Posted in Fun, Music, Rambling, Surprises

What the what?

*If you know who H and C are, you’re in good shape to read the rest of this. If you do not know who they are, imagine a hippy Grizzly Adams for H, and a spry, talkative tween boy (who hates the term tween) for C.


Whew, okay. So now that things have settled down, here’s the other details of our mighty adventure. So, the place itself, the people within the event, and the scenery are mind-blowing for this one-level Ohioan (pavement). The camping on-site actually started a week before we even got there. We took our camping gear and lots of other stuff, but we did not take perishable food. Why? Because we knew there were going to be Food Trucks and because we didn’t know if the place had accoutrements for camp fires. Answer: nada for camp fires. BUMMER!

We put up the tent, got our stuff in it from the car, and I went to a gas station to get a pack of water bottles while H and C trekked the hill to the nearest tower of outlets to blow up the mattress. The first gas station didn’t have jack so I went to the next one, the later offending Exxon. I got the water and some cash from their ATM.

Glory be, what happened to me? The freakin’ electronic window, driver side, would NOT go back up. Crap.

I got back and we explored. We discovered that the trek up to the festivities from our tent was going to be mighty. We got a heck of a workout while we were there. H and C played with banjos, fiddles, and more. We finally found a friend who was camped out clear on the other side of the woods. I cheesed out early on both nights, but H and C stayed out late on the first night jammin’ with the enthusiasts.

On the second day, we checked out more instrument vendors and food trucks. All three of us went to the gas station to pick up a few things, snacks and H for the ATM to get a really freakin‘ cool 12-string mandolin that he later gave to a beaming and overjoyed C.

I have to admit right here, I had a bad feeling about going into the gas station before I went in on the second day.

Right after H got cash out of the ATM, we were standing in front of the refrigerators in the gas station and couldn’t decide what to get. I checked my own cash flow after H asked if I was good for the rest of the weekend. I concluded I was fine on funds. Hunger was getting the better of us so we finally decided on a couple of things each. After I put my wallet back in my bag I got the royal stink-eye from the female shop attendant. I thought she was giving us the evil eye because we must have been lingering too long.

So, H and C go up to the register first, then me. The female shop attendant, a woman in her early to mid-60s said for me to put what was in my bag on the counter too. “Excuse me”?

“I saw you put lunch meat in your bag.”

“Pardon me?”

“You put it in your bag and then you turned around and smiled at me.”

“I smiled because I was acknowledging your presence.”

After my face went blood red and eerily, angrily expressionless (according to H and C – this is a phenomenon I’ll have to explore), I took out of the whole contents of my bag. Nada. Nothin’.

Before I got the last of it out of my bag, the man whom I had seen the day before and had carried the pack of water to my car immediately went to the ice cream refrigerator, offered his sincerest apologies and fudge bars, “since we were wrong”.

Like really, do you want to associate yourself with the accuser here? Did you know she was going to accuse me? Were you accusing me?

She began apologizing, but really back-handedly, “You never can be too sure this time of year” (referring to the festival).

H was incredibly upset and ret’ ta go, C was stunned. I refused the “extras” and said, “No, we’ll take what is on the counter, and pay for it.” So, she rang it up, I paid, we left, and OOPS. H left his sunglasses on the ATM machine. So, he had to go back in and get ’em.

Then, we got hit by a really amazing thunderstorm that shook our sturdy tent and empathetically distracted me from my severe irritation. The fresh mist continued until the next day and we finally packed up and hit the road – open driver side window on I-77N at 70 mph and all.

Lessons learned:

1. Don’t let a fickle window stop ya, but get it fixed when you get home whether it rolled up again or not.
2. Take up a string instrument so you don’t feel like the only person not playing next year.
3. Shop at grocery stores in the backwoods of W. Virginia, not gas stations. Thems some weird, leery folks. They think cash looks like lunch meat.

Posted in Everyday Life, Music

Anti-Theme Songs…

This is the evil twin post of Theme Songsthat I had posted a li’l while ago. The idea behind this one is the fact that I couldn’t listen to certain songs after a break up. I can’t listen to some genres of music after certain events. LOL. Just the style gets under my skin.

Back in 2006, I dated a guy to whom I had attached “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison. I couldn’t listen to it on my own for about a year or so (but I love it again). The guy was a wonderful, but per usual, and as I had expected to happen, my family took certain events out of context, made mountains out of literally nothing, and he flew the coup. Thankfully, my relationship with my wonderful Hojo is fully my own and not influenced in the least by anyone else. What a freakin’ breath of fresh air!

After a relationship/friendship faded out in 2007, I couldn’t listen to Blue October’s “Hate Me”. It was an interesting time that made me realize that I was attributing too much of my happiness on the confirmation of received love. He and I had felt an extreme need to rescue each other of our dysfunctional loneliness. If I am loved, yipee and hooray! But if I am not, dang it, it’s time to move on.

I can’t listen to Jazz music (particularly 103.5 FM) after family reunions or any other event that involves listening to jazz music in the car. It’s like sensory overload in the process of wherever we’re going to and coming back. As soon as I’m in my car, I hook up my iPod and avoid jazz at all costs. No matter who performed it. It’ll usually take me about a week to recover. It used to take me longer. I’ve never said anything because well, I don’t think it’s appropriate to question the taste of those who are older than me who happen to be family members.

However, on the way to the latest reunion, I was pleasantly surprised with XM/Sirius Satellite radio in the rental car (a Toyota Camry). Thank the Lord and hallelujah! I got to exhibit some of my own taste with the company of my uncle and grandmother. What’s funny though, I adore big band and old standards and we listened to it quite a bit after I fiddled with the dial. That is the influence of both my sets of grandparents. My uncle tuned into some oldies stations which totally rocked (Classic Vinyl, I think it was).

So what music makes your skin crawl/do you avoid? Is there a particular song or artist? Or even a specific genre?

Posted in Music, Rambling

Theme Songs…

I think everyone has a theme song for the day, overall, or an ongoing soundtrack. It happens whether you know it or not. A friend, Michelle Brooks, had posted a status:

“wants to know; if your life had a sound track, what song would have been playing so far today?”

My response was, at that moment:

“‘Drive’ by Incubus. Yup, most definitely. It plays on my iPod just when I think I’m on the verge of a breakdown. Every time.”

It seems life gives us songs that are meant to lift us up, help us empathize or sympathize, lament with us, or make a party just that much better.

Today, my songs had to have been:

“Good Mornin'” (1952) music by Nacio Herb Brown; lyrics by Arthur Freed; featured on “Singin’ In the Rain with Gene Kelly (as Don Lockwood), Debbie Reynolds (as Kathy Selden),  Donald O’Connor (as Cosmo Brown) and Jean Hagen (as Linda Lamont, screech!) – because I couldn’t sleep until the wee hours of the morning. It was horribly stinkin’ hot in the house and we hadn’t turned on the AC yet evening though it was excruciatingly hot with high humidity (just like it was all day).

“Working for the Weekend” (1981) by Loverboy on their 2nd album, Get Lucky. I went to work today for a couple of hours. I think of this song too when I get a call from my dad because he’s always… workin’ for the weekend.

“Too Darn Hot” (1948) by Cole Porter, sung by Ella Fitzgerald, the lady with perfect pitch. I found my CD of Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter classics just before my family reunion earlier this month. I was so stoked. This song is completely appropriate for this weird, sweltering hot weather that wouldn’t be so bad if I had a pool in the back yard. I was supposed to go with some friends of mine to Dawes Arboretum today… but I bailed out because of a major lack of moo-lah and… well, I was about to just jump back in the shower and crank the cold water.

“Drive” by Incubus. It hit the top of the modern rock back charts by March 3, 2001 (jeez, that was a minute ago). The lyrics hit home whenever I feel a li’l beyond stressed out. I found out that I had missed my student loan payment due date. 😦 EEEEK! Given that I’d only gotten perhaps 3 or 4 hours of sleep the night previously, my hairpins were making their way out of my hair claw.

“I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” by Bon Jovi, 4th single off the 1992 album, Keep The Faith. Let’s just say, I was feeling a little dead for at least 2 1/2 hours.

“Fast Car” (1988) by Tracy Chapman. My family has been dealing with an interesting things. My family is finally coming to an agreement that things need to get taken care of, regarding my grandmother. She’s a tad older, and could really use the unconditional care of her family these days. She’s a freakin’ spitfire, but things take this spunky “should be in her 50s for how lively she is” woman for a loop once in a while. That song however, evolves into, “Young At Heart” (1953) music by Johnny Richards, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. She’s always been young, laughed young, loved young.

“Two Pina Coladas” (1998) released by Garth Brooks on his album Sevens. I broke out the ice shaver tonight.

So… I shall leave ya’ll with that. What have your theme songs been today?

*Most information was found on Wikipedia.

Posted in Music, Surprises

Chris Brown Tribute to Michael Jackson… I cried.

Yeah. I did. I admit it. I had a heck of a hard time holding back the tears.

CB has somethin’ goin’ on there with the dancing. He does. I won’t deny that, but…

…Charlton Banks (Alfonso Ribeiro) STARTED IT!

Posted in Health, Music, School

My Opinion of Chris Brown

Chris Brown apparently performed astoundingly for the BET Awards. Someone said that he’s Michael Jackson reincarnated. Somehow people have forgotten about the Rihanna situation or they’ve dismissed it as though Mr. Brown has paid his dues. Someone said, “throw no more shade”. I’m not hatin’. I’m just saying that I will NEVER put my money toward his music.

I’m not, nor can I, be like everyone else and forget that he pummelled Rihanna’s face. That changes a person, permanently. Mr. Brown is getting on with his career. Rihanna is well, but it was her face, her pain, and her make-up that hid the bruises and scars. Now, Mr. Brown has supposedly redeemed himself because he can moonwalk.

I participated in a program called Expect Respect. The program is geared toward high school students. Via Power Point, we describe healthy and unhealthy relationships as well as the three types of abuse: physical, sexual, and emotional. Just as I was presenting the program on my own for the first time, the reports about Chris Brown and Rihanna were going out over the airwaves. In fact, I had just listened to the radio on the way to one of the schools with news reports going crazy.

The students in the class had heard all about the incident. Their reactions were: “No way, I’d never let that happen to me.” “I’d dump his @$$.” “He’s a jerk.” So on, and so forth. Unfortunately, statistics are not in many of those guys’ and girls’ favor.

Many of them will put up with the unhealthy relationships that Expect Respect, other programs, and people have warned them about. Several young men and women will end up being victims and abusers. Hopefully though, they will be more apt to remove themselves from unhealthy relationships. And hopefully those who are or will be abusers will recognize the danger of their actions and seek help.

So no. I will not forget the photographs of the injured Rihanna. I will not praise Chris Brown for his “talent”. I have not purchased anything of Chris Brown’s, nor will I ever.

Posted in Music, Rambling

Get ’em Before They Get You

The news is a harsh medium for media. Any kind of news, the tabloids, magazines, television, internet, etc. Social networking sites are equally as harsh.

Recently, Jennifer Knapp, a Christian musician who took a 7 year hiatus, came out of the closet. Kudos to her for admitting that she can’t stand dating the opposite sex. I have done a lot of reading, a lot of listening, and a bit of research, and I don’t think that deciding that one is gay/lesbian/bisexual/transsexual/transgendered, or straight for that matter, is something that anyone who “comes out,”  or doesn’t, takes lightly. At all. Especially someone who is in the public spotlight. I mean really, Ricky Martin decided not to say one way or the other until recently too.

The cultural norm is to be ‘straight’. Simple enough, guys like girls, girls like guys. But what if…? What if that just isn’t you? What is one to do? Live in denial until your deathbed? “To thine own self be true.” Right?… Or have I missed something?

The context of Ms. Knapp’s music could have very well had extremely different meaning for her as opposed to everyone else. Music, not just generic little jingles, is very subjective. Temptation could very well have been to deny a very real part of her being. Denial is just as addictive as anything else.

I would imagine it’s very freeing to express that one loves in a way that not everyone will understand. It’s a very serious realization, just like deciding to become a follower of God/Jesus/Holy Spirit. Not just the 6-year-old getting baptized, but the teenager or the adult who comes to a fantastic realization that he or she cannot live without and wishes to make a full-of-love display of faith.

There’s only so much you can tell a person who has lived with a straight sexual preference for years. Especially a person who has, in his or her late 20s or later, decided that, for whatever very personal reason, the opposite sex just does not float their boat. What is that person supposed to do? Remain in a self-contained bubble, only to hopefully receive the affections of family members? Family is great and all, but c’mon.

It isn’t Ms. Knapp’s decision to get the media before the media gets her that bugs me. It’s not even Ms. Knapp. It’s fellow Christians. There’s been controversy over whether or not God can change someone who is LGBT to being straight. If you think so, and if you think that God will change Ms. Knapp, the most you can do is pray for her. I’m not saying if this is right or wrong. However, slamming someone for being true to themselves, I don’t see how that’s going to edify someone, especially if they still identify themselves as a believer. She made a decision about whom she feels affection for. She hasn’t announced that she has an infectious disease, is dying, or deliberately ran over someone with her car.

I dunno if this will end up offending anyone, which is part of why I am not linking this to Twitter or Facebook where I’d read “let down” comments. But, I just found it a little disheartening that some people feel so let down by Ms. Knapp’s decision. She’s not turned in her Christian badge. I just don’t think that her coming out should be regarded as the equivalent of a little kid getting caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar. Nor is it to be equated with an addiction/temptation.

Posted in Everyday Life, Family, Music

Rockin’ Sydney & Krackaw’s Shoes

Ooooo wow! A friend has found some significance with this song and posted it regarding a friend of his, performed by a different artist, John Fogerty. But for me, “My Toot Toot” by Rockin’ Sydney (1985) strikes a highly sensitive chord. I would have been 2 years old when this show was shot.

I was thrilled to find the video on YouTube about three years ago, give or take. I had never seen the song performed. I showed it to my mom and grandmother. They were in tears.

My grandparents have had a stereo system in the living room for years. My grandpa, “Krackaw”, as we called him (coined by cousin Jennifer), would have me stand on his shoes, maybe from the time this was recorded, and he would dance around with me to this song. Those memories are positively the best and earliest ones I have of him.

Gran Torino came out not terribly long ago. Clint Eastwood’s character is a crotchety old man who doesn’t necessarily hate his Chinese neighbors but finds them to be nuisances. Especially since they were – well, various epitaphs that I’ll not repeat – and he was a Korean War Veteran. My grandpa was one to throw out li’l zingers, most funny, some not. Throughout the movie, (spoiler) Eastwood’s character opens up to his neighbors, and I could see such moving similarities between Eastwood’s character *seriously verklempt here* and my grandpa. My Aunt Lynne, the eldest sibling/daughter even said that she could see Krackaw pulling a stunt like he did at the end – don’t worry, no ending spoiler.

Let’s just say, I couldn’t watch the movie the last time Hojo put it in the DVD player.

R.I.P. – Paul Eugene Lieber, November 28, 2001