March 2018 books

11. The Lost Girls by Robert Kolker – True crime book about a possible Long Island serial killer targeting prostitutes/escorts in the mid 2000s, who is still not caught. He goes into the stories about each of the girls found buried on a beach in burlap, and the girl whose disappearance led to the discovery of the bodies.

12. I am, I am, I am – Maggie O’Farrell – A memoir told in stories of brushes with death. Another book from a list of books to read, and I don’t remember why it intrigued me. The initial story hooked me, but not remembering what the book was going to be about, I thought it was going in a very different direction. Regardless, it was an enjoyable read, although it seems like Maggie has had a stressful life with all these brushes with death.

13. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr – A YA novel about a teen girl with amnesia who kisses a boy and suddenly can remember that one event. At first it seemed like it might be kind of lame and just a romance, but it’s not. It’s sad, it’s sometimes annoying because it’s repetitive (because she can’t make new memories, and it’s told from her perspective she has to “remind” herself of what’s happening), and it’s got a bit of a twist that I wasn’t expecting. I enjoyed it. It’s a fairly quick read, and worth a shot.

14. Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk – Oh God where to start with this? Chuck quickly became my favorite author after seeing Fight Club and the mindfuck it provided. I bought the book (which is very close to the movie), then Invisible Monsters, which utterly blew my mind. I wrote him a letter, because these were the days when his address was still available through one of his fan pages. And he wrote back! What? Amazing. I bought Survivor and read it in a day, also fantastic. I was caught up on his books at that point, and eagerly anticipated more of his work, and I bought and read every one the day they came out. I told myself I liked them, but if I’m honest, every one after that got worse and worse. Or was more and more of the same – the theme of salvation through self destruction. Then I got to Haunted, which was terrible. It was the first one I truly admitted that I did not enjoy. But still, I bought each book on release day and read them ASAP. Underwhelming book after underwhelming book I finally stopped buying them, and started on ebooks from the library. The first one I didn’t buy was Tell All. And I was so glad I didn’t pay money for that one. It’s an intriguing story, if you’ve never seen that EXACT SAME PLOT on THE SIMPSONS! Seriously. If the recycled plot didn’t bother you, the writing style would. It was just not good. Doomed and Damned were both fairly decent, and I though they redeemed him a bit. But they didn’t make me continue, or return to being a rabid fan, and I really stopped following any future releases.

A friend recently mentioned him, which led us to looking up what he was doing and I saw he had a book called Beautiful You from a few years ago. To the library I went. I did not know the premise of the book, though I did see someone say the twist blew their mind. I was going in blind, but the first scene – a woman in a court room, where there are no other women because they’ve all dropped out of society – was interesting! I like post apocalyptic stories, women issues are huge right now, maybe this will be a fantastic look at society. Wrong. It turns out it’s a story about a man creating a line of sex toys to enslave women around the world. A story about female pleasure, written by a gay man, who seems to hate women. As a straight woman, I would never deign to write anything about men’s pleasure, especially not gay men’s pleasure, because I know nothing about it. And neither does Chuck. Assuming he researches what he’s going to write about, who did he speak to about orgasming someone to death? He clearly read an anatomy text book, but beyond that, the 200 pages of pleasuring women to near death is just absurd. Because yes, this thin line of plot could be condensed into 50 pages among 200 of unnecessary garbage. And it’s not even sexy smut garbage. It’s just stupid. And maybe it’s nit picky, but you know what’s also stupid? The main character climbing a Himalayan mountain, to find the sex guru, unassisted – and then have the mountain turn out to be Everest. Because yeah, that’s totally possible and extremely likely. And even more proof Chuck knows nothing about women – the main character puts on lingerie, and while her boyfriend who she is going to anally sodomize for no real reason is climbing the stairs, she has time to curl her eyelashes, WAX HER LEGS, and dab perfume behind her ears. SO REALISTIC! And while it’s amusing to think of men burning sex toys in Yankee Stadium, and sure, maybe some of them would explode, but some of them turning into rockets shooting through the NY sky and making it look like a war zone…stupid. Then the twist, because every book he writes has a twist ending, is not even interesting. I’m sure some pretentious lit major could make some argument about how it’s some amazing post modern look at blah blah blah bullshit, but in sum, this book is trash, and should not be read by anyone. I officially declare Chuck to no longer be my favorite author, and I doubt I’ll read anything else he releases.

In Progress: October

February 2018 books

6. The Girl With All The Gifts – This was recommended to me by someone, and I had the author wrong, so it took me a while to find it for some reason. I had no idea what it was about, but turns out, it’s a post apocalyptic zombie novel, focusing on some last remaining “normals” and a 2nd generation zombie child. Definitely my kind of book, enjoyed it quite a bit.

7. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green – I think I’ve read all his work, and while this wasn’t my fav, it was readable and it went quick. A teen with extreme ocd/anxiety/germaphobia tries to navigate life and friends. It was fine.

8. Touch by Courtney Maum – I need to start making notes of why I add books to my wish list, or where they came from, because I never remember why I was drawn to them. This one focuses on an over reliance on technology, and the ways it dehumanizes us. The main argument is whether a company should go down the road of making even more integrated tech products, or follow the main characters suggestion that personal interaction will start trending again. It’s a little preachy sometimes, and the end felt like a cop out, but overall it does make you think about how much we use tech to avoid others.

9. How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran – Oh my, this was great. Coming of age story of a poor British girl in the 90s who is trying what all teens do, to invent themselves. She invents herself as a cynical music journalist and gets a job with a London music magazine at 17 years old. She joins the scene and the debauchery, and starts to realize who she should really be. The writing was beautiful, it was funny and entertaining. Recommend.

10. A Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell – A memoir about a British couple who moves to Denmark for a year when the husband gets a job with Lego. Helen, a freelance writer, investigates why Denmark is constantly voted the Happiest country in the world. Funny, entertaining and enlightening to what a country can do to take care of their society.

January 2018 Books

1. Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – This book was great. It surrounds a teen girl in the 1980s whose uncle/godfather dies from AIDS, and the things she learns about him, his life, and her family as a whole. It was a good story that made you want to keep reading to find out what was going on with her sister, and her mom, etc etc etc. It wasn’t an exciting adventure page turner, but it was a page turner. I just think it’s fantastic.

2. Wild by Cheryl Strayed – Last year I read Walk In The Woods about the Appalachian Trail, this year, the Pacific Crest Trail. Obviously it’s a memoir, and it covered the hike as well as her life, which led her to escaping to the PCT. It’s an uplifting story, worth a read.

3. Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg – This is one of my favourite books ever, and this was my 3rd read. I seem to read it every 10 years or so, last time was in college. I had forgotten so much, and it’s still funny even if I wasn’t LOLing like the very first time. It’s so much fun, I don’t understand how it hasn’t been made into a movie. I almost want to learn to how to write a screenplay and do it myself.

4. Rage Against the Meshugenah: Why it Takes Balls to Go Nuts by Dan Evans – a book borrowed from a coworker when I requested a funny book. You wouldn’t think a book about clinical depression would be funny, but it actually was. He writes in such a way that you didn’t feel bad for his experience, even though he was in a pretty bad place. It was a good look at the disease, without it making you feel terrible too.

5. Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson – I enjoyed his book about the 100 year old man so I thought I’d try this one. It was similar in it’s comedy of errors esque feel, and it’s…dryness? Bluntness? It’s hard to explain the style, but it’s distinct. It was amusing, and alright, but I found I just wanted it to end for most of the book.

In progress: A Year of Living Danishly and The Girl With All The Gifts

December books

44. Dead Presidents by Brady Carlson – Lots of books focus on Presidents’ lives, this one focused on what happened to them after they died (their funerals, ceremonies, and how we remember them historically). Informative and interesting, and it featured several pages about my favorite bar in Buffalo – Founding Fathers – and it’s owner/bartender Mike Driscoll. Buffalo is awesome. (and I got some Calvin Coolidge and Zachary Taylor trivia right since reading)

45. The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg – Again, no book can approach the hilarity of her Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, but this is another good offering from Fannie. It tells the tale of a midwestern town and it’s inhabitants from founding through the current day, through their lives, and after their deaths. Sometimes it felt a bit politically preachy (the idea that the old days were better, almost approaching “make america great again” territory) but it didn’t get that into any particular interesting. It’s just an overview of how times change, and the life and death of a town.

46. I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas by Lewis Black – not as funny as I was expecting.

47.  Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore – quite amusing but I wonder if I would have gotten more funnies out of it if I was at all schooled in the actual story of Jesus.


Since I don’t think I’m going to finish either of the 2 books in progress in the next 36 hours, this is it for 2017. Onto 2018.


In progress: What Happened by Hillary Clinton and Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Gary Numan – Town Ballroom, Buffalo NY – 12/2/17

Gary Numan came into town for the first time ever, and Adr2 and Bliss were down to go. We picked out our spot on the upper right side of the stage with a perfect view, and no one bugging us lol.

I don’t have a lot to say. It was great, Gary looked and sounded good. He seemed tickled at the audience reception, and I guess he did a 2nd encore, which I guess is unusual. I enjoyed it.

Ghost Nation
The Fall
Everything Comes Down to This
Bed of Thorns
Down in the Park
Pray for the Pain You Serve
Here in the Black
Love Hurt Bleed
My Name Is Ruin
When the World Comes Apart
A Prayer for the Unborn

Are ‘Friends’ Electric?

Encore 2:
I Die: You Die

The Tea Party – Horseshoe Tavern – 11/30/17

Even though I am still slightly mad at the Tea Party for our argument in the summer about their setlists, I couldn’t resist a Thursday night special acoustic show in Toronto. I didn’t think they would play the same old set, even if they did, it would be acoustic and thus different so I was excited.

Mary, J and I decided to spend the night with a free room at the Hilton, so we had all night to hang out before the band went on at 10:30. We met up with Carolyn, Kurt and their son for some good BBQ dinner, checked into the hotel, and had some beers at Mascot Brewery. Headed to the show, caught the end of the opener (a guy from USS), and waited around for the Tea. They went on late, of course, and the Horseshoe is a small place that was packed. We couldn’t see shit, plus since it was acoustic, they were seated.

But it was awesome. They always sound fantastic, and it WAS  a different set.

Acoustic set:

Walking Wounded
Requiem (dedicated to Gord Downie, with Tragically Hip “Bobcaygeon”)
Haze on the Hills
In This Time
Winter Solstice
Save Me / The Maker (with Led Zeppelin “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” intro)
Shadows on the Mountainside
Coming Home
Sun Going Down

2nd set:

Writing’s on the Wall
A Certain Slant of Light
Fire in the Head
Heaven Coming Down (with U2 “With or Without You”)


I don’t think we’ve heard Walking Wounded since I first started seeing them, and Requiem (which I hate on the record but was decent acoustic, because it wasn’t whiny) since they toured for Interzone Mantras. I still hate the Maker, but that’s ok haha. Sun Going Down is always welcome, and acoustic, cool. 2nd time ever for A Certain Slant of Light and I don’t know why they don’t keep that in the set. It’s fantastic.

Overall Mary and I were happy with the set, even if we couldn’t see anything lol. Went out for another drink at the Bovine afterwards before heading to the room for the night. Good times.

A Perfect Circle – Air Canada Center, Toronto Ontario – 11/15/17

APC is back!! I couldn’t miss out on going to see them, but I was wary after the way the last show went – the worst setlist ever. So I bought tickets but planned on checking the setlist before the show, and if it was crap I was going to sell the tickets. Turns out, it was safe to attend!

Maynard being Maynard, he implemented a super strict no photos or videos rule. Signs posted everywhere, on the backs of chairs on the floor, and apparently 60 people got tossed out of a show earlier in the tour. We had seats in the 100 level, so I wasn’t worried about it too much, but I left my phone in the pocket anyway haha.

The band sounded great, but things sure have changed since the beginning. My worst concert injury ever occurred at APC in Boston on their first solo tour, with Danielle, when half the floor of the oversold show fell over during Rose onto us, and a fat guy fell on me trapping my leg between him and the steps we were standing on and I thought it broke. Now, everything is seats, and while people on the floor stood, the rest of the arena stayed in their seats. It’s kinda crazy!


The Package
The Hollow
The Noose
Weak and Powerless
By and Down
People Are People
Thinking of You
A Stranger
3 Libras (All Main Courses Mix)
Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums
The Doomed
The Outsider

Highlights included The Package and Thomas. A new song called the Hourglass was intriguing. The other new songs were fairly interesting and a bit different than their past works. I’m looking forward to the album. I knew they weren’t going to play Judith, but I would have liked to hear Magdalena. Maynard’s voice is still great, but he occasionally stayed in a lower octave, and did not do the Thinking of You “chant”, instead he chose to tell us how he multi tasks on tour by doing his workout during the show, and proceeded to use his shake weights LOL.

They are definitely still worth seeing, and I hope they tour again once the album is out.

November Books

40. All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg – eh, I’m indifferent. It’s fine, it was a quick read about a woman in her late 30s who feels she hasn’t made anything of her life. It’s not a linear story but each chapter highlights some different episode of her life, but they do all work together.

41. The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel – I actually started this book on the plane to Ireland, but couldn’t “check it out” again when it expired. Non-fiction biography of a man who spent 20 years in the woods in Maine, having no contact with the rest of the world. Very interesting, makes me think about being a hermit (I think I could do it, tho I do love the internet). 

42. The Nix by Nathan Hill – when I saw I had read 41 books, I wanted to make it to 50 for the year. Then it took me most of the month to read this one. Guess that’s not going to happen. Anyway. It took me a while to get into this, but once I did I wanted to know the rest of the story. A man is researching his mother’s past in the 1960s. It’s interesting enough to make you want to read more, but not too crazy. Hard to explain, but I enjoyed it.

43. The 14th Goldfish by Jennifer L Holm – a very quick read with a cute story about a young girl and her scientist grandpa. A little bit coming of age, but not heavy.


In progress: What Happened by Hillary Clinton and Dead Presidents by Brady Carlson

October Books

36. The Daily Show (The Book) – I love the Daily Show, I love Jon Stewart. I cried when he left, and I cried again when he left in the book. If you like(d) the show, it’s a good read about the history and behind the scenes activities that went into producing the show during Jon’s years.

37. The Antiques: A Novel by Kris D’Agostino – this might have been another book off the funny book list I mentioned before, or it could have been another list of books everyone should read…Whichever list it was, I disagree. It was not funny and all the characters were hateful. There were some slightly amusing moments once the entire family got together for their father’s funeral, but as a whole, not funny. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t recommend it. So many other books to read.

38. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – I’ll get this out of the way – I was reaaaaallly annoyed that he made the underground railroad, that factually exists, into an ACTUAL UNDERGROUND TRAIN. It constantly bugged me, because people are dumb enough to believe that it’s true (case in point, J’s mom has an actual slave hidey hole in her house, it was a stop on the UR, has a memorial in the yard etc. She talked to someone who stopped at the memorial and the guy didn’t believe in the UR because “they never found evidence of the trains”). The era of fake news and all. So I feared that people will read this, and treat it like an actual history book. J, the english major, pointed out how the actual train is a literary device that allows Cora to experience a variety of different slave experiences blahblahblah lit stuff. And he’s right. And we both agreed people dumb enough to believe it was an actual train are unlikely to read this book anyway LOL *elitists* ANYWAY beyond that, I enjoyed it, it was a good story and gave a good/sad look at the slave life.

39. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon – recommended by a friend who mentioned the play was coming near me, and 2nd by another friend, I put it next on my reading list. A story told by a high functioning kid with some kind of learning disability (assume autism). It was a good story, but a little depressing and I don’t really know how it would translate to stage (esp if it’s a musical, which I’m not sure if it is or not). Worth reading for sure.

In progress: What Happened by Hillary Clinton and All Grown up by Jami Attenberg

Hillary Mother Fucking Clinton

Hillary wrote a book, and she came to Buffalo to do a signing. !! All you had to do was preorder the book from Talking Leaves, so I sent J to do it for me since he was closer and I was scared it would sell out right away when it started last month. He got the new book, and her children’s book, and that got you a ticket to the signing where she’d sign both books. The signing was yesterday at Larkin Square, inside The Filling Station (little cafe).

1000 tickets were available, so I went fairly early to make sure I wasn’t at the end of the line, and I was in the first 300. Old neighbor Jenny was there, from Boston, with her father so I met up with them when I got there, and then again after it was all done. The Buffalo News interviewed me and took my photo for twitter but thankfully I never saw anything get posted. Phew. I had Adr’s mom add some purple satin to one of my suit jackets, like Hillary’s concession jacket, and I wore that over my Nasty Woman shirt, with my Notorious RGB dissent collar necklace. There were all kinds of “girl power” tshirts, people with campaign pins, and other related garb.

There were a few protestors…a guy with a really nicely made sign saying to stop blaming others for her loss blah blah blah. Then a guy in fatigues showed up with a little flag and just kept yelling about Benghazi. And when we left, a 3rd guy had shown up with a cardboard sign I didn’t understand, something like “your pied piper didn’t succeed”…shrug.

Anyway, they let about 50 people at a time in through security, and into the Filling Station, where she was at a table signing books. They took all our books ahead of time so she could start signing before people were being let in to say hi, and then you picked them up after you went through. Once you were in, no cameras so I only got a photo from far away, but that’s ok. Everyone got to go up and say something and shake hands. I never know what to say, so when I got there she was signing a book and it went something like this:

HRC: And how are you today?

Me: I’m good how are you?

HRC: I’m good, thank you for coming.

Me: We really shouldn’t be here right now

HRC: *eye roll* I know.

Me: Thank you for everything. *hand shake, walk away*

HRC: I like the purple lapels.

!!!! YAAAY she noticed and liked the jacket. No one else had noticed until one of her assistants at the front of the line noticed.

So it was a cool experience to get to meet her, and see Jenny again. We grabbed lunch after and talked travel and politics etc. Awesome.