we don’t see each other often, it’s good we are friends. But I absolutely cannot understand your politics, and the political things you “like” on fb. Being a Trump supporter aside, which I also cannot understand, I just cannot fathom you’re dismissal of the Women’s March, and women’s rights. YOU are a woman! YOU have a DAUGHTER! How can you think that more rights for women is a bad thing? How can you not want to ensure she can get whatever she needs? How can you not support efforts to make sure she is treated the same as everyone else?

I hope to god she is not overlooked for a job or promotion because she’s a woman. I hope to god she doesn’t have a boss with a “grab them by the pussy” attitude. I hope to god she doesn’t go on a date with someone who forces themselves on her. I hope to god she doesn’t experience a sexual assault only to see the perpetrator walk free. I hope to god she never has a medical issue that she can’t get treated, because of governmental rules.

I understand someone being a republican, or a conservative. I can understand having different beliefs regarding economic theories. But I cannot understand a woman being against women’s rights. I can’t understand supporting people and ideas that will make your daughter’s life harder, as she’s the one who will bear the brunt of any policies that are passed, not us.