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.

January/February Books

1. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
2. Dust – Hugh Howie
3. Mischling – Affinity Konar
4. Ghetto Girls – Anthony J Whyte
5. Shit My Dad Says – entertaining book by the guy who created the Shit My Dad Says twitter.
6. Night by Elie Wiesel – I’ve read it before, high school or college I can’t remember, but I thought I needed to read it again as a reminder.
7. Floodmarkers by Nic Brown – a novel about a single town during Hurricane Hugo. Not quite what I expected from the description, it was supposed to be a book about the people of the town and how they all are connected. Which I guess it was, but it wasn’t a full story – each chapter being about a single character, with only a few getting more than one chapter to flesh out their story. They don’t overlap the way I was expecting, with just passing mentions of some of the others. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I wanted. At least it was short.
8. A Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) – I’ve never described myself as a mystery reader, but I guess I do like them, and I quite enjoy JK’s detective series.

Books: Dust

A few years ago the short story/novella “Wool” by Hugh Howey was recommended to me. It was post apocalyptic, which I love, and available as an ebook (self published I think) on amazon. I loooooved it. I recommended it to everyone (with varying results). I thought the twist was fantastic, and its popularity lead to Howey writing 4 follow up stories, later published together as the Wool Omnibus. It continued the story, and added to the mystery, but nothing was as thrilling as just reading that first part on it’s own.

He then added a prequel, “Shift”, 3 more novellas combined into an omnibus, followed by “Dust”, an epilogue. I just finally got around to reading them.

“Shift” explains the world that created the silos and “Dust” continues the story at the end of “Wool”. They were both worth reading, but still not as mind blowing as “Wool 1”.

People may be tempted to read them in the chronological order of the story, but I don’t think that’s the intent. Starting with “Shift” would be really confusing, as I think it assumes you know about the world of “Wool” already, especially as you get past the “First Shift” portion. And it gives away some of the twists and surprises of “Wool” which made it so good.

It had been years since I read “Wool”, I sort of feel like I should have read it again first, as I forgot a lot of the details beyond the main plot, which would have helped. Part of me is still confused about the reasoning behind The Legacy and The Pact. Perhaps more will be coming. It’s a good series though, and I recommend it for anyone who likes apocalyptic fiction.

Top Ten Teen-years Albums

This was floating around facebook the last few days.

List 10 albums that made a lasting impression on you as a TEENAGER, but only one per band/artist. In approximate chronological order of when I found them.

1. Aerosmith – Get a Grip (1993) – I wasn’t sure this fell into my teen years, until I looked up the release date, and saw that it had to. This is the first CD I remember wanting to buy on my own. My clique of friends all had it, and we were scandalized that there were nipple prints on the CD.
2. Salt n Pepa – Very Necessary (1993) – I loved this record, I listened to it a ton with headphones when I got my first portable CD player, in my room, doing my homework, even though I had a perfectly working stereo. Thinking of this record got “None Of Your Business” in my head last night. Awesome.
3. Stone Temple Pilots – Purple (1994) – While I still don’t really think of them as “grunge”, I guess this is the first grunge cd I loved and listened to all the time (I owned Pearl Jam’s “Ten” but never listened to it).
4. REM – Monster (1994) – I listened to this, and the STP record, all the time when I was playing my Super Nintendo. In retrospect I’m not really sure why I liked this record, but at the time it was great.
5. The Cranberries – No Need To Argue (1994) – Zombie still is a fantastic song. The rest is a bit mellow, but it holds up.
6. Elastica – Elastica (1995) – I heard the song “Connection” while hanging out in Media Play and bought the CD. I remember writing song lyrics on the desk in study hall, only to see that someone had written the next line after. Turns out that someone was Marney.
7. Michael Jackson – HIStory (1995) – 2 records have changed my life. This was the first. It led me to travel, spend a lot of money, and most importantly, led me to meet some of the best friends who I still have to this day. Awww.
8. U2 – Achtung Baby (1991) – Not discovered until I was at Geneseo, and not appreciated upon first listens, when I listened to it months later, it’s brilliance blinded me. So amazing.
9. Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile (1999) – The 2nd life changing record. Even if it took 6 years for it to make a huge impact as far as leading me to travel and meet great people, this was an emotionally impactful record. I really don’t know what my life would be like if I had never fallen down the NIN-hole.
10. Orgy – Candyass (1998) – Orgy was the first band I met, and was the band responsible for getting me into seeing concerts, and following tours, and trying to meet bands and get autographs. They were fun, and super cute, yay boys in makeup.

Books! “Born to Run”

It’s a new year, and a year since I redid this page. I don’t think I came anywhere near posting as much as I wanted to, or about the things I wanted to. But since no one reads it, I suppose it doesn’t matter. But I have a resolution! I’m going to post about every book I read this year. So let’s start now.

“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen

I like memoirs, or auto-bios, non-fiction travel stories, etc, so when this book showed up on Overdrive as available from my library I “borrowed” the ebook. I appreciate Bruce Springsteen’s talent, and I enjoyed seeing him live several years ago with LeighAnne, but I really know nothing about him other than he came from Freehold NJ. The book isn’t a play by play of every year of his life, with every little detail like a bio by someone else may be, but he tells his story very well. It’s his life story, covering the important moments that created him and his career, and it is sooooo very well written. I know a lot of auto-bios are ghost written, but given how good he is at songwriting I assumed he actually wrote it himself, and it does appear to be so. There were some parts, some lines, that were like poetry. A ghost writer, no matter how good, I don’t think would have been able to tell Bruce’s story this way. It was interesting to hear about his struggles with depression, and how he works through it all. It was a memoir worth reading.