2018-10-06 Hell Yeah, That’s My Jam

I’ve seen some good concerts in my day. I’ve also been to some seriously crappy ones and some take-or-leave-it gigs. Last night was one of the better ones. My friend Leah and I took a little road trip to Lincoln to see Fall Out Boy at the arena downtown. It was a great time.

It was a good reminder how much I dig live music. First off, I’m not a seeker of new music, I often leave it to fate to serve up something awesome I’ve not heard before. The “pre-game” show featured a group called Machine Gun Kelly and it’s no surprise I hadn’t heard of them before, but they were good. As I sat through the songs at the end of their set (we arrived about halfway through that), I could feel the beat of the bass reverberating inside of me and was all like “hell yeah!”. That’s the stuff. As a poet you would think I would have better words to describe how it made me feel, but “hell yeah”, pretty much sums it up the best.

It’s something special when you can feel connected to music you have never heard before and just be moved by it. I would totally spend money on their tunes. It kinda makes me regret missing the opening act, I think there was one, but we were having dinner downtown and it took for-ever.

In any case, MGK was a great primer for the sick FOB jams. They played a good mix of old stuff and new and since they’ve been fans of mine for so long, I knew just about every song. The typical concert accompaniments, lights, screens, fire, smoke, etc were good and not overdone. It was just the right amount of flair to not distract too much from the songs or artists. Much better than the shit-show we saw at the Pumpkins concert where I was disturbed by the creepy video going on behind the stage.

The band and the songs didn’t disappoint either. It’s actually not tough to do with such great music. Song after song that elicit memories and feelings. Though we were fairly high in the arena, we were still on our feet rocking out. We were in the front row of our section and I’m sure it pissed people off behind us when we stood up, but I was channeling my boyfriends on stage in “not giving a fuck”. I can’t remember what song it was, but they had vid behind one of the songs which was entirely compose of clips from film and tv and even video games where someone was giving someone else the finger. It was awesome. And then all of a sudden there it was again, that “hell yeah” coursing through my veins.

Unlike most concerts I’ve been to, the lead singer was not the talkative one during the show. It was the guy who is the bass guitarist. I think that’s what his role is, you think I would know since he’s been writing songs for me since like 2008.

His main message to the crowd was that “you, each individual, is worthy” and can do whatever they want. He shared a bit of history about the band in being rejected by studios and labels over 20 times before some company took a chance on them. You can read the outcome in the almighty Wiki. He also randomly bought people beers and called People out of the auduence to come jam out by the stage. That was cool. The lead singer, by contrast, never said anything. Apparently the two of them are the originators of the band and there have been change ups of the other band members over time. The Wiki would know more about that too. I’m not very good at random music facts I guess. I just know what I like.

Fall Out Boy is definitely in my top ten. If there was any question, yesterday sealed that deal. Lincoln was great too. We got lucky with parking and had a good dinner (“hell yeah” I had a cheeseburger). Getting out of town after was even not as bad as expected. 👍🏻 Despite arriving home just after midnight, I was too amped up to fall asleep until some time in the 1 o’clock hour. That made for a short night.. 4.5 hours – ouch!

No rest for the wicked I guess. Today I have Saturday full of adulting which started at 6:45 when I had to get up with Z and take her to the school for ACT testing today. That meant I was at the gym early for cardio which is good because mid-morning I’m headed to Jim’s because we are going to pick out carpet for the house. Fun fun. I find it strange that I’ve made it this far in life and have never had to pick out carpet? 🤷‍♀️

Anyway. That’s it for this SugarCookie today. The weekend is waiting. 😘

Thank You, More Please,

~Miss SugarCookie

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2018-10-05 Bandwagon’s Full, Please Catch Another

I’m nearing the end of this cardio set and I’ve spent almost the entire hour writing down (typing in) brilliant lines from random Fall Out Boy songs coming up in this morning’s Shuffle. Today it’s all FOB cuz I’m preparing myself for the concert tonight. It will be total immersion all day today and Hopefully I’ll be more in the mood for a quick little road trip. Why on earth they would come all this way to see me and then NOT show up in my city. Seems like poor planning. I should talk to their manager about that. 😜

It’s nice to listen to the complete collection from an artist because then you start to detect their themes and, if you listen chronologically, the story arc of their inspiration. Is it a fine design of an artists mind or just a product of their honesty? The world may never know.

I find myself skipping over all the songs that sound like love songs. Any “me and you” song is not what I’m really after. I’m not into that beat. I’m more interested in the tormented artist, the life gone wrong success story, the one where they tell the truth. It’s the “Hum Hallelujah” and “Thriller” that gets to me, moves my mind to places it likes to sink and swim in. Add a little bit of “Wilson (Expensive Mustakes)”, don’t give a fuck what you think attitude, and I’m in Love.

I’m listening on shuffle cuz ordering things chronologically feels like it might be too much work. After all, I still have other things I have to do. Sure it would be nice to sit all day with my music library creating master playlists for the future me, but I’m too busy writing postcards to the future me, addressing them all to house numbers in ghost towns.

“We keep the beat with your blistered feet

We bullet the words at the mockingbirds singing

Slept through the weekend and dreaming

Of sinking with the melody of the cliffs of eternity

Got postcards from my former selves saying, “How you been?””

Fall In and then Fall Out, Boy.

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-08-21 It’s Not Even Halloween Yet…

And I’m already Smashing Pumpkins. (Ok, that should probably be past tense now since the concert was last night but whatev). William came to town to see me and decided to put on a show for the masses who are old enough to remember the Siamese Dreams Of their youth. I gave him the green light on that like 20 years ago but so much time has passed that I’ve truly forgotten how madly in love with me he was. Ahhh, but those were the days. Am I right?!

I guess I also never realized how strange he was. That dude is weird. Must be nice to be that way AND despite that have enough talent to carry on for so long. I just hope in 25 years after my fame has come and gone I can still sit on stage for like three hours and pull in that kind of cash. I can see him getting low with the dough and nudging his band buddies saying “hey guys, we should tour.” And just like that.. Waaa-laaa.. more 💵💰🤑❗️

The show was way too long for my taste and I enjoy the music he wrote for me but the rest of it I could have done without. And what’s with all the super strange video playing behind the band? That was weird squared. Some would call it art but I would never stand in front of a slow-motion weeping Marilyn Monroe with glitter eye shadow and black tears reaching up to a creepy-red robed religious statue for 2 hours in a museum so I certainly don’t want to do it during a concert. Just play the damn songs already.

At the beginning of the concert everyone was standing.. they opened with a few great tunes. Then it waned in the middle and got depressing and everyone sat down (thank the Universe). Of course they wait until the end to play the biggest hits. Once I heard “Today”, I was ready to jet. F the back stage pass he sent me back in March, I’d seen enough. As Jim and I were exciting the event center, they came on with “The World Is a Vampire”. I looked at Jim and said, “this is a good one too. Let’s get outta here”.

Today I might send William a message letting him know that if he really wants to see me, he’ll need to arrange a more intimate setting. Or maybe I won’t. Best to let those Siamese Dreams die in the past where they belong. Goodness knows we don’t need it when melancholy and the Infinute sadness will live on forever.

Rock On! 🤘

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-04-24 Achtung Baby

I put my iPhone on master shuffle to see what the Universe thinks I should be inspired by. “Even Better than the Real Thing” by U2 apparently.

Hey.. isn’t that song like 30 years old? There’s nothing like THAT coming up in the shuffle of 1000+ songs I have on my personal electronic pocket computer in the year 2018. It doesn’t make me feel old, though, just a reminds me of an earlier time. The only thing even better that might be the actual “Real Thing”. 😜

Seriously though.. that song was one that my dear un-departed ex-husband put on a mixtape he made for me in the early days of our courting. It was my introduction to U2 and I’ve been a fan ever since. (Of U2, not my ex).

***

I stopped typing for a little bit there to think about life, and just like that I’ve blown right past the BNL (Bare Naked Ladies) and landed on Blue October. I guess that’s how life goes sometimes. How on earth did I miss all those years going by and land in 2008? It’s not a typo, 2008 was the year of Blue October and the event that I would later call my own personal “Punctuated Equilibrium”.

If that wasn’t enough to convince me that the Universe is a “Real Thing” (with a cosmic sense of humor), the next selection is “Song for the Road” by David Ford. The one and only and there’s no other connection for reference to my Simply Vera Era that is stronger than that (except Mr. A to the Z). The first time I heard it, we were riding in his black Jeep along 144th street to somewhere.. I don’t remember where. Where isn’t important when the song is so good it makes you cry. Of course he was playing it and thinking about another girl. His “one that got away”. I didn’t even know her, but I wasn’t a fan. Her hair was more red than mine and that is all I knew.

I wasn’t even a book in his life between two iconic book ends, I was merely a chapter. Thin pages with a few words about tennis and tv shows, good food and great conversation. And that not-meant-to-be podcast “for or against”. It had some clever name I don’t recall. Do you remember that?

The girl he was with after me was someone my closest friends and I nicknamed “The Wildcard”. She was some shade of crazy I never knew existed and I don’t think I’ll ever know if it was love that made her crazy or if she was like Lady Gaga and “Born that way”. It’s ok though, I let go of caring about that years ago.

I actually saw her at a funeral for the mom/aunt of a pair of mutual friends of ours in 2016. I didn’t recognize The Wildcard right away that day because of her long blonde hair, which I think was her natural color. Her hair was black when I met her and she died it clown red to try and become a closer proximation to what SV was looking for. I’d never dye my hair for any man. I might take motorcycle lessons and tennis lessons and force myself into awkward social situations but my hair is sacred.

Well well, what do you know – An appearance by MRAZ.. how appropriate. I wonder if the Universe is standing behind me on this elliptical machine and reading what I’m writing. No, that’s too physical. When you are omnipresent, you don’t have to stoop to such levels. The song in play right now is “Life is Wonderdul”. It’s all about the contrast between opposing things and the idea that we can’t truly know one thing without the other.

Thinking about this makes me happy. It’s explaining away all the bad things. We wouldn’t truly know sound without silence, we would not know the warmth of the sun without the long cold winter. I wouldn’t recognize the sunrise if there was no dark of night. I can look back at my life and all the bad things are softer in the light of this philosophy. The song is brilliant. “It takes a toll to make you care”. My dues have been paid and I’m ready to collect.

Coming up to the end of my time here now and I am not surprised that the Universe has done it again. For its final play of the set, we have Fall Out Boy singing “Thnks fr th Mmrs”.

“Thanks for the Memories?”. How appropriate. There is a Fall Out Boy CD that reminds me of another time in my life, but the cannon of their music has extended beyond that and now I can’t help but just enjoy it as one of my favorite groups. They actually called me up earlier this year and asked me to come to their show in Lincoln this fall. To which I replied “I would be happy to”.  I will be happy too.

Times Up. Rewind. Replay.
Achtung Baby,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-02-03 New Music Saturday

It’s Saturday morning and I’ve got new Taylor Swift in my ear. Her music isn’t for everyone of course, but I’m pretty convinced she wrote a few singles on this one just for me. The album “Reputation” is very tri-polar. 1/3 is drama fueled by her constant battle with some of what has transpired because of her fame and other famous people, presumably. 1/3 is love songs written 1st person about her ‘baby’. 1/3 is songs about ended relationships.

Quite honestly the ones they selected for radio play are by far not my favorites. In fact, when “Look what you made me do” first got air, I really disliked it. The thing that turned that one around for me was the routine that Jazzercise put together for it. It’s full of leg, and punching, and kicking. That’s my jam!

I’m a firm believer in listening to an album start to finish in the intended order. I’m positive that someone, somewhere (hopefully the artist) put a lot of thought into the arrangement of the songs. Like the whole album is a story to be told and there might be a rise and climax and conclusion. Each song is a chapter in the story.

Back before dirt was invented, we had records. People listened to A side, start to finish and then maybe A side again or maybe B. Tapes were the same way. I never had records, and I only had a few tapes and I didn’t really “get into” any kind of music until late in high school.

Among the first tapes I had just because People bought me them for a gift were: Madonna, Cindy Lauper, the soundtrack to Footloose, and Michael Jackson.

Among the first tapes I bought for myself were The Bangles, Genesis, REM, and the Violent Femmes. The Femmes were on repeat much of my Sr. Year in HS and was a favorite of several of my friends too but when left to my own devices, I would gravitate back to Phil Collins and Genesis. I liked them so much I spent precious dollars on three or four tapes. (I didn’t work by choice and never had any money).

That was the era of radio, boomboxes, and mixtapes. I used to sit in bed listening for them to play something I wanted to “own” and then hit record when it came on. We were all pirates back then and nobody cared.

I loved my boom box. It played tape, radio, and CD and had a “bass boost” button for the serious jams. I still have it. The CD player doesn’t work but the tape player still does, so if I ever get real nostalgic (which is rare) I could have another listen to all those early favorites. And yes, I still have the tapes too.

I still have the mix tape my first boyfriend made for me before he left for the military. I ended up marrying him. We had 2 kids and eventually divorced after 18 years together. I’m still grateful for him introducing me to new music.

Every person I meet brings their favs with them and that’s typically how I end up liking so many things. I’m still a top 40s girl at heart, but there’s a wide world of wonderful out there and it’s hard to sort through unless you have a guide. I have a special place in my heart for all my guides… including my exes.

I guess Simon and I never really dated after all or I’d have something to remind me of him. 😉 I don’t. Maybe that should be on my list of check boxes as I look for a new person.

Be kind and thoughtful. ✅
Have a sense of humor. ✅
Be healthy and active. ✅
Have your shit together. ✅
Take an interest in what I have to say. ✅
Don’t bring me cut flowers. ✅
Bring some music to the table. ✅

How hard can it be to find that? I’m sure Taylor has something to say about it. I’m inside round 2 on running through this new CD and I can’t detect any story arch. Maybe people don’t care about the order of songs anymore. Maybe it’s all about making .99 or 1.29 on a single track or just streaming things in any order. That’s a shame.

Here’s top pics so far: 1) Getaway Car 2) New Years Day 3) Delicate. They are all love songs.. such a shocker. I’m still not super jazzed about the angry-girl trying to be badass making a statement to people who have wronged her. I think it’s awesome she’s able to capitalize on that nonsense drama. I wish I could capitalize on my own nonsense drama.

Until then, I’ve got laundry and food prep for the next couple of days to do. My life is so exciting. 😜

Heads Up Seven Up,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-30 Taking a Byte of the Big Apple 🍎

First of all.. (and I’m gonna make this beginning side comment quick so I can get to something more pressing on my mind).. today I’m doing a happy dance because I turned in my very first MFA packet two whole days early. Woot woot!

How am I going to celebrate? I’d love to say with a cheeseburger and some dark chocolate but I’ve got 8 more days of this Whole 30 nonsense before I can indulge in that stuff again. Blarg!

Secondly.. This is a rather LONG rant about Apple and iTunes which probably has no value to anyone but me – read at your own risk…

I’ve spent a lot of time these past 2 or 3 days fixing my iTunes library that I completely had to rebuild from scratch. It was Apple’s fault of course and I’m going to stand behind that statement. Here’s why…

I’ve always synced my iPhone to my iTunes library on my laptop. ALWAYS. I have a ton of music. In my collection I’ve got CDs ripped from before iTunes even existed, music purchased from iTunes, and music that’s been acquired from the internet. It’s literally a crap ton. As such, not all of it fits on my iPhone. I’ve always used the option to sync with a specific set of artists, albums, and playlists checked. It’s worked like this for years. Until a few days ago.

I’ve been wanting a few newer CDs that came out in 2017 and last week I bought them. Quite honestly, I’ve always hated the model Apple has for acquiring music and organizing it in a library. You buy it from them, at basically an equivalent price as out in the wild, but you don’t really own it. What you own is the right to downloaded it from them for life. This locks you into iTunes and their devices.

Now I’m kind of a tech geek and I am well aware that there are methods and programs available to get around this funny business, but it shouldn’t be that tough. As a user, I just want a simple interface that lets me have that music, and manage it in my own way on my computer and phone. I’d be happy with a program that lets me rip the CD and then I’m the master of the organizational file system. But that poses so many complications with Apple.

I have stuck with Apple products because they do most everything else in a far superior fashion. It’s just one or two things that I really can’t stand and I’ve lived with it so far.

Anyway, I bought CDs because I like to own the music I’ve purchased and though I’m also a freak about backing things up, I see it as the ultimate backup/recovery option. On Saturday I started ripping my new tunes (and yes, using the iTunes utility to do so).

After that, the next step was to sync with my phone and get that music moved over. That’s when it all went wrong. It immediately popped up with a prompt question indicating that that my phone has never been synced with this iTunes library before and all the music on my phone will be replaced. What?

Normally this would not be a problem but I spent a little bit of time rebuilding my iTunes library in December to get rid of a lot of garbage taking up space. Yeah, that’s my other problem, low space on my Mac Air. But I know I have music and playlists on my phone I didn’t want to lose. When you’ve spent hours building playlists, you don’t want that to disappear.

I exported the playlists and stored them on my Mac. I also backed up my phone AND my iTunes to my external drive for good measure. The playlists are easy.. it’s the individual songs that are tough. I have all of them, but there are potentially hundreds and hunting for them would be a nightmare.

After spending time on forums and sites for potential alternate solutions.. I decided it was going to be tough no matter what approach I took. Either I was going to lose music from my phone or I was going to lose music from my library.

In hindsite, it would have been easier to use a program to copy the iPhone content to my laptop and just re-import it into iTunes but I didn’t think of that. Instead I decided to start from scratch. I’m talking from scratch-scratch and clean all of it up and suffer the consequences. I deleted my iTunes library (or what I thought was my iTunes library).

Once it was gone, I opened up iTunes again expecting to see an empty list. What I was presented with instead was a short list of albums and songs available for download. Most of it, I didn’t recognize. That’s when I realized I wasn’t operating on MY iTunes library, it was my daughters Apple account. Ugh!!!!!

The fact that this is NOT obvious from the interface is garbage! It should have prompted me somewhere in the process that it was “so and so’s account’ and did I really want to continue to sync with that. For holy hell!!

So I signed out of her account and signed into mine and low and behold, there are all MY purchases ready for re-download. Great. Too bad the damage had already been done.

Despite having access to two accounts, iTunes only stores one copy of the media on the back end. Or at least was the case here because I only have one iTunes folder in my music on my Mac. Doesn’t matter. I had deleted it and now had to re-import from backup copies. So painful.

The core set is easy, it just takes time. The devil is really in the details.

So I imported about 4000 songs based on artist and album and also imported those playlists that I had saved off. I would say about half the songs were not found in my library so Apple just truncated the playlist in ITunes and removes the unfound items from the playlist. Stupid! Now if I want to re import those songs and add them back to the list, I have to read the XML files created during export. Thanks Apple.

After this, I had to be satisfied for the moment and just synced my phone with the new iTunes which also takes time. It was missing a ton of stuff but that would have to be ok because believe it or not, I had other shit I had to do. (Cough cough.. MFA deadline!)

Yesterday I was back to the step of ripping the new music and now have those CDs in my library and on my phone and in a new playlist. Check. ✅ I was then  back to where I was last week minus probably hundreds of songs. Again, I have them all in my archives so I can hunt and import them again but – “ain’t nobody got time for that”.

Side rant.. ripping CDs into iTunes is also garbage. Now days, every artist has songs that “feature” other singers and they handle this so poorly. With the import you basically have two options..

1. Import the album as-is and it catalogues it with the album name but under an artist called ‘Various Artists’. So you have a ton of albums under this folder and it doesn’t recognize P!nk as P!nk to keep her album under her artist folder. Stupid.
2. -or- Import the album with the checkbox for various artists unchecked and it imports the CD into two different “albums”, one with most of the songs under the main artist and one with the other songs in a new folder for both artists. Also stupid.

I went with option 2 but this just deepens my case for wanting to manage my own folders and files.

Right now I’m listening to my favorite workout playlist which is sadly missing content, but fixing that is just going to have to wait.

Wow.. that’s a long rant!! I’m sure the only person that cares about all of this is me but writing through it, I feel better and have recognized several errors of my ways that could have been avoided. That’s really what matters. Right?!

Another Day, Another Dollar,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-24 Why Poetry

I’m in the car this morning navigating the ice rink that is the high school parking lot. I was dodging teenagers and their Pontiacs and late model Cadillacs and somehow maintaining my positive disposition despite my daughters insistance on fighting with me about a 5 minute discrepancy in our schedules.

I’m only half listening to her because there’s a Soundgarden song on with lyrics that are speaking directly to my soul. My mind is thinking about poetry.

At Residency, the second most asked question (besides who my favorite poets are), was “Why poetry”. Nobody has ever asked me that before. My gut response then was “because it’s always been Poetry”, but that doesn’t really explain it and so I’ve been thinking about the question ever since.

As a part of my course of study I’m reading texts and collections of poems by famous poets and also googling things of interest that are related to see what someone outside that sphere of influence has to say about things. Here and there I am gathering bits and pieces of “Why”. Due to the demand of organization required by my left brain, I’ve been keeping a list. Every time I feel I’ve discovered another reason, I write it down.

When I began to listen to the lyrics of “Halfway There”, there was something about it that vibrated within me. Not any one word, but the arrangement culminating in an interpretation that bounced around inside of me and created ripples of thought.

As I let the waves take over, everything else began to fade into the distance. My daughters voice became muted. In my peripheral vision, I could tell by her movements, she was still speaking but I couldn’t hear it. All I could hear were the vibrations from “Should a good life be so hard won / is that what our dreams have become.”

My daughter got out of the car and refused to respond to me as I said “Have a great day. I love you”. I’m used to that by now.

As I pulled out of the parking lot I hit the rewind button so I could listen from the beginning.

I wondered, as I encountered the first 4 way stop if I could say what Soundgarden had said any better. The arrangement of those words flirting with perfection in my ears. I rounded the next corner and concluded that any form of imitation or rework of the same subject would fall so far away from the original and result in complete failure.

I pulled into my driveway and allowed the song to finish and kept the car running long enough to hear what the Universe had chosen for my next song.

It was “Lurgee” by Radio Head. Oh the mystery and mastery of the omniscient. Well played.

I want to write lyrics that not only heighten my sense of being and elicit recollections of feeling, but perhaps also to shine a light on something bright enough to move others to also see it and feel it with me. This is not coming from a place of ego. It’s a genuine desire to channel my endless empathy into something worthwhile.

In order for me to do this, I have to get out of my ‘I Thought’, and commit to gaining a deeper understanding of the universe, Earth, and all forces at work on a random Wednesday morning in a High School parking lot. Based on what I know now, I have a long way to go.

I need to study my craft and fine tune my senses with experience. And it needs to be Poetry because that’s what was placed inside of me before birth. It’s thousands of thoughts waiting to be brought to life on the page with a syntax and vocabulary and rhythm that sing when read outloud or in the mind, touching the deepest part of one’s soul.

It’s the best answer to the question I’ve come up with yet to “Why Poetry?”. Time to go add that to the list.

Happy Hump Day!
~Miss SugarCookie