Sunday, December 31, 2006


This year I will ring in the New Year by attending a funeral. I got word this morning that the director from the preschool I used to teach at was killed in a car accident on Friday evening. While Cynthia and I were not what I would call close friends, I am forever indebted to her for her kindness and generosity. In a time that I would call the darkest for my family, one filled with the stress of my husband's unemployment for seven months and the grief of watching my mom decline in health as she struggled with cancer, Cynthia was not just my boss. She went out of her way to support our family. She approached the board of the preschool to have Bink's tuition completely waived while my husband was unemployed. She gave me preference for picking up extra hours, as she knew we needed it. Most importantly, she was always there with a word of encouragement, a hug and a smile. She was a very warm hearted person. Cynthia leaves behind three beautiful girls in their late teens and early twenties and her husband.

So, as a new year begins, I am reminded yet again of the things that are truly important. We hear over and over again to not take life for granted and to enjoy each moment of our lives and those we love. We all go through moments when life can be less than enjoyable, when the world seems like it has been turned on its ear. Existence is frequently harsh and filled with pain. It is, however, in these moments that we learn what we are made of. There were times when I thought I would crumble into a million pieces and be blown away by the breeze, when I could barely stand under all of it, but this is when I learned that I was much stronger than I thought I could ever be. This is when I learned to lean on those who loved me, that it's OK to ask when you need help. This is when I learned that the most important aspect of life is the friends and family you travel with through life. Not that I took them for granted before, but it gave me a whole new appreciation for them. Cynthia was one of those people. May she rest in peace and may her family find comfort from loved ones as they go through this difficult time.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Digging Deep

In an effort to bring you more variety in the new year (well, almost new year), I dug into the depths of my record collection to find this gem. I actually had forgotten about its existence. Who couldn't love a French 80's group? OK, don't answer that. Rita Mitsuoko were doing the new wave thing French-style. So, for your visual and auditory pleasure, or not............

Monday, December 25, 2006

Bye-Bye PC.....Hello Mac Book......Thank You, Santa!

Apparently Santa heard me threatening to throw my PC out of the window. He brought me a shiny new Mac Book. It was a total surprise, and a great one at that. With school being the main reason I use a computer, my frustrations with my PC were increasing by the day. I cursed it often and not so secretly wished for a hammer to smash it into little bits. So, ding dong, my PC's dead. Thank you, Santa!

Happy Festivus one and all. Hope Santa was good to each and every one of you. Hope to see some of you GEWS this Friday!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Progressive Rock Hangover

Long ago and not so far away, progressive rock ruled the radio waves. Overblown and full of itself, it eventually became extinct like the dinosaurs. As I was driving the kids to school this morning, however, a howl from the past came through my speakers and reminded me that sometimes there were some redeemable moments from that era.

One of my good friends and my then boyfriend were in a band in high school that wished they were Emerson, Lake and Palmer. One of the songs that she loved the most was "I Believe in Father Christmas." Maybe it's the memory of that time in my life, or maybe it's actually the song, but this song is part of my mortal fabric. I felt some sort of old sense of Christmas swell inside of me, much like a bombastic ELP song, as I listened to it this morning. So, hallelujah, noel, be it heaven or hell, the Christmas we get we deserve. Have an existential Christmas.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bing 'n Bowie

There aren't many more unlikely combinations of characters, but they did a lovely job with Lulu's favorite Christmas song. For a Bowie nutjob like me, it doesn't get much better than this.

I've finally finished the Christmas tree and will polish off the rest of the shopping tomorrow in a frantic flurry of economy stimulating spending. Bink is counting down the days to wrapping paper ripping euphoria. I am counting down the days to a blissful week off of work. We have no exotic plans and I am happy about that.

I was reminded this week by two tragic events that life is precious. Not that I had forgotten, but it made me hug my kids a little tighter. For them, this is still a magic season. I wish for them and for all of us, peace and happiness.

Sunday, December 17, 2006



Can't get enough of these guys right now. Now that I've come up for air, I have time to catch up on some of what I've been missing lately. TV on the Radio definitely fills my requirement for good buzz. One week of school vacation down and three to go. Oh, and I got another A. Pass the Christmas Ale.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Friends Call Me Heatmiser...

Echo, I am in 100% agreement with the Year Without a Santa Claus pick. Of all those old Rankin/Bass puppet clay movie things, that one is a standout. I dig that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy did such a nice job covering this. Personally, I have felt like the Heatmiser the last couple of days as I have "taken ill" with the flu. At least I made it to El Vez. Anyone can ask Lulu, I could not stop laughing when the big blow up Santa and Snowman came out. It was like some sort of freakish silly mosh pit. I really want to make people mosh with Santa and Frosty before they enter my house. Now that would be fun.

We finally have our tree, although it was a somewhat pathetic trip as Sweetness had a fever and I had to run out of the store to get fresh air before I hurled. Not very ho-ho-hoey. The tree made it home and we managed to get it in the stand and then I collapsed into bed. I'm feeling much better today, so I think Christmas is officially underway again. This is one weird Christmas so far.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Yes, Lulu, there is a Santa Claus

Finally! Actual El Vez footage! I am so very excited. I am one annotated bibliography and homework assignment away from Christmas break. I actually got to press the "print" button for the paper yesterday evening.

As we get older, the holidays aren't always what we wish they would be. Life is messy and busy. The best we can do is find the moments of joy when we can. Merry Mex-mas, everybody!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sucked Dry, But Hopeful

Yeah, school is sucking me dry. Kicking my ass around the block several times until I beg for mercy and then it bodyslams me and walks away laughing.'s over for a month on December 8. I'd forgotten what the feeling of semester break anticipation felt like. It's a big fat oaf of a party buddy, goading you on to put down your books and come to a kegger. I'm trying really hard right now to not listen to him and to just finish my work when I really want to run like hell and drink from the keg tap.

Even better than school being over, and the ultimate and perfect school's out/Christmas celebration is that El Vez is doing his Merry Mexmas show the day after I finish. I am giddy with excitement because El Vez's shows are always the most fun, positive experiences you could ever dream of having. What's better than an Elvis impersonator? El Vez! So, I just have to hang in there for two more weeks and then my Christmas can begin.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Grant Miller, you really put the gun to my head. All this time I've been lurking in the shadows with no clue as to my real identity. Well, here I am in all my furry glory. I'm a rockin' kitty with attitude and a totally awesome band. Check us out.

WTF, Lulu! (Super Secret Song From the Confessional)

So, I'm outting Lulu. Educator by day, freak by night. How do you find the time?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Two Years

Two years ago today I rushed to my parents' house knowing full well what was happening. Mom was in pain that they could no longer control and not breathing well. I arrived at their home to find an ambulance already in the driveway. I remember parking in the neighbor's driveway and running into their home to find my mom unable to speak and my dad and aunt in calm but nervous voices telling me that they couldn't take care of her pain anymore and that she had to go to the hospital. She'd been home under hospice care for the past few weeks with all of us taking turns caring for her.

I remember driving behind the ambulance with my dad in the car and letting him out at the ER entrance so he could be with her while I parked. I remember calling my husband and asking him to pray that my mom be released from her pain. I remember all of us trying to frantically find my brother to tell him to come immediately. I remember knowing in a most searing and painful way exactly what was happening.

At my mom's bedside in the emergency room were my dad, myself, my Aunt Carol (my dad's sister), finally my brother, and the minister who my parents were good friends with. My brother nearly collapsed when he came in. I've never in my life seen a grown man cry like he did that day, without any regard for who saw or heard his pain. I remember just holding her hand and stroking her head as they began a morphine drip that slowed her breathing until it stopped. I remember feeling relieved when she finally passed away after so much time spent suffering through her illness. I remember grey skies much like today.

The rest of the next few weeks were just a blur for me. A wake and funeral followed by joyless holidays, making the best of it all for my kids. What I didn't know then was how much I would miss her every single day. At first it just felt like a void, almost unreal. I had dreams where she was very much alive almost every night. Those dreams eventually ended and the reality set in.

My mother, you see, was the most loving and luminous person I have ever known. She was smart, fairminded, generous, and caring. Our family is not the same without her. I have tried to fill some of the emptiness that exists in our family, but I pale in comparison to her. I feel all of my rough edges when I compare myself to her. I feel my selfishness. My mom wasn't perfect, but she was one of those people that you couldn't say many bad things about.

So two years later, I am looking at myself and feeling sorry for myself and feeling angry. Angry is one of the things I do best. It's not always an external anger, but the kind that roils below the surface. I know in my mind that I am more fortunate than many to have had her as long as we did. I hate that I lost something so precious. I hate that it still hurts like it does. I hate that it has changed me. I hate that autumn is now one big season of bad memories. I hate that I feel like I'm sleepwalking through my life. I hate the hole that I can't seem to fill.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


OK, I'm a little slow on the uptake, as this was released last spring, but I have to say, "Holy Crap!" If you thought that Mission of Burma doing the reunited thing was lame, think again. This chunk of music is nothing short of spectacular and every bit as relevant as anything they put out the first time around. I now completely regret not seeking them out when they played the Pitchfork Festival this past summer. Oh, the concerts of regret. Three guesses what will be spinning in my car for the next few days. Well, I have to take a break from Naked Raygun every once in awhile.

O, Christmas Ale (sung to the tune of O, Christmas Tree)

O, Christmas Ale
O, Christmas Ale
O, how I love your bubbles

O, Christmas Ale
O, Christmas Ale
You take away my troubles

You are so dark
I can't see through
You are a perfect

O, Christmas Ale
O, Christmas Ale
O, how I love your bubbles

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Songs From the Confessional Vol. VII

NO DOUBT-Excuse Me Mr.

Perhaps we have forgotten that our shame can be outted. To play fair, I'll out myself first, 'cuz this is a doubleheader today ladies and gentlemen. The only thing I'll say in my defense is that there still aren't a whole lot of chicks out there. None on stage at Riot Fest to be exact. I've gone so far as to see them an arena. Anyone who knows me, knows what that means. Hey, I had 90 minutes of sweaty bouncy fun. Nuff said.


Welcome to the club, Johnny! Enjoy your 15 minutes. No one ever said they had to be good minutes, did they?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Shake a Tail Feather, Baby!

I just turned in the final draft of my first big paper. Time for tunes!
1.Out of Step-Minor Threat
2.The Mule-Naked Raygun
3.What Are You Waiting For?-Gwen Stefani
4.Turning Inside Out-The Methadones
5.Slender Fungus-Tones on Tail
6.Dethbed-Alkaline Trio
7.Hella Good-No Doubt
8.Yesterday Never Tomorrows-The Stills
9.Seen Your Video-The Replacements
10.Helicopter-Bloc Party

For any of you looking for non-stop fun, I suggest trying out The Methadones. You can find them on eMusic. I recommend "Not Economically Viable." Have a groovy weekend.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Whoa Hey.........uh oh (Part Two-Not Just Boy's Fun)

So the second coming of Naked Raygun was at Riot Fest. I had really wanted to go to this fest in past years, but had no takers. This year there was no denying the attractiveness of the event with Naked Raygun headlining. Riot Mike who runs this fest always manages to come up with a great bill of bands, local, national and international . And I loves me some hardcore!

The show was already running late when we got there at 3, so we actually got to see a couple songs from Secret Agent Bill, who are a really quirky, funky and fun local band. Saw a few ska bands, all good fun. We were with Sweetness (my 12 year old daughter) who was not quite ready to explore the mayhem from any further than her seat. I had a really hard time staying seated for many of the acts. Had she not been with us, I would have run into the middle of the pack and bounced along with them for most of the show. But, I was there and happy just to see the spectacle and to know that the scene was very much still alive and in many ways, still as positive as it used to be. I was called an "old fucker" about three or four times over the course of the weekend, but meant in a very positive way. I kind of liked it.

The sets that I absolutely adored were 7 Seconds, The Blue Meanies, and Flatfoot 56. 7 Seconds were as tight as when I saw them years ago in a much smaller hall in South Carolina. Kevin Seconds is a very polarizing person in the hardcore scene. While many like him, there are some who find his brand of straight-edge hardcore irritating. I'm not one of those. The scene in Columbia, SC was also straight-edge in large part because of Bedlam Hour, the local heroes that were on the 7 Seconds label. Kevin made one of the best comments of the night. He gave a shout out to all the girls that support the scene, noting that while we were the minority, we were important and appreciated. They then ripped into "Not Just Boy's Fun." Lulu mistakenly thought this was about something else, as she had stepped out for a moment. It was good for a laugh.

Flatfoot 56 won the prize of the night for most unusual instrument, as they are permanently accompanied by a bagpipe player. That guy seriously rocked a kilt and a tam! This band also won the prize for best encouragement of crowd participation. Up until that point, everyone was bobbing around in an unorganized manner. Flatfoot 56 managed to part the crowd and have everyone run head on into the opposite side creating what looked like a scene from Braveheart. I also enjoyed the snarling blue collar punk of The Business. They were the real deal.

Right before Naked Raygun came on, also reunionized Blue Meanies took the stage. I lived in California for the entire decade of the 90's, so I had never seen them live. I know they had quite a rabid local following and I found out why. A little ska, a little jazz, a little Chicago-style punk and a whole lot of drama. They were handily the most polished act of the night, choreographed and tight. I loved the freak show spectacle that they were and Sweetness loved them the best of all the bands. If there was such a thing as roccoco punk, this would be it.

Finally, it was time for the swan song of Naked Raygun. I was on the edge of my seat. I was worried for Jeff. Would he have any voice at all? Would the crowd care? And then the mixed bag of joy and sadness started welling up in my heart again. Shows gone by played fast forward in my mind's eye as the stage was readied. Finally, the moment I had waited for all day was there. They began with "Home of the Brave." Something sounded wrong and about six bars into the song, Jeff stopped the band. Roadies swarmed the stage and mucked around with Bill's guitar and Jeff began ranting about his stupid cordless mic and the crappy stand it came with. If you've ever seen them live, Jeff uses the cord and stand as props while he sings, wrapping the cord around his wrist and pulling it taut across the back of his neck. He uses the stand like a staff and often lowers the whole contraption out over the crowd so everyone can sing along. To me, this is what a Naked Raygun show is about, the sing along. Hundreds of devoted happy fans singing ALL of the words to every song so loudly that half the time you can't hear Jeff.

When they finally got it all together again, the ripped right back into "Home of the Brave." This is when I realized that his voice was just as thin as it was the night before. He made it through the first four or five songs in decent voice and then it really started to fail. Jeff apologized, but then said, "Hey this is punk rock. It's good enough." The crowd cheered them on and gratefully, the sound at The Congress was much better than at The Subterranean the night before. Where his voice lacked, the band and the crowd made up for it. Jeff took several long breaks along the way to give his voice a chance to recover a bit before the next tune. He is a chatty ridiculously dead pan funny guy. The ultimate wise ass. On one of the breaks, Jeff called out the "spawn of Raygun" and all the band members' kids came out to toss out the free shit that they always give away. They finished up their set with the crowd singing a majority of the songs with feet flying through the air as crowd surfing was in full swing.

As for why Jeff's voice was blown out? The weekend before he had toured with his current band, The Bomb. While Naked Raygun may have rode off into the sunset, we still have time to have our socks rocked off by a Chicago legend. "I said, I got new dreams. I got new dreams and I'm gonna make them real."

THE BOMB-Rat Patrol (Live at The Madhatter in Covington, KY)
Gotta love it! Whoa Hey Ho!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Whoa Hey.........uh oh (Part One)

The chapter of my life that was Naked Raygun is now closed. They performed their last show ever at the 2006 Riot Fest. Riot Fest is a full day punk rock extravaganza that is held here in Chicago every year at the ornate but decaying Congress Theater. I got to hear some bands that I've never even heard of , some that I had, and of course, old favorites like 7 Seconds and Naked Raygun. I came away with some new favorites and some hope for the future as I sadly watched the swan song of Naked Raygun.

On Saturday night at the Pre-Riot Fest Bash, we had the pleasure of seeing Four Star Alarm, The Bomb (Jeff Pezzati's new band), The Briefs, and Naked Raygun. Four Star Alarm delivered a great set, a little emo, a little old school, entirely fabulous. Then, murmurs developed. Where was Jeff? No one had seen Jeff. I wasn't worried, because this is his usual behavior. He gets everyone worried and agitated and then shows up at the last minute. Finally, the crowd parted like the Red Sea and Jeff was escorted through and stepped on stage for his first set of the night with The Bomb. I saw a look of disappointment on Jeff Dean's face (the guitarist) and wondered what it was about. Then we all found out. Jeff's voice was thin and barely held out for his set with The Bomb. I was concerned. I quickly realized that everyone there was very forgiving and even though it wasn't perfect it was good enough and it didn't stop them from having fun. The sound isn't the greatest at Subterranean either, but when is it ever perfect?

After The Bomb, the next band up was The Briefs. While I've heard their music before, this is a band that definitely is all about the live show. Dressed in 1979 punk rock garb, looking like The Sex Pistols on acid, they ripped their way through an amazing balls to the wall snarling set with a very tongue in cheek sassy attitude. Great fun. The crowd then bristled with anticipation for the headliner of the night, Naked Raygun. They took the stage with their usual opener "The Strip." The sound was muddy in the room, and Jeff's voice was clearly on its way out. The crowd didn't seem to care and made up for Jeff's waning vocal abilities by singing along to every single song, just like they always do. That's the thing about Naked Raygun fans, they are a dedicated tribe. If their leader was failing, they picked up the slack. Were they perfect? Nope. Did everyone have a fabulous time? Absolutely.

I ask you, do these people seem disappointed?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thank You, Lulu!

Now I have a new word to yell at the drivers who piss me off and don't obey the rules of the road. Hey, I think this word may also be appropriate when discussing school administrators. Cool!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, everybody! Now go scare somebody!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Black on Black

So it's time for the Friday Shuffle, then I'll tell you what I really think!
1.Go!-Tones on Tail
2.Jetstream-New Order
3.Birds Fly-Icicle Works
4.Lust For Life-Iggy Pop
5.Walk, Idiot, Walk-The Hives
6.Whenever You're On My Mind-Marshall Crenshaw
7.Romeo and Juliet-Dire Straits
8.Interstate Love Song-Stone Temple Pilots
9.Heart of Glass-Blondie
10.Bohemian Like You-The Dandy Warhols

While I love my iPod, it is cute and small and black and great to take on walks and to the gym and I can plug it in in my car, I love vinyl more than anything. I have never sold any of my albums. I still have really embarassing stuff from when I was in fifth grade.

I love everything about vinyl. The smell of the album as you pull it from its sleeve. The static spark that flies as you clean it. The sound of the needle dropping into the groove. The crackle and hiss in the moments of silence. The feel of the edge of the record as I cued it up on the turntable. But most of all, I miss the rich, full sound that is lacking in digital media. Vinyl is a riot to my senses.

The artwork for albums is a whole subject unto itself. It was bad enough when the artwork was shrunk to CD size, but now I am expected to go without it completely when I buy mp3's. I can remember laying for hours on the couch in my living room looking at the covers of albums, flipping through the pages in a gatefold, reading the lyrics in print big enough to see with the naked eye. The artwork always seemed to convey something important about the band. You could see who they were, or at least some sort of representation of who they were. I felt like I could connect with the band. Now they are faceless entities. I really don't like it.

So, call me a dinosaur. I'm sure this is how every generation feels as they see things that they were fond of in their youth slip into the history books. As for me, I'm saving my vinyl and will always have a working turntable. And my most prized possession in this collection? My autographed copy of 'All Rise' by Naked Raygun, signed in a parking lot in Greenville, South Carolina after doing an interview with crickets chirping in the background. Did you think I'd let you go a day without mentioning them?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

5 Things You Don't Know About Me

Well, these are five things that most of you don't know about me. Lulu probably knows them all. Something everyone should know about me is that I am rarely secretive. I've got nothing to hide and hiding stuff takes too much energy.

1. I saw a dead man on the sidewalk in front of the bus station on my first visit to Detroit. Word to the wise, stay away from the bus station in Detroit.
2. I always smoked before I went on the air at the college radio station. I liked what it did to my voice.
3. I hate that I never learned to play an instrument. My mother was right.
4. Nothing has felt the same since I lost my mom two years ago. I know I'm an adult, but it seriously screwed me up.
5. I now fill this void with loud music and my children. I will be deaf soon and my children will one day run screaming.

More Fun Than A Barrel Of Borscht

I can't believe my good fortune. I thought I was just getting tickets to go see The Bomb and Four Star Alarm, but my all-time favorite Ukrainian band, Holyy Lazarski Nahane is playing on their Pillage the Village tour! I hear we all get free goats. Cool.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Newflash!!! Naked Raygun! Small Venue!

For anyone interested, Naked Raygun is one of the mystery acts at the Subterranean on Saturday, November 4th. Go to the Subterranean site for tickets. Thought you all might like to know.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Things I Do Instead of Studying (Weekend Shuffle)

I know, I know. It's not Friday. Sorry, I was still licking my wounds then. Here's my shuffle set.

1. It's My Life-Talk Talk
2. Horror Beach-The Horrorpops
3. Senses Working Overtime-XTC
4. Free Nation-Naked Raygun
5. Birthday-Sugar Cubes
6. Oi To The World-No Doubt
7. Desperate, But Not Serious-Adam and the Ants
8. Bitchin' Camaro-The Dead Milkmen
9. Nobody's Hero-Stiff Little Fingers
10. Lavender-The Go-Betweens

Yup, sounds like my brain.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Free Shit!!!!


At one point the crowd screamed for "Free Shit." Naked Raygun is known for tossing all sorts of goodies with their logo on it. Jeff's response was, "The show's the free shit!" Just had to let you all see the fabulousness that was the Cobra show. Uh, I still hurt. Damn, that was fun!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Raygun...Naked Raygun

Naked Raygun Live at the Cobra Lounge, October 19, 2006

Oh You Pretty Pretty Boys.....

Last night was possibly one of the best nights of my life. In preparation for their upcoming reunion appearance at Riot Fest, Naked Raygun played to an invitation only crowd at the Cobra Lounge. I was there. They started with "The Strip" and ended with "Managua" with every favorite of mine in between. It is all a fabulous sweaty blur in my mind. I spent the entire show in the confines of the very friendly middle aged mosh pit, jumping up and down, bouncing off of other bodies, singing along at the top of my lungs. I felt like I was 19 again.....until this morning, ouch.

Every once in awhile in your life, fabulous things happen. While last night was unbelievably cool, Naked Raygun's existence has buoyed me through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Full of optimism, criticism, heartbreak, and unbridled zest for life, their music has been part of the soundtrack to my life. I think of all of the shows I have seen with many friends over the years, from Sons and Daughters Hall in Grand Rapids to Metro in Chicago. I think of how many miles I have driven listening to them and singing along. Just yesterday I got some weird looks as I pumped my fist in the air as I sat at a stoplight listening to "The Mule." In addition to all of this, Jeff Pezzati has been one of the most intelligent and gracious musicians I have ever known. I've known him since my college radio days.

So last night was undeniably cool, but it also was undeniably precious to me. Unforgettable in the very best way.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Shout Out to My GR Home Girl

There used to be days when there was nothing better than a pack of Camel Lights and a trip to the mall with my college girlfriends. Wired on strong coffee and ciggies, we rolled with the windows down singing ABBA at the top of our lungs. We were wild chicks!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Does Anyone Remember This Song?

THE TOADIES-Possum Kingdom

I had to Google the lyrics to find the band name and the song, but I remember the song very well. Reminds me of driving to grad school ages ago during my first go-round with higher education. The Toadies? Either I have amnesia or I just never knew who they were.

Lest We Forget

It is still October and it is still Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of my friends is struggling with this disease right now and she is actively involved with Young Survival Coalition. They actively promote education programs for younger women under 40. This is a portion of the population that runs high risk of going undetected because most have never had a mammogram. Once again, get those yearly exams.

We Share DNA

While I realized that today was Friday the 13th, I did not realize that it had any particular significance since I really do not believe in luck. Apparently I did not get the memo that Sweetness received. She bounded out of bed with unusual enthusiasm this morning blathering something about it being dress-up day. She decided it was a good enough excuse to dress as wacky as possible. Her Friday the 13th celebratory outfit consisted of (Lulu and CP will know exactly what I am talking about) my old "waif/Laura Ingalls" plaid dress, argyle tights with a patterned purple sock on just one leg, a very graphic intensive hoodie and turquoise Chucks. As she came bounding down the stairs to go to middle school, she raised her arms and declared, "Let the teasing begin!" I have *no idea* how she turned out this way........

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fulfilling my Blogligation

1) Would you bungee jump? I am deathly afraid of heights, so I am inclined to say no, but I wouldn't rule it out.

2) If you could do anything in the world for a living what would it be? I would start my own record label.

3) Your favorite fictional animal? Heffalumps and Woozzles.

4) One person who never fails to make you laugh? That'd be Lulu.

5) When you were 12 years old what did you want to be when you grew up? A veterinarian. Then I figured out how hard it was to get into vet school and I dropped it like a hot potato.

6) What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? I almost never hit the snooze button. I'm such a light sleeper that once I'm up, I'm up.

7) Have you ever gone to therapy? Are you kidding me? I should be in therapy right now.

8) If you could have one super power what would it be? The power to allow people to actually see things through someone else's eyes.

9) Your favorite cartoon character? The Tick!

10) Do you go to church? Not as often as I'd like to.

11) What is your best childhood memory? Laying out on the raft in the middle of the lake we used to acation at listening to the water and the loons.

12) Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual? I had a small wedding and am not a big fan of weddings in general.

13) Do you own a gun? A squirt gun. I use it on the cat when he is being overly frisky.

14) Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? Yes. I was drunk and REALLY angry and it was a long time ago. Thanks for bringing up bad memories.

15) Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? My parents forced me to be in the children's choir at church and I hated it. I quit as soon as they would let me. We did have a couple of very large performances.

16) What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Snarkiness. I'm not sure how to quantify that.

17) What is your biggest mistake? Honestly, I'm doing this for fun. This is not a fun question and I'm refusing to answer.

18) Say something totally random about yourself. I have to wear pajama pants, specifically, I hate having my knees rub against each other. I'm not sure why. I just do. I wish I could play guitar.

19) Has anyone ever said that you looked like a celebrity? People used to say I looked like Terri Garr when I was in my early 20's, but no one says that anymore.

20) What is the most romantic thing someone of the opposite sex has done for you? On Mother's Day this year, my husband brought me breakfast in bed and had made little heart pancakes.

21) Do you actually read these when other people fill them out? I usually do.

Test This, Baby!


My head hurts and I have insomnia. I haven't had more than four hours of sleep a night for over a week now. I'm blaming my Psychological Tests and Measurements course. It is full of numbers and statistics and psycho-lingo. Makes me want to scream and possibly run over my textbook with the car. Fortunately, this particular torture will be over on December 8th. I'm counting.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Time For a Victory Lap

Thanks to all who donated and all who *gave of themselves* during this year's Boobiethon. The figures are in and they raised $9,260.50. That is an amazing amount of money that went directly to breast cancer funds. Stay tuned for this week's spotlight fund. Really, thank you all.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Aural Gratification

Lulu asked me yesterday if I had been obsessively thinking about this since I got tagged, but oddly, I really hadn't put that much thought into it yet. Now that I have a moment to come up for air, I'll try to crystallize my musical inclinations.

1. Music That Has Changed Your Life
In high school when I discovered WXRT and MV3 a whole new world opened up to me. One that included the Psychedelic Furs, Adam Ant, The Clash and so many more. I was never a mainstream kind of girl, so when I discovered that there was more out there than Journey and REO Speedwagon I immediately got on that ride. In college I would have to say that the first time I heard Bauhaus my freshman year, I was never the same again. I realized that music could take you to places you never dreamed of. I'll never forget sitting in my room listening to that tape of Bauhaus my friend Dwayne gave me. I felt like I was exploring a new planet. From that point on music began to define who I was. Additionally, I would have to include Naked Raygun. I adored them and loved being a part of the local scene.

2. A. An Album That Has Stayed With You For More Than Ten Years (In a Good Way)
There is a lot of stuff that has stuck around. Here are a few of my all-time favorites:
David Bowie-Hunky Dory
Love and Rockets-Express
Naked Raygun-Throb Throb

B. Music You're Supposed To Like, But Are Embarassed To Say You Never Really Did
I can tell you that it took me years to warm up to the whole alternative country thing. It was virtually blasphemous at the time I worked at the radio station in college. Everyone was soooo into it. Ask Lulu, for many years I preferred buzz saw guitar versus jangly guitar. It just made my head feel better. Now, I am a lot more diversified in my musical taste. I still am not a huge fan of anything that sounds a little too country. Makes my skin crawl.

3. Music That Makes You Laugh
I cannot listen to The Smiths without laughing at some point. Does it count if the video makes you laugh, because OK Go had the funniest video I've ever seen.

4. Music That Makes You Cry
What A Wonderful World-Joey Ramone version
Keep Me In Your Heart For Awhile-Warren Zevon

5. Music You Wish You Had Written
Almost anything by Wilco. I am consistently stunned and in awe. However, I think if I actually could play and write, my music would come out sounding more like Matthew Sweet.

6. Music You Wish Had Never Been Written
Good Lord, I hate John Fogarty. Fingernails on a chalk board. I couldn't even tell you if his songs were good or not, I HATE his voice.

7. Current Music You Like
Bloc Party, The Bomb, The Methadones, The New Pornographers

8. Music You've Been Meaning To Hear
I don't have a copy of The Methadones new CD yet. It's all covers and is called 21st Century Power Pop Riot.

That's about it, kiddies. Time for me to go destroy another decibel of my hearing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Anger Management

Looks sort of pretty, kind of interesting. This is a breast cancer cell. Thinking about it makes me so angry I want to break things. This is my nemesis.

Our family moved back to the Chicago area almost six years ago. About three months after we got here, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn't worried too much at first. I was educated. I knew my mom had been religious about her mammograms, so they got it in time, right? Wrong.

What many people do not know is that the hormone replacement therapy that doctors like to prescribe to menopausal women make mammograms cloudy and nearly impossible to read. Additionally, they make the breast tissue dense, so that even physical exams are not reliable. After my mom suggested that her doctor take her off the hormones, the next mammogram was clear and finally revealed the tumor. 10 centimeters. How the f%#@ do you miss that? I still am amazed.

She had a masectomy, which revealed that almost all of her lymph nodes contained cancer. This is bad. This means it has already started traveling around your body. Three rounds of chemo, metastasis to her bones, and metastasis to her liver were the things we all lived with and that my mom so bravely fought through for four years. She never complained, not once. She said, "The doctors tell me I've got a 30% chance of living. Well, I'm 100% alive." She is easily the strongest person I know.

All of this to say, there is more research to be done. There is more education to be done. There are people with no insurance who need treatment and early detection. I am angry because the system failed my mother and the research couldn't happen fast enough. I know a lot of people complain about the commercial "pinkness" of breast cancer awareness. Personally, I think the ribbons should be black, but I am on board to let people know that there is so much more that needs to be done. As I write this a good friend is battling for her life. There are lots of issues that need attention. This one has mine.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

You Get What You Give

NEW RADICALS-Get What You Give

If you haven't taken the time to donate to a breast cancer cause yet, this is your chance. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This week's special is Boobiethon. Every week this month I will post another donation opportunity. I've got the dreamer's disease.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Boobs Rock!

Less than two years ago I lost my mom to breast cancer. It sounds like such an innocuous disease. Let me tell you, it is ugly. No cancer is pretty, because the way that it eventually kills you is by spreading and destroying one or more of your vital organs. If breast cancer stayed in your breast, it wouldn't kill you, but that isn't what it does.

So, thanks for the heads up from Lulu. I have sent in this picture to Boobiethon (you can see it in their gallery for free!) as well as a bare breasted version in hopes of raising much needed funding for research. It scares me to know that I am in danger and it scares me worse to know that my daughter is in danger. Flash your boobs for research ladies. Guys and gals, put your money where your mouth is and donate $50 or more ($50 buys you access to naked boobs, less buys the undying gratitude of millions of women and men) to Boobiethon. Keep breasts healthy and have a little fun. Boobs rock!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Daniel of the Day Vol. I


You know, every day is better with a little Daniel and company. I'm so happy with my feet on the ground.......

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I'm Blaming Jim Henson


I think I may have figured out what went wrong. Our family dined on a steady diet of The Muppet Show when I was a kid. How, I wondered, did I end up with such an appetite for all things gothic later in life? What in my childhood led me down this path? I think this may be the answer. By the way, Halloween is right around the corner. I am VERY excited!

Monday, September 25, 2006

I Want Those Who Get to Know Me to Become Admirers or My Enemies

ADAM ANT-Friend or Foe

A little Pirate/New Romantic fashion, a little voodoo and a whole lot of fun! Time to dance! While Adam Ant reminds Echo of the perfect kiss, Adam Ant reminds of a great weekend home from college and going to go see Adam Ant with one of my best friends, Frank. Frank and I had one of those fabulous platonic relationships. I know Frank didn't score big points with at least one of my friends, but he was always a sweetheart to me and was the shoulder I leaned on many times. We had great times together and rode out some rough relationships together. I've seen him naked.....running down the street.

Friday, September 22, 2006

WWBD (What Would a Behaviorist Do?) Vol. IV

Dear Behaviorist,
I am an elementary school principal and have been given fabulous training in positive behavior intervention that my district paid thousands of dollars for. My problem is that I do not understand behavioral priciples even after being inserviced and am making a bloody mess of my school. Further, I refuse to take the blame for my mistakes. What should I do?

Eternal Irritant

Dear Eternal Irritant,
First, perhaps as the administrator you should be setting the example for your school staff to follow, we call this modeling. If you are unwilling to admit your mistakes, how will there ever be any growth? Second, once you have accepted that you are in need of additional training, go get it, BEFORE YOU RUIN THE MORALE OF THE ENTIRE SCHOOL! How will your staff ever know how to implement a behavior system if they are incorrectly or inadequately trained. I hardly find this to be the fault of the staff. Modifying behavior is a tricky thing and should not be taken lightly. I suggest you take a long look at yourself and do some serious reflection about what kind of school you'd like to be running. Sorry to go all cognitive on you.

Eternally Controlling,
The Behaviorist

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Mighty Fine Vessel She Was

Ahoy, me hearties! I wanted to tell ye a tale of the fine and worthy vessel the Balclutha. Aaargh, she is near me heart 'ere since I set foot on her back in the autumn of 2000. We were sailors and pirates for a night, aye.

Me journeys took me onto the mighty Balclutha with a bunch of young scallywags, lads and lassies. The youngens were in need of some supervison on their overnight voyage. We swabbed the decks, lowered the boats, rowed, cooked and sang sea chanteys. We took shifts on the nightwatch and kept the bells. As the sun rose o'er the bow, while sippin' me coffee and overlooking the sleepy city of San Franciso, this pirate had a most memorable moment indeedy. The sea salt in the brisk morning air was intoxicating.

Arrgh, I miss the sea.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Eyes of an Eight Year Old

"Everything is different now, isn't it." While we were riding home together on Monday, September 11, 2006, I was faced with this statement from my eight-year-old son. He has only begun to comprehend what happened on 9/11 this year. We shielded him from it when it happened, because he was only three. Three-year-old children do not need to be exposed to events this horrific.

As he has grown older, he has learned of the constant wars. He has learned of what happened on that day. He has heard of his parents' dissatisfaction with our President. He has heard news of terrorists. He has wondered why someone would purposefully fly a plane into a building, knowing of all the consequences. In short, he has had to face the facts of life. Not all men are good men. That is a harsh lesson.

Explaining the terrorists motivations sometimes is easier than explaining why we choose to go to war. Explaining any of it is worrisome as a parent. Many worry about whether the Nintendo games are going to scar our children. Well, I'll tell you, the games will never touch them in the way that the culture they are being brought up in will. A culture so divided that dishonesty and fear-mongering are apparent at every turn. A culture that doesn't value humility and service. A culture that tells them that bigger is better and the mighty rule in any way they choose.

My son doesn't remember a world before George W. Bush, terrorists, and war. I barely do either. I often wonder what the mothers of children his age in Iraq feel. Are they optimistic, as we are told? I somehow imagine not.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Exhaustion is a Fun Drug


After days of sleep deprivation, my brain started doing some weird shit last night. First, it felt like shockwaves, sort of accompanied with a quick flash of light. Then I actually heard things. I swore I heard voices, but no one was there. I felt twitchy and nervous. Made me think of Thomas Dolby. I think I need to go to bed.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Touch and Go Revisited

For those of you who could not make it to the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary Beer Fest, I mean Music Fest, here is a little taste of what made it one of the most fabulous weekends of my life.


Between Big Black and Scratch Acid I spent most of Saturday evening with my eyes rolled up into my head enjoying the wigged out landscape they aurally induced. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the five or six beers I'd had by that point. Mmmm, and did we mention it was Goose Island and Warsteiner they were serving. No Budweiser here, baby. This was hands down the best run outdoor festival I have ever been to. They had the stages running like clockwork, the beer lines moving and the portapotty lines were not unbearably long. This is important when you have had many beers. So, enjoy this next clip of a shirtless Dave Yow of Scratch Acid doing his thing. Peace out!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

In Other News, Tenacious S Fears Head Will Explode

So, how is the Tenacious One doing after just one measly week of grad school? Well, there was a bit of a time management issue with the Touch and Go Festival happening, but other than that, there were no excuses for what happened. As usual, I have a tendency to overthink things and apparently that's what I did with the first assignment. I was ready to write a manifesto and was getting very angry that the sources I was finding were pathetic at best. Then at about 7 this evening I saw the comment from the professor. He was only looking for a few paragraphs. I already had four well developed paragraphs. I think I might get an "A." Unfortunately, I think it may have come with a side of ulcer.

Better Than.....

How could a weekend get any better than getting lucky and finding the dude with the three-day passes? How could it get any better than hearing tons of amazing bands? How could it get any better than the beer ticket lady accidentally giving Lulu and I twice as many beer tickets than we paid for? How? When you walk out of the Touch and Go festival the first day and the flyer pressed into your hand is for a NAKED RAYGUN reunion at Riot Fest on November 5th!!!! I have died and gone to punk rock heaven.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Still Mourning

Crikey, these Australians sure do get under your skin. I'm not done obsessing on INXS yet. I remembered how much I liked them and that for a good year, this was one of my favorite songs. You know what? I still like it. I think I'm going to go order the CD.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dead Australians I Have Loved

Well, there's really just the one. Good lord, how I miss Michael Hutchence. I know. You're thinking, "T, you've gone soft!" Bite me. He was an awesome front man and some mighty fine eye candy. So, Steve Irwin, you're in good company wherever you are.

I am the World's Largest Idiot

I am so angry right now. I've been really looking forward to the Touch and Go Festival. So what did I do? Nothing. That's right, nothing. In the midst of my busiest work season and heading back to school I completely spaced on buying the tickets and now they are sold out. Angry doesn't even begin to describe it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fare Thee Well, Steve Irwin

I come to this post with mixed emotion. While it is a miracle he lived as long as he did putting himself in harm's way far too often, I feel a certain sense of loss as he represents a part of my children's earlier years. OK, the guy was a bit nuts, but I'm thinking he loved the animals. When you compare a crocodile to your wife, I think that is the obvious conclusion.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I'm It!

I haven't been tagged for any reason for a long time, so the game almost feels new. CP tagged me and now I must 'fess up to my objects of literary attraction.

Well, that's quite a tall order. I honestly can say that I don't think that any ONE book has changed my life. Probably the most influential was Fun With Dick and Jane. You think I am kidding. I'm not. This was probably the first book I read all by myself cover to cover before kindergarten started. I loved reading. I remember being very proud of myself and asking my mom if we could please go back to the library and get more books.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
I read this for the first time while I was travelling through Europe on my own. My own adventures gave it depth. Some of it was just crazy messed up shit, but I felt he allowed some of my interior landscape to see the light of day without my having to get arrested for it. Better to live vicariously in some cases. I am an expert at this.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
When I was about ten, the wanderlust struck. This book was the precursor to the Europe trip and some serious moving around. I forced my brother and our friends from across the street to read this. We were going to run away to Woodfield Mall. We knew it was large and had fountains with money. We were sure we would succeed. We plotted all of it on the roof of our garage while we threw apples into the neighbor's yard. We got yelled at and we had to abort our mission.

Fargo Rock City by Chuck Klosterman
I think I wet my pants. What a wonderful tribute to how music really does shape your life and provides milestones by which to mark it. Genius!

I am going to preface this by saying I usually do not seek out to cry while reading, and thus have probably avoided this genre in general. I cried as a child reading The Diary of Anne Frank . It was one of the first times I remember really understanding the suffering that other humans are forced to go through. I teared up reading There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz. This is when I was reminded how fortunate I was and how easy my life really is. Shuts you up real quick.

The Me Book by Ivar Lovaas
While it may be more of a therapy manual, this book has set thousands of children on a journey towards a better life. He is the guru of my profession and I hold the utmost respect for him. For many years he was considered a renegade, but all the while he continued to gather data and perfect his therapy that undoubtedly has made a profound diffrence in the lives of many children with autism and their families. He gave hope when many had given up.

How about Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. A book that should never have been written by a man who nevr deserved to be alive.

I belong to the Books of the Month Club. I am currently reading God's Politics by Jim Wallis. I have to REALLY be in the mood for that one. I am also reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, a delicious bedtime snack most nights. Additionally, if I am feeling more *Tenacious*, I've read whatever chapter I'm in the mood for from Rip It Up and Start Again by Simon Reynolds. One can never smash too much rock trivia into one's head. Oh wait, maybe you can.

Can I change this to a book I'm going to 'splode if I don't get to read soon? Ever since Echo told me about the unedited version of On the Road coming out next year, I have been crossing days off of my calendar.

Friday, September 01, 2006

My Afternoon

I was walking Bink home from school minding my own business, when some yellow jacket with small insect syndrome decided to take his aggression out on my arm. If I see him again, I'm going to kick his ass. Maybe he'd like to pay the emergency room fee. Have I mentioned that benadryll is coma inducing?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

WWBD (What Would a Behaviorist Do?) Vol. III

Dear Behaviorist,
I have an unhealthy relationship with another blog owner. Some people think we're the same person...but we're not. He wants me to *throw down*, but I can't stop *throwing up*! Should I take dance lessons to calm my inner demons?

Definitely Not Grant Miller

Dear Definitely,
As we say in the biz, "Put it on extinction." While dance lessons may help you to recover from this toxic relationship, the more important issue is dealing with the behavior of the offending party. If this person is engaging in behavior that is unacceptable to you and you do not want to do the dance of anger, I recommend that you extinguish this party's behavior. Extinction is a planned ignoring of the behavior and is rather effective tool in reducing behavior issues. Initially, you can expect to see an increase in the behavior that is targetted. This is called an extinction burst. No matter how outrageous the behavior, do not engage at this point or you will reinforce the outrageous behavior by giving it attention. After the burst, you will probably begin to see a decline in the behavior. Take data if you have dificulty keeping track of it. I suggest both duration and frequency counts in this case. If you are *tenacious* enough, you will see results. Good luck and remember to take care of yourself.

Eternally Controlling,
The Behaviorist

Monday, August 28, 2006

Celebrity Roast

We all know and love/loathe Grant Miller. But I am afraid he has made some fatal admissions in blogland this week. First he admits that he and his unfathomably beautiful wife are big DMB fans. They like to listen to it turned up to 10. Their neighbors enjoy this as well and reciprocate. It's like some sort of warped "Duelling Banjos."

Now he admits that he has a penchant for "Rock You Like a Hurricane." Grant, don't you know? "No One Like You" is the better Scorpions choice if you must worship the Deutsche Muzik.

Rock You Like a Hurricane

No One Like You

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I Hear Fall

For whatever reason, I seem to be seasonal in my listening habits. When the academic year starts, I have this urge to listen to Quadrophenia in its entirety. I haven't done this in a long time, but then again, I haven't been in school for a long time.

I've often thought that if Pete Townshend was born a few years later, he would have been a punk. He was a mod. That might even be better. They rode scooters.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Christian Rock Festivals, Oh My!

OK, so now you all know that I have lived in another world. Now I can tell you about the fabulous Christian rock festivals and the fact that Christian and rock probably don't really coincide. I've done the youth group thing. I did for years. I had a lot of fun. Most of that fun had very little to do with the church and more to do with the fact that we were a bunch of teenagers hanging out together.

So every summer one of the "sanctioned" activities was Cornerstone. This was a huge music festival held at the Lake county fairgrounds at the time. To me, it was another chance to hear loud music and to behave badly. Not so much what I think they had in mind. I could sit here and list all the things that were on the "banned" list for Cornerstone and then I could site examples of how myself and my friends probably broke each and every rule. Use your imagination here, people.

There were a handful of bands that I actually liked. Pictured above is Daniel Amos. Probably the only band I could say I truly respect of the bunch. They really did rock. Their live show was superior and I was always a sweaty mess from dancing the whole time. I miss them. The whole "Christian Rock" thing seems to have morphed over the years. At one time, it was a bit fringe and exciting, at least for those of us who were desperate and stuck in youth groups. Somewhere along the line, record companies figured out that this was yet another money maker and it has all been downhill from there. Just like the Prez, this image seems to sell these days and it is a sad commentary on how anything, apparently including your soul, can be sold.

On Christianity, Kristianity, and Church

While I am sure I can't solve the world's problems or even a majority of my own problems, it can never hurt to start a little discourse. As many who know me can attest, I have gone through my share of struggling with the whole religion question. It has been at the forefront of my life since I was a small child.

I grew up in a family that was very conservative in almost every way. We went to a conservative protestant church. Our church was not at all like the megachurches of today. This was a small local church that felt more like a family. I didn't feel it was plagued with fanaticism. It was a basic Bible believing church. That's it.

If I have any negative feelings about religion from my childhood, it was that I was teased endlessly for going to church. The majority of my neighborhood was Catholic and recent immigrants. Why this made me a target, I don't know. I guess because I was different. They all went to church, just not my church.

When we moved out to the suburbs, we started going to a bigger church. This church was a bit more, how shall we say, evangelical. It was in fact, an Evangelical Free Church. Initially, all this was supposed to mean was that they had broken away from the very formal and organized Lutheran church, but somewhere along the line, it stopped being another church for Scandanavians and became a church for people with right-wing political beliefs.

I have to say, I was good with all of this all the way through high school. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. I will also say that I did have a period of rebellion my first two years in high school, where I refused to take part in the youth group, until I "got caught" and was forced to go. I genuinely enjoyed the youth group for a couple of years. I was full-force evangelical Christian in my beliefs. Ask poor Lulu, she had to live through me trying to "save" her on multiple occasions. What was I thinking? Why she still talks to me, I don't know. I would have run away very quickly in the opposite direction.

Oddly, the thing that set me off on my own was going to a Christian college. I chose to go there. I wanted a small private school and chose Calvin because although it was a Christian school, it was not as militant as many. It was here that I began to see the hypocrisy. It was here that I realized that judging others was a bad idea. It was here that I was exposed to some amazing scholars that challenged my beliefs of what it meant to be a Bible believing Christian. The professors at Calvin were very different from the student population. I still miss some of my professors from Calvin. They were Christians in the same way that I guess I would like to categorize myself now. They were worldly-wise, open minded, intellectual people that never let "religion" get in the way of the truth. I have learned over the years that religion is VERY different from faith. Religion puts things in little boxes, faith sets you free.

For years after college, I didn't set foot in a church unless I was home visiting. I didn't start attending again until I had children. I guess I felt I needed to give them a starting point. We attended a small church in California, much like the church I grew up in. I had minor issues with some political issues, but never felt it was a point of contention and never felt that I was being judged for holding different beliefs. We were very good friends with the pastor and his family. He was an Australian and had been a race car driver before becoming a pastor. They were very real people who were not hypocrites in any way. They openly admitted their struggles as humans. The sermons were usable discourses on life and its difficulties. I still miss them now that we have moved. That, and Sweetness is still minorly in love with one of their boys (they fell in love playing hide and seek under a table at church). We'll discuss arranged marriage another day.

After we moved back to the Chicago area, we started going to Harvest Bible Chapel. Originally, this church was a breakoff of my parents church, which didn't want to follow the same stale path. I do love the pastor, James McDonald. He is an extremely intelligent and funny man. Smart and funny, just like I like them! It's the congregation that gives me the hives. Many are just average people struggling with life. Many are Kristians. I don't like them. I don't want to be seen with them. And I don't agree with them. In my mind, faith and politics do not hold the same space. If they share space it is in a positive, help humanity kind of way. Certainly not in a "we are the only ones who are right" kind of way. We have been going to church less and less, because I struggle all the time with what I am willing to tolerate. We are probably going to switch to the local presbyterian church because the people who attend do not hold the hideous political beliefs that too many of the people at Harvest do. I hate that I have to leave a church because of the people in it.

So, what does all of this mean? I'm not sure. The older I get, the more I realize that it is part of who I am, but I am not willing to sacrifice my integrity for it. I have come to loathe organized religion and I think that's sad. I don't think this is how it's supposed to be. I think we are mere mortals struggling to make it through this world and not one of us holds the answer to anything. Life is a journey of discovery and anyone who claims to hold the key to all of life's mysteries is only fooling themselves. We are imperfect. Thank God.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mass Suicide

I am calling for a mass suicide of trivia memories in order to make room for more important thoughts. I'll throw the first lemming of a memory over.

How can I go to grad school with crap like this taking up precious space? I am hoping if I throw the first one overboard, other stupid and useless memories will follow. I know all the words to this song for goodness sake. And I'm not a lonely boy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


WHAM!-Wham Rap
Those who mock may not be able to shake some righteous booty. Perhaps they are jealous of the ass shaking geniuses who are the few, the proud, those who dance to Wham!

Songs From the Confessional Vol. VI

This a double header. So good, that one was not enough. Confessions have been made by many. That'll be five "Our Father's" and six "Hail Mary's." Go forth and sin not.

WHAM!-Bad Boys


Monday, August 21, 2006

Life in Grand Rapids-Radio Void Vol. V (Of Censorship and Repression)

While we all accepted that WCAL was a cable only station, thus rendering it useless, what was unacceptable was the censorship that occurred at the station. Each and every album that came into the station was reviewed for objectionable material. OK, so no station can air the seven dirty words, but this went quite a bit beyond that. Granted, this was a Christian school, it still seemed extreme. We had to censor anything that might be deemed objectionable material to the Calvin population. Let's just say that we couldn't even announce The Jesus and Mary Chain. We had to call them JMC. Blasphemy!

In addition to lyric censorship, we had to rate each track on the album with a 1-4 rating for the *heaviness* of the song. For instance, Amy Grant might be a 1, but Einsturzende Neubauten was most definitely a 4. 4's were not allowed to be played during meal times. Yes, you heard it right. The station was broadcast into the cafetrias on campus and apparently we might have caused some indigestion.

Did any of this stop me? Why no. It only prodded me on to be as maverick as possible. I rather enjoyed playing "The Only Good Christian is a Dead Christian" by Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel during dinner hour. No one paid attention anyway. I was never removed from the air, but I did leave Calvin after three years in large part because I wanted to spread my little DJ wings and fly. I transferred to WUSC, I mean the University of South Carolina. They had one of the top ten college radio stations in the country at the time. See, I had my priorities straight.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Primal Scream

Sometimes after a rough day it helps to just let it out. I usually feel this way by Friday night. Scream with me, you'll feel better. I promise. A little loud music will do the trick as well. I feel better already.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

WWBD (What Would a Behaviorist Do) Vol. II

Dear Behaviorist,
I am married to a man that is a skanky rapper wanna-be and a slut. I often make choices that might appear sort of trailer park. I have millions of dollars and yet I can't seem to get any respect. What does a girl have to do?

Ooops, I Did It Again

Dear Oooops,
If respect is what you want, you may need to modify some of your behavior. Behavior modification can be accomplished through many different methods. In your case, which is a bit extreme, I suggest that we use a little negative reinforcement, since positive reinforcement seems to have gone to your head. Try this, act like a responsible adult and parent. Stay away from people who are gold diggers. Wear clothes that reflect your age and social stature (remember you are a millionaire). You will most likely find after a few weeks of doing this that a lot of the negative feedback you have been getting will be gone. In turn, the removal of the adverse conditions will increase the likelihood of your enjoying these new changes and the changes being permanent. You have the financial means to buy all the support and counseling you need to make these changes. What are you waiting for?

Eternally Controlling,
The Behaviorist

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Big Black

BIG BLACK-Pavement Saw

Chicago rock aristocracy. They will only be doing a couple of songs at the fest, but I'd pay 35 bucks just for that. And it's going to be the original lineup with Jeff Pezzati. So cool.

Touch and Go

If you've got nothing to do, or something lame planned for September 8-10, then you should be planning on going to possibly one of the best festivals of the year. Every year The Hideout has a big block party. This year they are providing the venue for Touch and Go Records 25th anniversary party. There will be 25 bands playing and it is an amazing collection of musicians. You'll find everything from !!! to Big Black. Yeah, you heard it right. Big Black. Am I shamelessly plugging this? You betcha! A skinny $35 gets you in for all three glorious days of rock heaven. What better way to say "Adios" to summer?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Perfect Day

How often do you have a perfect day? Today was one of them. My work was unexpectedly cancelled for the day, so Sweetness, Bink and I decided we should go to the zoo. The polar bear has always been one of our favorites.

Sweetness and Bink were very impressed by the size of the lion's paws.

For some reason, the beaver really liked Bink and seemed to play with him.

And how can you not love a penguin with such great eyebrows?

After we left the zoo, we met Lulu for dinner at Hamburger Mary's and then went to get ice cream.

We wrapped up the day at Lulu's. Lulu and I had a chance to talk and she amused the kids with her large collection of Edward Gorey books. Does life get any better? Today we were Bubblemen. Today we had antennas and danced.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Still Wondering

Do you ever have those thoughts that wake you up in the middle of the night? 25 years later, I am still wondering...what on earth does "Turning Japanese" mean?

Friday, August 11, 2006

WWBD (What Would a Behaviorist Do) Vol. I

In this column I will attempt to provide answers for mundane as well as extreme behavior issues. Feel free to send in any behavior related questions in the comment section.

Dear Behaviorist,
In the past, when I've locked my keys in the car, I end up breaking a window in a fit of rage or drink myself into a stupor and end up face down in a gutter. Should I get remote keyless entry?

Forever Losing My Keys

Dear Keyless,
The antecedent (trigger/stimulus) for your behavioral outbursts is clearly locking your keys in the car. While remote keyless entry is a nice option for automobiles, I do not recommend buying a whole new car to solve your problem. My recommendation to avoid this behavior in the future is to do one of two things. One, have an extra set of keys made and give them to someone with a better memory than you. Two, leave a note to yourself to remove keys from car upon exiting the vehicle. Additionally, I may suggest that you reinforce yourself for remembering your keys. Perhaps a cheery note to yourself upon arriving home and managing to put your keys on the key hook might suffice. Be creative with your reinforcer. Remember, the reinforcer has to be strong enough to increase the likelihood of the good behavior (remembering keys). Really, this is a simple case of stimulus control. If you control the stimulus by not allowing the possibility of having your only friggin' set of keys locked in your car, the negative behaviors will be happily avoided. I also suggest seeing a psychiatrist as your emotional/behavioral outbursts suggest emotional lability, which can be a sign of deeper issues. Happy motoring!

Eternally Controlling,
The Behaviorist

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Painting by Numbers

Well, this isn't my garage, but I will be painting my garage this weekend. woohoo. I live a wild life, unfettered by the mundane. Anyone who wants to join in on the fun is welcome. Free booze until you drop and some barbeque. Sound like a fair deal? RSVP for a weekend of fabulous fun.

Video Tribute to Family Fun Vol. I

OASIS-Don't Look Back in Anger

Here are some words of wisdom from the famous feuding Gallagher brothers. Hey, they air their contempt in the public eye. Maybe it's cathartic?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Hate Schedules

As summer begins to fade away, the reality of the school year and all that it means sets in. My kids will have schedules, all my clients will have new schedules, my school work will need a schedule and I will have to deal with it all. Weaving all these schedules together can go one of two ways. It can either be a gracefully choreographed ballet of days and times or it can be a demolition derby with the pushiest one winning the prize. I can already tell that this fall it will be the demolition derby.

Everyone wants me to do things and be places on the same day and at the same time. If there were several of me, that'd work out swell. However, with just one of me and with lots of driving to fit in, it is logistically impossible. So now I am left with the task of disappointing and angering people. Not much I can do.

Oh well, might as well dance!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Songs From the Confessional Vol. V

Great football players. Bad rap. Not better than The Beatles.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Lulu won't let me burn Comfy Chair and thinks I am a pyromaniac. Aren't the flames pretty?

Life in Grand Rapids-Radio Void Vol. IV (Big Boots and a Broken Chair)

This is a story about cinnamon rolls and Naked Raygun. When I went to Calvin I became involved in the radio station. It was a putsy little cable only station, meaning only the students on campus could get it. Lame, though it was, I adored working as a DJ and Music Director there. One of my favorite things about working there was the ability to help promote bands that were coming through town.

So, Naked Raygun was slated to come play at the Sons and Daughters Hall (basically a VFW) in Grand Rapids. I called their manager and arranged for the band to come to the station to do a live on-air interview. We promoted the shit out of it. Signs up everywhere, announcements 24/7, the works. On the way to Grand Rapids, Naked Raygun's van broke down and so they were running late and didn't have time to do the interview. We were all a little disappointed, especially me because I was and am a huge fan.

We went to the show that evening and met up with the guys and decided to try it again in the morning. Lines got crossed and after waiting for them at the station for awhile, we posted a note with our home address and instructions to meet at our house if they were still interested. After waiting at the house for awhile, we again gave up and due to hunger went to the most awesome breakfast joint in the world, Breakfast Just Breakfast, that was at the end of our street. We left our high school friends to wait in the house in case they arrived.

Shortly after sitting down to eat, a winded teen came running into the restaurant yelling, "Naked Raygun are in your living room!" I thought the kid was going to faint. We all ran back and sure enough, there they were, big boots and all sitting in our living room. Now I have done many interviews with bands over the years, but none in my home. This was a first.

The guys were jovial and fun to talk to and we had a most excellent time. The high school kid still remembers it to this day. I think it was the most exciting thing that happened to him in GR. As I've mentioned before, GR is not a hotbed of social activity. Over the years, I've had the pleasure to interview and get to know Jeff Pezzati. He is an intelligent and interesting guy who can rock your brains right out of your head. I am glad they were so persistent with that interview. It's one of my favorite memories.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Life in Grand Rapids-Radio Void Vol. III (Wherein Jim Morrison Appears in the Rafters)

This is the story of the infamous birthday party. Two of my good friends had birthdays very near the end of the school year. We decided to celebrate them together and sent out invitations with Baudelaire's "Be Drunk" written on the front. That was the start of the downward spiral into excess.

The party took place in the large and cavernous attic of a very old house. Red wine was plentiful as was herbal remedy. The herbs were quite powerful and took many of us by surprise. Some recount tales of rooms spinning. Some recount tales of nausea. One saw the very image of Jim Morrison in the rafters of the old attic, arms outstretched like a Christ figure. Jim lingered for quite awhile, speaking to our friend.

The party was a memorable one for many. Jim's presence gave weight to our endeavors. We think he would have approved.