Year in Music

As far as music goes, forget Pitchfork's top 50 albums of the year. What do they know anyway??
This is the reason my top 50 list is so much better than Pitchfork's: I give you links to my favorite track from each album!

50. Louis XIV Slick Dogs & Ponies Guilt By Association
49. Safetysuit Life Left to Go Someone Like You
48. Oxford Collapse Bits Young Love Delivers
47. Feral Children Second to Last Frontier Baby Joseph Stalin
46. Copeland Beneath Medicine Tree She Changes Your Mind
45. Tickle Me Pink Madeline Typical
44. Cajun Dance Party The Colourful Life No Joanna
43. Innerpartysystem S/T Heart on Fire
42. Hawthorne Heights Fragile Future Rescue Me
41. Rise Against Appeal to Reason Re-Education (Through Labor)
40. Black Kids Partie Traumatic I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
39. Sigur Rós Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust Með suð í eyrum
38. The Cure 4:13 Dream Sleep When I'm Dead
37. Envy & Other Sins We Leave at Dawn Don't Start Fires
36. Los Campesinos! Hold on Now, Youngster You! Me! Dancing!
35. The Plastic Constellations We Appreciate You Perched on a Porch
34. Fairmont Transcendence Melt Your Heart
33. TV on the Radio Dear Science Red Dress
32. Aqualung Words and Music 7 Keys
31. The Envy Corps Dwell Story Problem
30. Fall Out Boy Folie a Deux Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes
29. Ludo You're Awful I Love You Love Me Dead
28. Elliot Minor S/T Jessica
27. Son, Ambulence Someone Else's Déjà Vu Horizons
26. The Presets Apocalypso Talk Like That
25. Anthony Green Avalon She Loves Me So
24. Radiohead In Rainbows Videotape (it did get released Jan 1 2008!)
23. The Ting Tings We Started Nothing Shut Up and Let Me Go
22. Ours Mercy Live Again
21. Snow Patrol A Hundred Million Suns Disaster Button
20. Neil Halstead Oh, Mighty Engine Elevenses
19. The Killers Day & Age Human
18. Jack's Mannequin The Glass Passenger The Resolution
17. Bayside Shudder Moceanu
16. Edison Glass Time is Fiction Our Bodies Sing
15. Pendulum In Silico Granite
14. The Wombats A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation Moving to New York
13. The Futureheads This is Not the World Radio Heart
12. Curbsquirrels We Wish We Knew How to Quit This 8-Bit
11. Travis Ode to J. Smith J. Smith
10. Kerli Love is Dead Creepshow
9. Liam Finn I'll Be Lightning Second Chance
8. Shiny Toy Guns Season of Poison I Owe You a Love Song
7. Bell X1 Flock Flame
6. Coldplay Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends Violet Hill
5. Margot & the Nuclear So and So's Not Animal! Broadripple is Burning
4. Hot Chip Made in the Dark Ready for the Floor
3. Nada Surf Lucky I Like What You Say
2. Dear & the Headlights Drunk Like Bible Times Try
1. MUSE H.A.A.R.P. Hysteria

The only reason I put a live album in the #1 slot is because it's MUSE and they can do no wrong. There is no new material - just recordings from their Wembley Stadium gigs in 2007. So really, you can say DATH is #1 on my list, Nada Surf #2, and so on.

As for live music this year, I didn't get the chance to see much of anything. Of course I saw Editors, Hot Hot Heat and Louis XIV 3 times at the start of the year. Editors were amazing, as always. I tried to catch the Envy Corps in NY, but found out they canceled the rest of their shows to tour in England. I was able to see some new bands because I went without knowing they had canceled. Check out The Myriad if they ever come near you. Same goes for Vedera. The vocalist for Vedera looked like a little pixie... I wanted to hug her.

I finally saw Hot Chip this year, and it was the only show that made me bust out and dance. That rarely happens, but I broke a sweat at that Hotlanta show.

One of my favorite concerts of the year was Dear & the Headlights. They played the Orpheum and I went by myself - but had such a great experience I would drive hours to see them again.

Check out my videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/darkshines8
There are some great full length Nada Surf videos, as well as a few other gems from this year.
Looking forward to a greatly musical 2009!

The Best Year of My Life

I'm watching CNN at the moment as they are re-capping 2008. Every half hour they show another major city celebrating the coming of 2009. The headline reads: Good Riddance 2008! I don't know about you, but I can't relate to all the reporting about 2008 being a terrible year for everyone. I think I may be the only one that considers 2008 the best year of my life!

As promised, here is a list of my favorite memories (both "good" and "bad") of being 28 years old. The mantra for the year has been "I am completely open to what the universe has in store for me." [This was an incredibly fulfilling year, so it's a long list]:

*Spending two days with Editors. Having Ed and Chris suggest I tattoo their faces on my boobs. Talking with Tom for hours about music and the downfall of NME. Turning down the drunken bass player from Louis XIV.

*Getting 18" of snow in one night and then leaving Milwaukee a week later.

*Saying goodbye to the Milwaukee skyline at the lakefront with Jonathan.

*8th row tickets to Matchbox Twenty with Shana (sitting behind the Charlie look-a-like guitar player from Mute Math).

*Staying with Jen in Manchvegas - cheeseballs, Rock of Love, Cracker Barrel, the Crab.

*Locking my keys in the car at the oceanfront and meeting Jon. Getting a personal tour of the oldest settlement in NH.

*Watching LOST with Liz (and kissing the almost life-size cutout of Dom).

*Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.

*Having an awesome first date with Justin - swimming in the Gulf at 3am.

*Nada Surf at the State Theatre with Aimee.

*Finding a ticket on eBay to see Eddie Izzard, and making a friend at the same time.

*Driving around with Amanda, Aimee and Christina to the dog park.

*Male Order Brides show with Aimee - crazy bar fight.

*Green Lake with Addie, Kelsa, Micheal and Melanie.

*Sean giving me his PS2 - and all the subsequent Guitar Hero and Rock Band playing.

*Surprise party for my 9 year anniversary.

*Howl-o-Scream with Corey and Jen. Riding Sheikra.

*Halloween Horror Nights with Christina. Wandering the Streets of Blood (or whatever it was called) and saying "I could stay here all night" as a tall ghoul came straight up to me and stared me down. oooooooh it was the sexiest moment of 2008!!

*Re-discovering my love for baseball... watching the Rays not win the World Series.

*Driving to Atlanta with Christina to see Hot Chip. Lychees. Zombie scabs.

*Seeing Dear & the Headlights at the Orpheum.

*Watching Obama turn Florida blue with all my friends!

*Trip to Seattle to see Sarah. Shopping at Trader Joe's. Watching Twilight. Eating Coldstone Creamery. Paul giving me 30 Days of Night graphic novel. Grabbing boobies.

*New Kids on the Block concert with Christina.

*Melanie giving me Bella and Alice.

Here are some of the more disappointing memories of 2008:

*Breaking a tooth on the way home from Editors in Madison.

*18" of snow in one night.

*Sleeping in my car on Easter in Vermont in 5 degree weather.

*Trying lobster for the first time - gross.

*Boston and the aftermath of Wagamama's.

*Smurfette dying.

*Having my car towed at the Eddie Izzard gig.

*Any time I hung out with Justin after the first date. lol

*Having a tooth pulled (and signing divorce papers) on my trip back to Milwaukee.

*Rays not winning the World Series.

*Twilight movie.

*Not being able to skydive.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends, both old and new, that have made this such a fantastic year. It has been a pleasure getting to know you Jon, Aimee, Christina, Amber, Erin, Barbara, Mike, Brian F, Corey, Lil Jen, Dan, Jamie, Debbie, Jessica, Melanie M, Nick, and everyone else along my travels and since my move to Tampa.


another year

Today I turned 29.
I would have to say that it was the best birthday I can remember having - mostly because I drove around with the windows down and wore a short sleeved t-shirt all day :)

I guess I'll back up a bit. I've been very busy lately, and it's been good. I was working a lot, and more recently making presents for everyone (CDs will be in the mail this week), as well as spending a lot of time with my friends. I was starting to get a bit sad this week because I am away from my family during the holidays - and I was missing James a bit. It's the first birthday I've been single for since 2001.
Fortunately, I have amazing friends (like I've mentioned before) and we had a couple great nights planned. Friday night Christina, Aimee, Amanda and I went to Outback for my traditional birthday meal of steak. The 3 of them were in top form and had me laughing so hard I thought I was going to pee on myself. The waitress brought me the free ice cream and they sang "Happy Birthday" to me. She didn't believe I was 29. She said she thought maybe 19 or 20. Awesome. Apparently I'm the only one that looks younger the older I get.

Last night a bunch of us went to Gameworks in Ybor City to play arcade games. I don't really care for the regular video games - I prefer the old school stuff. I spent nearly 2 hours playing skeeball and pinball. I played a round of DDR with Jen, and a round with Josef. We then went to a place that serves "Alaskan" tacos. An Alaskan taco is a taco that is deep-fried with all the ingredients in it. They had gator tacos, and since this year has been all about trying things I've never tried before, I got a gator taco. Surprisingly, I liked the gator taco better than the beef taco. I couldn't even eat half the beef taco - I gave it to Christina (it wasn't ground beef - it was like a slab of hamburger cooked in a shell). Gross.

Before Gameworks, a boy took me out to my favorite restaurant for Thai food. It was super sweet, and I had a great time. More will be revealed on this subject...

The best gift I got was from Melanie. She bought me 2 baby rats and the cage and all their stuff. I was so excited! Melanie hates rats, but she loves me enough to get me something she can't stand just because they make me happy. awwww!! (check out the ratties on my shoulder in the pic)

What I really wanted, however, was to go skydiving today. I have always wanted to do it, and this is the first time in my life I was in a place where it was possible to do it in the middle of December. I asked everyone I knew in Tampa if they wanted to join me. A few people said they were interested, but not financially able to join me. Amanda was the only person willing (with my persuasion) to jump out of a plane with me. We drove out to Zephyrhills, Sky Dive City at 3pm. There were a few clouds, but consistent loads taking off every 15 minutes. Something held our instructors up, and we sat and waited a very long time to be suited up and strapped into our harnesses. We finally boarded the tiny plane with about 20 other jumpers (you're crammed in side by side, straddling two long padded benches). I was watching the altimeter climb slowly as we rose above the clouds. Looking out the window, I started thinking about the past year. We came through the layer of thick white and the sun was starting to go down, which gave the clouds a very surreal textured glow about them. I started to tear up at the beauty of it, and how it was a complete miracle that I was even sitting on that plane. I looked over at Amanda, who was in such an intense state of shock I'm not sure she even realized she was on a plane anymore. I was so relaxed and peaceful, and couldn't wait to get out and be a part of the clouds when my ears went funny. I looked down at the altimeter and we had just reached 9000' but we were falling. The other jumpers were putting their helmets on and I was totally confused. The guy I was supposed to tandem with leaned forward and said the cloud cover was too thick and the pilot decided to land. I thought he was joking, but then realized the altimeter was falling twice as fast as we climbed. No good. Just under the clouds, at 5000' the licensed jumpers flew out the door one by one. There were 5 trainees, Amanda and I, and the 2 instructors left. They closed the airplane door and buckled themselves back in. We really were landing.
The plane touched down and my physical reaction was immediate. I was going to cry, and it was going to be a thorough cry. The guys were saying that we could wait around for the last 30 minutes of daylight to see if the clouds cleared up, but it was unlikely. I was like "Happy fucking birthday to me," and then started to cry. I couldn't stop myself. I kept trying to breathe it down, and look up - all the tricks I know to keep myself from crying, but I just couldn't hold it back. The one instructor kept trying to give me a hug and tell me that I could just get a rain check and come back any time, but it wasn't helping. He offered to buy me a drink ("it's nothing a few margaritas can't fix" - oh little does he know!)... They called it for sure - weather stopped the last load from taking off. We got unstrapped and out of the ill-fitting jumpsuits and slumped back to the car. As soon as I shut the door I told Amanda I was just going to let it out - since the tears were forcing their way past my eyes like some monster trying to escape its cage. And I did. I couldn't understand why I was so utterly crushed. I mean, it has been a life goal of mine - but I will get another chance. I sent a message to a few friends saying I couldn't stop crying and Christina had a good insight - I had all sorts of pent up anticipation and adrenaline, and my body was just releasing it. So true. When I was done crying, I felt much better. I even laughed my ass off at Amanda and how scared she had been (I have been telling her for 5 days that all she has to do is get on the plane and it will be okay - and she did get on the plane; she just didn't have to jump out of it). Even though I was sad, the thought kept running through my head that "there is always a reason" for things not working out the way I want them to. Who knows what could have happened.

The disappointment gave way to a great meal at Five Guys with Jen, Christina and Amanda - followed by a trip to Cold Stone Creamery. By the way, Christina got me the Vampire Book (a complete encyclopedia of vampire myths and lore!). Amanda and I came home and played with the new babies and Aimee stopped by to drop off her gift to me: a t-shirt with lions on it!

I just started to write my conclusion for this blog with a list of my favorite moments for the year, when I realized I really want to relive and cherish those memories - so I'm postponing the conclusion. I may do the list later tonight; I may post it tomorrow. Either way, I am not quite finished, but not quite ready to finish my 28th year. Until that post...


My Friends Over You

Let me tell you about my friends...

For about a week now I've had a date planned for tonight (12/1). At first I wasn't terribly excited. I don't like to get my hopes up for dates in case they don't turn out well. My friend Jessica was playing excited for me. She kept saying "I have such a good feeling about this!" and I just smiled and said I was glad she did.
Over the last few days I had numerous phone conversations with my date. Needless to say, they were awesome and I found myself becoming more and more thrilled at the planned meeting. We were both building this up to be 3-D awesome.

He was in Milwaukee yesterday and was flying back to Orlando last night. I spoke to him last at about 1pm and he said he would call me later since he was almost to the airport.
He didn't call back but I didn't really think about it until today.
I didn't hear from him all day.
I left work and started my preparations for the date. I had more than a handful of friends now wanting updates and wishing me luck. It seems everyone has taken an interest in my love life here. I guess I'm not the only one wishing for a happy ending after all the heartache of the past few years.

Here's the deal. He was supposed to be in Tampa for work this week. He was driving in with his boss. I knew he was most likely busy with work, but I just wanted to make sure we were still on for dinner so I sent a message asking. It was a while before I heard back and was told about complications with work. My gut already told me the date wasn't going to happen, but I held onto a bit of hope. He called and explained the situation and was trying to get his boss to let him stay another day so he could train people further (aka hang out with Vega). I waited.

I continued to get ready. I have to admit my outfit was fantastic. My hair looked great. My makeup was cooperating. There was no way I was letting this go to waste. So I decided to take a trip to the airport post office to mail some packages and wait for a response.
It came.
He had to go back to Orlando.
I was extremely disappointed. I also understood that he was exhausted from not getting a lot of sleep and having a crazy day at work. But mostly, I had built up all this excitement and expectations had developed; I felt really empty all of a sudden.

Its no secret that I'm totally crazy. My head likes to visit dark places and make up stories all on its own. It's sort of like the movie Amelie. Nino doesn't show up for a meeting Amelie tries to set up (by hiding ripped pictures with a message in the trash) and she imagines that he was kidnapped by bank robbers, shipped off to Istanbul where Afghan raiders try to make him steal Russian warheads but their truck hits a mine in Tajikistan. He survives, but takes to the hills and becomes a Mujaheddin. My insanity isn't quite that extreme, but it took me to a place where he had made up the whole story about work and he hadn't even been in Tampa. I'm guessing its because James used to lie to me about all sorts of things. But still... Ridiculous. I caught myself before giving my imagination free reign and sent out a message to Christina, Aimee, Jen and Jessica. I just said that I was going to Starbucks because the date was off - that if I went home I would just cry myself to sleep (what can I say? I've a knack for being over dramatic).

I got replies immediately. Christina first; Aimee next, reminding me that it wasn't the end of the world and that it would just have to happen another night - but that she understood the disappointment and she was on her way. Jessica just sent a message saying "On my way!" and Jen followed suit. I wandered over to Starbucks and found only one person I knew there. Nicola calmed my crazies while I waited for the others.

They all showed up. I was feeling much better already and my heart warmed at how they came out for me. Jessica had been on a date! Aimee was in bed. None of them said any of that in their replies - they just heard I was upset and came to be with me. That is amazing. That is friendship.
If I had known my friends were so amazing like this, I would have asked for them when I was actually upset - on those nights when I used to cry myself to sleep about James and that whole messed up situation. I had a gold mine of friendship that I hadn't thought to tap into.

We sat and talked about Twilight. We joked about other stupid things. I showed them pictures of the snow that my mom and Liz sent me (apparently it dumped 9" on Waukesha yesterday). Jessica had called Amanda and let her know that I was upset and she showed up as well. I was surrounded by my favorite people in Tampa, and full of love for those fabulous women.
I may not have had a fantastically hot date tonight, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself with my friends.

I want them all to know that I would do the same for any of them; I would drop anything for them. Any time.


Road Tripping in Florida

I promised my dad I would post about my Florida road trip when I got back (the Everglades don't have much as far as wi-fi service goes).

I have this week off, and thought it was time I explored the state I live in a bit. Monday afternoon I packed up Apollo (I changed Charlie's name after I gave him a nice cleansing and tlc) and headed south on 275. I have only been over the Skyway once, and that was at night. It was way more exciting during the day - almost like flying. I don't know why I like bridges so much, and especially the tall ones. It's exciting.

I realized after I crossed the bridge into Bradenton, that I was headed into uncharted Vega territory. I had never been that far south before. Anywhere. Every mile that I drove was the new furthest southern point I had ever been. I can't wait to go to Peru or Brazil so I can cross into the Southern Hemisphere! So anyway, I took my time like I always do - and stopped at an outlet mall to buy a veggie steamer. That's important. lol.
It got dark very quickly - I forget that it's the end of November because it's much warmer than I'm used to. But the sky still gets dark early whether it feels like June or not. I made it to the Everglades but wanted to be able to see them, so I figured I would try to sleep. I was on Hwy 41 and it was DARK. I sat on the hood of my car for a long time watching stars. There are 2 smaller meteor showers going on at the moment. One is almost finished, and the other is peaking tomorrow - so I saw a few shooting stars. It was so nice and peaceful. I'll have to do this more often. Actually, I think I'll go camping soon - camping in December! How awesome.

I woke up with the sun and started my drive through the Everglades. One of the first things I noticed was that there were TONS of birds. It was to the point of almost being Hitchcock creepy. The birds here have fascinated me since I first visited. They look almost prehistoric. Enormous wood storks and pelicans, strange swimming anhingas, herons, eagles, hawks, rails, nighthawks, gulls, sandpipers and cranes, terns and parakeets, cuckoos and kingfishers, grackles, mockingbirds and many many more. I turned just in time to see an entire flock of Roseate Spoonbills fly by. They are large bright pink birds. Its wonderful to see all these flying creatures everywhere. I think South Florida would be a bird watcher's dream.
I got to Shark Valley and paid my National Park fee. Pulling into the parking lot there was a huge gator sitting on the side of the road. That's one thing I don't think I'll ever get used to - alligators. They are so freaking creepy. I rented a bike (next time I'll pay attention to that little intuition that says "bring your bike with you" and avoid the $13 rental fee), and was told that the gators posed no danger unless I tried to feed them, but to still stay 15 feet away. I don't know how they expected that to happen when the bike path was only about 10 feet wide. But anyway...
It was a 15 mile trip to the observation tower and back. The 8 miles back were grueling! There was a super strong head wind and it was a constant struggle to keep peddling. I definitely got my workout for the day. My legs are still sore.There's only so much of the Everglades you can see before it becomes monotonous. I quickly tired of looking at grass and water; I stopped taking pictures of gators and birds. I did see a bald eagle, and a handful of different hawks. It was time to find something to eat, though. I continued towards my destination of the keys and found a Cracker Barrel (you know me and my road trips! gotta have some Cracker Barrel). I ate breakfast and filled my gas tank. By the way, I just had an oil change done and I spent a butt load of money on this special full synthetic oil called Royal Purple - it was worth it, because my gas mileage jumped to between 32 and 42 mpg! YAY for Apollo!

Key Largo was interesting. It's the first of the Keys and there are stupid tourist traps everywhere. Souvenir shops and such were dotted every couple blocks. I paid attention to the gas prices. $2.07 on Key Largo. Not bad. Crossing the first bridge was cool - the water was a beautiful greenish blue. It looked very tropical. But as I drove on, the Keys became grungier and less impressive. The few local gas stations and shops were run down. Gas was climbing into the $2.40's. Then I made it to the 7 Mile Bridge. I have wanted to drive over this forever! 7 miles seems so long, but so short at the same time. At one point I let myself fully realize that I was driving on a strip of concrete in the middle of the ocean - I let it sink in, and it made me feel a bit uncomfortable. The old bridges were on either side of most of the new bridges and it was unnerving to see these things rotting and falling apart. Why don't they take the steal and melt it down to reuse it? Is that possible? It just seems such a waste to have miles of material in old bridges just sitting in the ocean.
I finally made it to Key West and the sun was setting (which gas was now $2.59, btw). I grabbed my atlas to see where I could drive to watch the ocean swallow the sun. I have been waiting to see this since 2001. On the very tip of Key West is a State Park next to the air force base. I made it there, paid my $3.50 and was told I had until the end of sunset. It was absolute perfect timing. I filmed the sunset so that if I ever felt like watching the sea swallow the sun again, I could. You can find it on my YouTube page (youtube.com/darkshines8).
The last week I've been mourning my relationship again. While I was sitting watching the sunset, I had this crazy idea to take off my ring and throw it in with the setting sun. I've been wearing the cheap ring that we bought for James the morning of the wedding - since he got his real ring sized. It's a constant reminder of pain. I wonder why I hang on so tightly. It's so hard to let go of what could have been. I took the ring off and found a small rock that fit the ring like a finger. I couldn't do it, but I'm not putting the ring back on. I made my journey to Key West and left part of my pain in the ocean with the sun.Now that the sun was down, I had just a bit of twilight to drive through the streets of Key West. It sort of reminded me of the little bit of New Orleans that I saw. It was pleasing to see so many people riding bikes and walking. But there was still a shit ton of traffic. Actually, considering the whole trip (even Miami), the worst traffic I hit was on Key West. Weird.
I made it halfway back through the Keys when I decided to stop at a parking area before one of the bridges. I had a major migraine and felt like I was going to barf if I didn't sleep. The stars were even better here in the middle of the ocean (duh). I saw a few more shooting stars and then tried to rest. Fishermen coming and going made me uncomfortable and I finally decided to just keep driving. I had to pee and needed to find an open restroom. I was reading to just pull off the side of the road when I finally found a gas station that was open. I was on Long Key. I drove 40 miles looking for a bathroom. yikes. I figured I would keep driving until I hit Key Largo since I knew there was a visitor center I could park in. It was 2am when I got there, parked, and slept until morning. On to Miami...

I ate breakfast at the same Cracker Barrel, and filled my gas tank at the same gas station as when I left. Unbelievably, I drove to Key West and back on 6 gallons of gas!! 250 miles. Good job, Apollo!
I don't really know what I was planning on doing in Miami. I guess I just needed to see it, since I've never been. What a strange place. At first it really reminded me of LA. I couldn't tell if it was just because of the types of palms and the sprawling strip malls. But then I realized the light was the same as LA. And now I KNOW that strange white light that seems somehow brighter than anywhere else is due to the pollution. You can see the thick clouds of yellow over Miami from the Everglades. It's very sad. So that apocalyptic feel of white light followed me through the Miami area. I drove through South Beach. It seemed like an interesting enough area. I would definitely like to go back and explore when I'm not short on time. It was very surreal to see tall buildings scattered among all this water. And some of the architecture is stunning. Overall, I was fascinated by Miami. I've always had this contempt prior to investigation. But I'm setting that now.

I headed towards the freeway and got onto Alligator Alley (toll road through the Everglades). I was exhausted and feeling very sick. At the first rest stop I pulled in, bought some orange juice for my throat, and decided to nap before continuing on. I needed to make it back to Tampa by 8pm. It was 2pm. I really wasn't sure how long of a drive it was, but I know I needed to take care of myself. I blocked out the windows with my shades and fell asleep. I awoke at 4:15, feeling much better but frantic that I wouldn't make it back in time. I just resigned myself to being late and continued driving at my 70 mph cruise. I didn't hit traffic the whole time. I made it straight to Town and Country to meet up with Jen, Aimee and Nicole like planned.

All said and done, I really enjoyed my Florida tour. I'm resting today, and getting on a flight to Seattle tomorrow morning to visit Sarah! Thanks for reading :)


NKOTB are blogworthy

Has it really been more than a month since I've last posted??
I was apparently quite busy in October.

Anyhow, I just got back from the St Pete Times Forum where New Kids on the Block performed tonight. Yeah. I said it. NKOTB. I'm not ashamed to tell you I had an AMAZING time. Really.
It was pretty unexpected, actually. Christina had a pair of free tickets to the show in one of the private boxes. She asked Erin to go with her. Erin, unfortunately, had food poisoning today. I got to go instead.

As we were driving downtown, I was remembering the first time I saw NKOTB. My mom and aunt took me and 2 of my cousins to see them in 1989. I was 10 years old. We had nosebleed seats at the Bradley Center. I remember most of the show vividly. The crowd did the "wave" before they played. I was fascinated by that. I also couldn't believe that people actually paid to sit not only in the nosebleeds, but in the nosebleeds behind the stage. I have not been to a concert since then that was that completely sold out.
What I remembered most about the show in 1989 was that my ears rang for 2 days. My first bout of tinnitus was not because the music was too loud, but rather because there were 20,000 girls screaming at some deadly decibel. I complained to my mom during the show that I couldn't hear the music because they were all screaming. I really didn't understand why they did that. I mean, I totally thought Joey and Jordan were cute, but that was the extent of it. Why would someone pay money to scream for 2 hours?

Tonight answered my question. I now realize that at 10 years old, I was lacking the hormones that fueled most of those screams. Yeah. There's no shortage of hormones for me now. Actually, I'm pretty sure I discovered a new organ somewhere in my lower abdominal region that is activated by sexy boys dancing onstage. At one point during the show, Christina said her ovaries hurt. I totally understood what she was talking about.

The night started out with me getting goosebumps during the second song. I was a bit ashamed. I kept making faces at Christina and pretended to make fun of the girls around us singing along. Luckily I was able to outgrow my pride and drop the cynicism long enough to let the memories flood back into my mind. One of the many wardrobe changes put them all in 80s gear (complete with Joey's smiley face jacket). They were on a revolving circular stage set in the middle of the crowd on the floor as they played Tonight, Tonight. This was my favorite song from that album. I don't know what happened, but the thought of my two favorite 'kids' singing and dancing coupled with the visual stimulation suddenly overloaded my brain and I started freaking out. And by freaking out, I mean I was jumping up and down squealing like a 15 year old girl, grabbing onto Christina's arm like she was saving me from falling off a cliff... this lasted for about a minute. She was like, "that was super intense! I thought you were going to pass out for a minute!" I had become the girl I had always questioned - always judged. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I freaked out a second time during the night when Jordan Knight got to play his solo single "Give it to You." Holy god I thought I was going to implode. How is it that I actually think that they are still hot when everything they do and sing about - the way they dance and dress - would otherwise make me say "GAY! LAME!"?? Is it just that I have such fond memories of listening to NKOTB tapes? Or do they actually have some sort of special talent or rather power over us women? I looked around the venue at one point to see everyone, and I mean everyone, waving their hands in the air to "Hangin Tough." The crowd was on their feet. Everyone was dancing for Face Time. Even me.


MUSE, Vampires and Apollo

For some reason I have found my thoughts collecting into a blog post. I have been trying to force myself to write my book, with little success. My emotions have been too raw to think about so I have forced myself into reading for distraction, however the distraction has been so damn good that I can think of little else!!

I had heard about this Twilight series a while back, but like everything else, I have to try to be cool and not jump on the band wagon. My curiosity finally got the best of me when it was suggested that I find a non-human distraction. I was sucked in immediately (haha. get it? vampire? sucked?)

What's amazing about these books, is not that they are superbly written or immensely creative - because they are not even very original - but that I am able to channel my emotions through them. Apparently this is a healthy was of dealing with things (as pointed out to my by my amazing sponsor). So I have been letting it all come. It's been a painful trip through the relationship in the books - and when I start to cry, I allow myself the tears. At one point I got so upset that I really had to skip to the end and read the last chapter just to make sure I could make it through the painful 450 pages in between. Don't you wish life was like that? That you could just skip to the end? Reminds me of a Futureheads song...

Today I decided I was going to read the entire second book. But like the first, I had to have the second ready to read immediately. I prepared myself by running out to Sam's Club to get the third book. Only they didn't have it anymore, so I made another trip to Target. That damn store is dangerous to my finances. I came back and got myself situated on the couch. I was only about 85 pages into the 2nd book when I started reading this afternoon. I guess somewhere inside I hope the sooner I go through the books and feel my pain, the sooner I will heal. I'm not quite sure it works that way, but I figured I would give it a go.

Nearly 500 pages is what I've read in the last 12 hours. I think it's a record. I didn't even read Harry Potter straight through like this (although I was purposely savoring the final book - drawing out every line because I didn't want that world to end for me). I read through her acknowledgements at the end of my marathon and was astonished to find a special thank you to the band MUSE. Thinking about it now, though doesn't really surprise me that Stephenie Meyer is a huge MUSE fan. It makes so much sense why I would like her books so much. Apparently she attributes some "emotions, scenes and plot threads" to "their genius." Awesome.

So then I did some thinking. I have always been drawn to vampire stories. I have always been obsessed with vampires, really. I think as far back as I can remember I have been a "vampire goddess" or some form of Gothy vampire for Halloween. Last year I made an exception because I could fit into my renaissance dress again. I wore that costume for Halloween the year it was made for me - 2000. But other than those 2 years, I have been a vampire. While we were at Busch Gardens last night, I realized that I had left my vampire fangs in my wallet. Yeah. That's right. I carry vampire teeth in my wallet at all times. Strange? Definitely. When we dropped Corey off I dug them out to show Jen. She was fascinated that they weren't the normal cheesy vampire teeth - that they were caps that actually looked like fangs. I really need a new pair, but these still do the job. LOL

Then I was thinking again about my obsession with vampires. Trying to pinpoint where it started. I suddenly remembered that my favorite book in 3rd grade was Bunnicula (published in 1979 - my birth year - coincidence??). It was a series about a vampire-bunny that sucked juice out of vegetables. I made my mom order all the books in the series for me through the book club. I haven't pried my memory too much further back yet to see if there's some sort of hidden reasoning for my strange preoccupation. I'll let you know if I come up with anything further, though.

After reading the acknowledgements and the other bands Meyers thanks (Travis, Coldplay, and Brand New among the named), I mentioned to James that it sounded like I needed to be Ms Meyers friend. We must have too much in common. I became more curious and went on an internet search to find out how old she was (she's almost exactly 6 years older than me - our birthdays are 3 days apart). Of course I became distracted by information on the books (and I'm sure I read a couple spoilers but at this point I don't even care anymore). In the small town of Forks, WA where the majority of the story takes place, they celebrate Stephenie Meyer Day - which is September 13th - the birthday of Bella Swan, the main character. September 13th also happens to be my sobriety birthday (yeah, I just had 9 years *grins*). Another strange coincidence?

My digging went a little further and I was reading about a comparison of Edward Cullen to the Greek god Adonis. I remembered that Barbara suggested I re-name my car something positive (rather than after the name of a dead character on LOST). I forgot to mention this... I decided to keep the car previously known as Charlie and in making that decision, I smudged and cleansed the vehicle to rid it of all the negative energy from the last 4 months of bad experiences (and previous who knows how long of terribly ownership). I still hadn't thought of a new name. But as I was reading about Adonis, I thought maybe I could re-name Charlie Adonis - after my new obsession with Edward. Adonis is the god of birth, death and rebirth - but also of vegetation. There were more stories that warned me that this wasn't so fitting a name as I originally thought. So I did a search for other Greek gods and goddesses. I had thought previously about Aphrodite, but she just reminded me of my early rave days. But then I started reading about Apollo. Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun; truth and prophecy; medicine and healing; music, poetry, and the arts. I could not wish for a better symbol. So thank you Stephenie Meyer for inadvertently leading me to a new name for my little Civic!

I hope you have enjoyed my hopeless rambling. I'm going to dream of vampires and MUSE concerts!



Last night I had more fun than I can remember having in a long time. Up until then, I really had no reason to blog because I didn't want to depress you all with my sap (I've been going through a pretty emotional time).

My friend Corey works at Busch Gardens and friday night offered me a ticket to the Howl-O-Scream preview for saturday night. I asked if he could get another ticket so I could bring someone with me. Lil' Jen was the lucky recipient. Corey joked about how we could be the broken hearts club, since Jen just split with her boyfriend and Corey just got his girl stolen. Anyway, we got there and immediately had a good time. Jen was distracted by every shop we walked by because there were these crazy hats. That seemed to amuse Corey - he mentioned that we are probably the only people on the planet that come to a theme park and go directly to the gift shop.

The park was pretty crowded so the lines were long, but because we had the VIP with us, we were able to go through the exit on a couple rides. I have no idea what the ride was called, but it was the most amazing roller coaster I'd been on (granted, I haven't been on a roller coaster in 7 years)... It dropped straight down after hanging you over the edge at a 90 degree angle facing the ground. It was soooooo awesome. Jen and Corey were both scared before going on, and they commented on how I was so relaxed. When we got off the ride I wanted so badly to just jump back in line and do it again! We got to the area where they have your pictures up from the initial drop. I laughed so hard when I saw Jen's face. (She's going to be so mad that I posted this here, but I think it was such a good time it needs to be shared!) We sat and laughed at the screen for 10 minutes, I swear.

We made it to 2 of the 5 haunted houses. I was pretty disappointed, just because I'm used to going to the most terrifying houses in Wisconsin. We used to drive a couple hours to the best rated haunted houses around. So BG + 10,000 people = not so scary. But that's alright. I've got the whole month of October to find a scary haunted house. Not to mention Universal's version of Howl-O-Scream (which I've heard is actually really frightening).

PS If anyone finds a cute vampire boy, send him my way!


Heartache and Other Things

First of all, I'm overwhelmed by the amount of blogging I've let slip by. Don't worry, I've got notes to recapture my trip to Wisconsin, I just haven't quite had the energy to relive it all yet.
That being said, I am blogging at 5am because I don't know what else to do with myself when I wake up in the middle of the night crying. I can't really call anyone right now, and besides, I don't think that would help at the moment anyway.

So have you ever met someone that you just had this instant connection with? Like you just felt as if you knew them? Or you felt extremely comfortable with them? This has happened only twice to me. The first saved my life without ever realizing it. The second has obviously crossed my path to teach me some sort of lesson, of which I've no clue what to do with. Either way, I've been extremely disappointed by both situations in the last month.
While I was back home, I had a number of things to take care of that were less than pleasant. Who actually wants to get together with their ex and fill out divorce paperwork? Not this girl. That whole situation was so uncomfortable I wish I could have avoided it altogether. Divorce fucking sucks. Even if it's for the best. So I wanted to distract myself from that and visit this first good friend of mine. He has always been there for me in the past, and has twice taught me immensely valuable things that have changed my life. Anyway, I had these expectations that things were going to be as they always were. My bad. He is not the same person. He hasn't the capacity to care for others at the moment. His life is consumed by the lifestyle that I left behind nearly 9 years ago. I had no idea it was this bad. I drove 3 hours to see him, only to be told that he was going out to a bar to meet up with a girl. I was crushed. All I wanted was to spend some time with him - so he could make me feel better. That was my first mistake. I cried myself home wondering why it is that I do this to myself. I am constantly trying to relive some moment out of my past that was happy. Are things in my life so fucked that I need to retreat to the past to find glimmers of happiness? Apparently so.
As much as it saddens me that my friend is unable to be there for me (as selfish as that sounds), it also tears me up to see him fall into that mess of alcoholism. All I can do is step back and watch him beat himself into the ground. But what I need to do is let go of the past. Move forward.
This brings me to the second person. He actually said that to me tonight - that everything with James was in the past, I can't change it and I need to move on. I needed to hear that so much. I've been trying to move forward, but I just keep clinging. I think the answer is somewhere in my memories. Like the more I examine every situation in the past 6 years inside my brain, I will eventually come up with a reason for why it all happened. Why I met someone that made me happy, only to not be allowed to be with them (literally - by the government). And after all that bullshit, it all fell apart. I keep running over every aspect in my mind trying to figure out where it went wrong, and how, if at all, I could have done things differently to save it. I should not have left England after we got married. Or, I should have come right back on a different visa. If only we hadn't been separated for 2 years, maybe it would have worked out. blah blah blah. Pointless, because I can't go back and change the past. But I so desperately want to know why I had to go through so much pain for nothing.
One thing I've always told myself is that if something ends, its only because there's something better in store for me. I really can't bring myself to believe it this time. I feel like the only chance I had to be happy with another person has passed, and I failed. So now I'll be alone and unhappy for the rest of my life. Really. I'm sure other people have felt this way. But when you're in it, you know nothing anyone says makes you feel any better.
Getting back to the point at hand... I met this boy just before my trip back home. I felt instantly connected. He made me smile. He made me laugh. He's intelligent and thoughtful. He's super cute. He's also young and unstable. And by unstable, I mean a lot less sober than I am. LOL. That's the only way I can put it nicely. But anyway, I just felt so comfortable around him, and we had this amazing time the day before I left. It was like I had something to look forward to in Florida, which is a good thing because it made the bullshit in Wisconsin much more bearable. But as the weeks went by while I was away, it was becoming clear to me that things weren't as rosy with my new friend as they first appeared to be. And the first thing I wanted to do was grasp hold of these shiny new memories of how happy I was before I left - and try to hang on. I find myself trying to talk myself into believing its all good and this is a perfect situation, but it's not. I have no business infringing upon this person's life at the moment. They have a huge amount of change going on. They are dealing with a lot, and still trying to figure out how to live life without alcohol. But of course, my feelings are already roped in and I want to relive that happy memory over and over because it's all I've got at the moment. A glimpse of happiness. Something to show me that it is possible.
Tonight this person basically broke up with me before we had the chance to be a couple. I give him a huge amount of credit for having the balls to do the right thing where I was too weak to even say "hey, this isn't fair to you." But jesus-fucking-christ I don't understand why every time I think I may get something good in my life, it has to disappear right away. I really had this desire to just give to this person. For the first time I can remember, I truly wanted to be selfless - for someone else's happiness. It was a weird thing to experience. He just made me feel that way. But fucking reality is, neither of us has the capacity to be in a relationship at the moment. He says he knows himself, and he knows he would break my heart. He said he doesn't want to do that to me. Now, I could argue and fight to get what I want, but I know this is true and I really do want the best for this person (wtf?). But it doesn't hurt any less. It's not any less painful. It's still rejection. And I seem to be bombarded with rejection as of late.

So I had a good fucking cry. Actually, I haven't cried that much since the day I found out James was cheating on me. It was me and my car and Aslan - and I opened myself up to the bowels. It just doesn't seem fair. Life. Nothing seems fair. I had someone say to me the other day that it seemed that I got more than my fair share of shit dealt to me - and none of it was manifested by me. She was like "you know, a lot of people cause their own drama, but yours just happens to you and you're doing all the right things to not cause it." (She was referring to my car drama, and my medication - which I will eventually blog about.) Funny thing is, I can't even seem to get myself into situations where I'm causing my own drama. I mean c'mon. I can't even get a fucking rebound relationship going (is it even a rebound if you've been out of a relationship for 9 months?).
So when do I get to be happy? When will I find someone that cares for me the way I care for them? When will things settle down? It seems like I've been trying to better myself and do good for 9 years now, but I haven't quite reaped what I've sowed. I'm hoping that closing those chapters of my life in Milwaukee will bring some of that contentment that I've been looking for, but you never know.
Trudging the road of happy destiny. Fuck. Such a perfect sentence. My feet are sore. My heart aches. But I keep trudging.


Flashback: Car Troubles

Since I've got a bit of free time, I thought I would blog some previous happenings from when I was a bit too busy to post.

First off: Charlie. Everyone here in Milwaukee has been commenting - "oh Charlie, you're a nice car, I don't know why she doesn't like you" - well here's the thing... I bought the car with the assumption that I would have the plates and title in a couple weeks (like you tend to assume when you buy a car off a lot). First to go wrong was that I got towed (which you already heard about, including the spitting gypsy session). I couldn't get my car back right away because I didn't have the title.
Then I got pulled over because the registration was about to expire. The cops wanted to make sure that it wasn't stolen. Fair enough.
The weekend that Nick and Jason visited was the last straw, though. I got pulled over on the way to get new tires (yeah, Charlie had dry-rotted tires that had to be filled daily). The cop threatened to have me arrested and my car impounded because I was technically driving an illegal vehicle. I explained to him the situation and that I was waiting on the people that sold me the car to get me the title and send the registration in. I had called numerous times to get a new temp plate. So I end up with a $95 ticket and a new urgency to get the car situated.
I got the tires ($400 later), and the news that two of the studs were broken and they couldn't put the tires back on without them. Well, since I had been driving on the broken studs since getting the car, I figured another couple days wouldn't hurt. In the meantime, I was able to catch a glimpse of the undercarriage of my newly purchased vehicle. It's rusted to shit. I was sold a car that's already half fallen apart. The muffler is rusted straight through (which makes it sound like a race car - which Aimee likes), the rotors and calipers are rusted as well as the front end suspension. It's a mess. Then I got a real look at the rust in the body. Charlie was recently painted. The rust was not taken care of properly. The guy that was doing the tires started shaking his head at what a bad deal I got. On top of all that, I have still not managed to average more than 25 mpg on a CIVIC! It should at least get 30. There is seriously something wrong.

So anyway, to sum things up: I still haven't got the title to my car or my plates. I've had the car for almost 4 months. Apparently there is a lien on the title in New York. Either way, I have to have it taken care of by the 27th or they can put me in jail - for something that's completely out of my control! WTF.
It was my cousin's brother-in-law that sold me the car. I'm really disappointed in the whole situation and especially in getting a hold of anyone since. I mean, I don't feel I'm in the wrong by persistently contacting him to get it taken care of when I could go to jail at at moment. Fuck.
So keep your fingers crossed for my trip back to Florida next week. I don't want to end up a jailbird!


My Teeth Suck

Just before I left for Wisconsin, I noticed that I had a sore bump developing on the gum surrounding one of my failed root canals. I had lost the crown a couple years ago, and haven't been able to come up with the money to replace it. The tooth itself felt a little funny. I mean, I didn't actually feel anything in the tooth because there are no nerves, but my gums felts different. On the road trip, the bump quickly formed into an abscess. I got to Wisconsin and had a scolding from Shana and my mom about taking care of it (because the infection can spread to your brain and kill you). After freaking out for a bit, I went to the Walgreens on Brady because it now has a walk-in clinic. They gave me antibiotics and told me to get it taken care of immediately.
I don't have insurance. I don't have a dentist, and my family doctor quit about 6 months ago. I became quite worried about how I was going to fix this. I called a couple people that know good dentists or work for them. Within an hour Elise called me back to tell me that her dentist offered to pull the tooth for no charge. Done.
Now here's where I start to really feel shitty. All my life I've had horrible teeth. I brush them way more than most people I know. I carry floss and toothpicks around with me. I'm the dork that goes to the bathroom to floss my teeth after I finish a meal at a restaurant. Then why, dear god, does my mouth look like that of a 65 year old?? One dentist told me that it was because my saliva doesn't produce the antibodies that naturally fight the bacteria in our mouths. Hmm. This sounds like genetics to me. Five minutes later he told me I wouldn't have such bad teeth if I came to the dentist more often. Sorry if I missed 2 years of cleanings because I had no insurance and made minimum freaking wage!
So I've had a great deal of shame surrounding my teeth. I've been shamed by professionals. Shamed by friends and family (this might be in my head). One of my greatest fears has been losing a tooth. This would prove to everyone that I was in fact a failure - I failed to be able to take care of my mouth. I can just see my last dentist rubbing it in my face "I told you so! If you didn't get that crown replaced you would lose the tooth." How awful.
Anyway, I went to Elise's dentist today and he said I had the option of having a re-treatment done on the root canal but that would run me about $1000, or he would extract it right there for free. I weighed the options. I don't even have $1000 left on my credit card. Extraction it is. After taking what seemed like forever to get my mouth numb, he began digging. I'm not going to go into detail, but I can tell you it was the most traumatic mouth experience I've ever had. I once woke up in the middle of having my wisdom teeth surgically removed - the dentist was standing with a leg up on the chair and crunching bits of teeth out of my mouth. It was only a second that I was aware, and then went back under. This was like that, only it lasted a full five minutes. The tooth didn't want to come out.
When the ordeal was over, he said that I had made a good decision. The tooth had been cracked vertically down the root. This was the reason it was so difficult to extract the tooth. He said no amount of money could have saved it. No re-treatment would have made the tooth better. I saved myself $1000 by having it pulled. I now need to formulate a plan to save up a ton of money to have either an implant or bridge. grrrrr
Unfortunately, as I sit here I have to keep taking breaks to cry. The anesthetic is wearing off and I'm in a buttload of pain. He had prescribed me viccodin and ibuprofen 800, but I didn't fill the viccodin. I've never used narcotics for pain reasons, and I don't want to start now. However, I know why they prescribe them! All I can think of is how I want the pain to stop. It's like tooth pain - and when a tooth hurts so badly all you want is for it to be out of your mouth. Well, it's out of my mouth and now painful (I had no pain before pulling it)... I hope this doesn't last long. At least for the time being I've got Sean's PS2 and Guitar Hero to keep me occupied while resting.


Driving is Fun

The second half of my trip took a ridiculous amount of time for some reason. I arrived in Milwaukee at 9:30 last night. I had been driving since 7:30am EST. 15 hours is a long drive. That is definitely a personal record for me.

Anyway, it's a good thing I spotted that lucky mullet yesterday morning. I think he put me in a fantabulous mood to begin the day (not to mention the beautiful weather, and equally beautiful drive through the mountains). I was truckin' along in Tennessee just the other side of the mountains when I came over a hill and saw a state trooper. There were two of us driving exactly the same speed. We both pulled into the slower lane behind a semi and I watched the squad in my rear view mirror pull out onto the freeway. The semi was going 60, so I decided to move around him, knowing full well that this would make me the one to get stopped. Sure enough, he flipped on his cherries as soon as I was in the left lane.

I pulled to the side of the road, grabbed my license and insurance card, and the little piece of paper that says I've applied for my plates (since I STILL don't have the title to my car or registration). He walked up to my window and stated point blank that I was going 82 in a 70. I handed him my stuff and he looked confused at the lack of registration. I told him the person that sold me the car hadn't cleared up the title yet and I was waiting on it. He then assumed the temp tag was the other person's, and I said no it was mine. He then looked at my license and asked if I still lived at the address in Tampa. I said, yes, I just moved there. He then asked me where I was headed - and I said I was going back home to Wisconsin to get the rest of my stuff from home. He glanced into the back of my car and asked if I was picking up a trailer, to which I replied no. He chuckled and asked why I was bringing so much back with me, and I told him I was going for 3 weeks. He laughed again and said he didn't think I could fit anything in there to bring back with me. I told him I was coming to get my bass and bass amp, and my pet rats - all things that I couldn't fly back with me. He nodded and said he would be right back.

I thought for sure I was going to have to pay bail immediately and I was wondering how much was available on my credit card as I slathered sunscreen on my shoulders to keep from toasting in the sun. He returned fairly quickly and handed my stuff back to me, along with a small piece of paper that he explained as a warning ticket. He then told me that everyone he pulls over, he walks his dog round to check for 4 substances and said this was my one and only chance to admit to anything before he did so. I said to go ahead and then watched this adorable black lab sniff around my car. He came around the driver's side and just said "have a nice trip back" as he headed back to his squad. HOW CRAZY IS THAT???

I've NEVER got out of a ticket that I completely deserved. He didn't even give me the "slow down" speech that most cops hand out along with their fines. I just couldn't believe it. So thank you, random Tennessee state patrolman for being ultra human and letting me off (even though I didn't do anything to deserve such a break). For the record, I did slow down until I got to Chicago. Then I drove like everyone else.

I was on the phone with Amy when I crossed into Wisconsin. It was a weird feeling. Driving through Chicago was a weird feeling too. Driving in general from Florida to Wisconsin makes me realize how far I actually live from everyone here. Seriously. So I called my brother when I got close to Milwaukee to find out where he was at so I could pick up his gas mask (hey - I really want to play Guitar Hero and go to the Milwaukee Group, but the smoke is just too much for me!). He told me to meet him at my grandparent's new place. So I went to The Regency on College Ave to see where my grandparent's now reside with other seniors. The apartment is huge, and very clean. My grandpa joked about how he was the oldest person living in the complex since the 92 year old woman died a couple weeks ago. I reminded him that even a couple weeks ago he was the oldest person there, because he's 94. Silly head.

My brother and aunt both said I looked tan as soon as I saw them. I still don't think so. I have a base tan. That's about it. But I don't look like a Florida beach bunny or anything. At least not yet. Give me this weekend and I will - camping at Green Lake.

Troy of course forgot the gas mask, so I had to stop by his house next. That was really bizarre. He recently purchased my grandparent's house (I know, my LITTLE BROTHER owns a freaking house). It's a complete mess in there. He's got such a HUGE project on his hands. I keep telling him to talk to Katherine or David or Debbie since they have all flipped houses (and with a relatively small budget) but he said "I want it done right" - that stubborn little shit. He doesn't believe you can do things right for cheap. I offered. Oh well.

Apparently there were all sorts of needles and shit all over the house from when my cousin lived with them. He said he found Pat's rig and Lynn found a stash of his heroin. There were blood and puke stains on the floor and walls. When he washed the walls in the back bedroom, the water came out black. That house needs to be gutted and rebuilt. The floors need to be retiled and carpeted. The woodwork is destroyed. The window frames are all rotted. It's a nightmare. But knowing my crazy brother, he will obsess and run himself completely ragged until it's finished and exactly the way he likes it. So if anyone in the Milwaukee area has some free time and wants to lend a hand, get a hold of me and I'll give you Troy's number! LOL

That's about all for now. I am getting ready to see my babies and give James his belated birthday present. I can't wait to cuddle with Poopy and Gir! :)


God Bless the South

I'm back on the road. I'm currently stealing some internet service from a Holiday Inn Express somewhere in Tennessee. I'm such a geek - I've got my laptop plugged into my lighter with my car running because otherwise my computer would be dead - but this is just too good to wait to post!

So I tried to sleep in Charlie last night (the new car). It was miserable!! Stupid Civic. Man I miss Smurfette. If only I had the freaking title to this car I would be driving my dad's Escort back to Florida. But no. No title. Still. It's been 3 months. Seriously.

Anyway, so I woke up at 7ish after a brief nap and surveyed my surroundings. One of the first things I saw (I shit you not) was almost like a caricature of a stereotypical southern redneck. This trucker, and he was the epitome of truckers, had the sweetest mullet ever - a gray shirt with an American flag screen printed on the front and the arms cut off (you know the kind: where the arm holes are way too big because you know the shirt wasn't meant to be a tank). Not only that, but he had CUT OFF JEAN SHORTS that were just a little too short. To top it all off, the guy was sporting a handlebar mustache. I seriously was laughing hysterically in my car. This guy parked a couple spots down from me was watching me and scratching his head. I nearly peed myself laughing. It was the BEST thing to wake up to - a full bellied hearty laugh.

It's beautiful right now. I was cold last night. I haven't felt 70 in over 3 months. It's probably around 75 right now and it feels amazing! I'm so surprised at how quickly I got used to the Florida heat, and started to think that 83 felt comfortable. Oh well.
The drive through the mountain pass was awesome. Charlie does handle the climb better than Smurfette did. That still doesn't make me proud of him. He's totally like that unwanted step-brother. Something I didn't ask for, but I got anyway - and have to try to love. BOOO!!!

Okay, I have to get back on the road if I want to make it to Wisconsin tonight still. I won't be updating until I get there - just so I focus on driving. :)

PS People in the south need to go back to school and learn grammar ("A Antique Mall")


I Tried to Do the Right Thing

Today I put in my written letter of resignation at Vinyl Fever. I have been offered more freelance work, and I'm not about to turn down that kind of money.
Plus, I am REALLY sick of working retail. I'm tired of working hard and stressing myself out needlessly for a job that I will go nowhere in. It was great that things worked out so perfectly when I arrived here, but I think I was given the exact same situation as I had in Milwaukee to solidify my feelings toward retail work. I needed reminding that there's something better out there for me. I didn't go to college to work for a little bit above minimum wage. I may not know what I want to be doing with my life, but I am aware that this is NOT where I'd like to stay.
Anyway, I have been talking with various people about the situation over the past few days (weeks?) and was given the suggestion to write a kind letter and setting a firm date for my last shift. I did so.
I thanked my boss for the job opportunity. I extended my gratitude for how he willingly tried to work with my schedule. I apologized for my indecisive behavior and admitted that it was an inconvenience and trouble to him. I offered to continue lending my web mastering services to him. I put this all down on paper, handwritten for sincerity, and left the envelope on his desk when I get to work.
I then began the waiting game. I was fending off anxiety because I didn't know what his reaction would be. There was nothing. He came out of the office to do a buyback and didn't say a word to me. This made me nervous. I thought of how uncomfortable it would be to spend two weeks at a job where your boss goes out of his way to ignore. eek.
When it was time for my lunch break, I headed to the back room and was cornered by my boss. He asked to speak to me. The second we got into the back, he said "you know, I think it would be best if we just ended this now. I'd like your keys back." My jaw must have dropped. He then asked for the things I was selling on eBay. We had an arrangement that I would get a turntable if I sold a few items for him. I already had them listed, so he asked if I could take the auctions down and just bring the stuff in. He then said he would keep me on the clock until I got back with the items and the turntable. DAMN!
There was no fucking around! I went home to collect the things, as well as the DVDs I had borrowed from the used section, and headed back to Vinyl Fever. Jesse came to let me in the back door and asked me what happened. I told him that I was let go after handing in my two weeks notice; that Lee just wanted me to leave. He said it was odd that I walked out of the store without saying anything, and then Lee asked him to stay until 8.
So that was that. I tried to do the right thing by actually giving notice, and making sure I was kind and as helpful as one can be in leaving a place of employment, but got fired anyway. I don't even know if that means I was fired?? I mean, I did hand in my notice - so that means I quit, right? I don't understand how that works. Whatever. I don't work there anymore. And I'm totally okay with that.

As far as other things go, it's a good thing he sent me home right away, because I found out Green Lake Round Up is actually the 15th-17th. I had thought it was the 22nd-24th. So I would have shown up there a week late with none of my friends. Now I can actually make it. I will be leaving for Wisconsin next week some time. This will be my first adventure with Charlie. I need to get the studs fixed before I go (oh yeah, you guys don't know the Charlie troubles yet because I haven't blogged them. Don't worry, you will)...
I'm thinking of driving a bit west first, just so I can go to Louisiana and mark off the last of the continental US states on my list. We shall see.


For My Dad (and D&M)

My dad commented on my last blog that I have been sporadic in my postings since starting my job. True. I really do have a list in my notebook of blog topics that I have to write if I ever have the time. I should be getting to bed right now, but I thought I would try to give the guys at D&M something to read first. Don't worry, I have taken more freelance work over the next few months so I can step away from the record store. I really want to get out of retail. I'm so tired of it! The freelance work pays enough that I will only have to work (x) amount of days a month - which leaves the rest of the time to focus on my writing (since I've got all my material in a box for my book - but no words on paper).

Anyhow... I have always been curious about the armadillo. Yes, I said armadillo. I've never seen one before. I had always assumed I would have seen one on my travels, but that's not the case. Anyway, I was driving back from Orlando a couple weeks ago and I was on the phone with Shana. Out of nowhere, an armadillo crawled onto the road. I shouted "ARMADILLO!!!" in the middle of my sentence. I looked into the rear view mirror to verify it was the strange armored creature, and just as I was telling Shana I had never seen an armadillo before, the car behind me ran it over! So the poor little thing was roadkill. I've never been so excited and so disappointed in the same breath before. Oh well. Hopefully I'll see more of them in this bizarre state. I'm still waiting on seeing a live gator. I've been told that's not something I should hope to see, though. Meh.

On a lighter note, there is apparently something called an 'armadildo.' I would post a picture, but I'll save the fun for your imagination. Until next time...


NYC, Philly & LA

Hey guys. My friend James (Nipples to those of you that know him) is living in Amsterdam at the moment and is absolutely obsessed with Nike's. there is a particular shoe that is being launched in August that he is trying to get his hands on. They are only releasing them at 3 stores, in 3 separate cities. The info is below. If you think you can help him out, please email me. I'm sure he'll compensate you for your trouble. Thanks alot!!

As some of you might have heard already, the next chapter of the Nike 1World project will be launched very soon. After previously working with Busy P from Edbanger Records, Kaws and others, ?uestlove (Questlove) from The Roots is the next to collaborate on an Air Force 1.

The Air Questo out of this collaboration will first be released at the Alife Rivington Club on August 1st. Not only will the show be released, but Questlove will be there in person and will be performing.

Alife Rivington Club
158 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002

On the 5th there will be a launch event at Ubiq in Philapelphia, again with Questlove performance.

UBIQ Walnut Street
1509 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Last but not least, the West Coast will also get a release of the Air Questo on the 6th of August. The Montalban in Hollywood will be hosting it, again with Questlove in attendance.

1615 Vine St.

Hollywood, CA 90028


Broken Phone

My phone broke today. I didn't drop it. I didn't get it wet. It wasn't too hot or too cold. It just stopped working. The unfortunate thing about this phone is that the only way I could use personalized ringtones was if I kept the numbers on the phone instead of the sim card. So I have lost everyone's numbers with the demise of this crap phone.

PLEASE text me with who you are so I can save your number to my sim card (which is in my old broken phone that still is able to make calls)... or email me with it. Either way, I need your number. Sucky.


Radio Ga Ga

I know it's been too long since I've written. Trust me, I've been busy!
I have a stack of ideas for little blogs, but haven't had the time to actually write them.

I just got an email from my friend Jacek. The local volunteer radio station here has a Monday slot open (1am-4am yikes!) - WMNF is very similar to WMSE. I haven't actually listened to it at all because Charlie (my new car) doesn't have a radio antenna. However, I've heard Jacek's polka show is a hit!

This is the content of the email he sent me:
"WMNF has a programing opening for Monday night/Tuesday morning 1-4 am starting in August. This is an open format meaning any format or non-format will be considered, including proposals that push or experiment with the use of the radio medium. Applicant should have some experience preferably with WMNF. Demo show necessary if I am not familiar with your programing.

"These are difficult hours for most people so do not apply if you cannot deal with being up in the middle of the night. Good things about the time are that the format is wide open: it's a three hour show (the longest show on WMNF) ; no expectations for newscasts or other distruptions; there are small fundraising expectations. It's an opportunity to create the show you envision without a lot of pressure.

"If you wish to apply, convince me with why you are the best person to do it, what would you do, who would listen. Written statement of interest required. Deadline: 5pm Monday 7/28/08."
Check out WMNF's website HERE

So, good readers, I ask you - do you have any format suggestions??
Of course I want to play buzzworthy bands and new indie rock (mostly from the UK). But 3 hours is a long time. What would you fill the airwaves with? Let me know!