Category Archives: General Nonsense

My Music: I Got 1995 Problems and Justin Bieber Ain’t One

A NOTE ON THE TITLE: In coming up for a title for this blog, I had a lot of ideas: “How the 90s Saved Music,” “My Songs Are Better than Your Songs,” or just “I’m Old,” but I took the cheap, easy, Google-would-find-send-people-here-faster method: Mention The Beebs.

Sorry to disappoint the teenage girls, but this blog is about music made before your time. But if you want to learn about stuff that’s way better — I mean WAAAAY better than JB, read on.

This was probably more like 1990, but I like the angsty look in my eyes. It forecasts the angst to come.  (Note  -- I wasn't all that  angsty, it was kind of an act.)

This was probably more like 1990, but I like the angsty look in my eyes. It forecasts the angst to come. (Note — I wasn’t all that angsty, it was kind of an act.)

It was a hazy summer day in 1995, I seem to recall, and I was driving in my hooptie car through the streets of Tahlequah — probably trying to get my mind off someone, possibly late to something. Most definitely broke off my ass. I was listening to “I Stay Away,” the Alice In Chains song from “Jar of Flies,” which I’m sure I’d copied from CD onto a tape because that’s all I had in my car — and the lyrics really took hold: “Why you act crazy/not an act maybe/So close a lady/shifty eyes shady…”

I knew then that I would apply to whomever I was thinking about a Good Ol’ Fashioned Lettin’ Alone, to borrow my mother’s phrase. That meant the ice queen routine. I’m not good at it naturally so I’m sure there was mental preparation that had to be done.

But the other thing I remembered at that moment, and over the course of the 1990s, was that I was living in A Time. I feel sorry for folks who didn’t live in A Time. My parents did — the late sixties and 70s — but I’m not sure kids these days, even those my younger siblings’ age, are part of A Time.

I not only lived in the death of disco days, but also the dawn of punk, New Wave, the second British Invasion (think Duran Duran), the glam and/or death metal days, and when Motley Crue handed over their rusty needles to Guns N’ Roses, who then had those same needles snatched, unwittingly, from their fists by the pale, shaky fingers of Kurt Cobain and his ilk.

I loved a great deal of it. Now, at 38, I feel out of touch with modern music. I like some of it, but none of it grabs me by the short and curlies like it used to. And if a song does, usually the whole album won’t. There are a few exceptions, but most involve Jack White in one way or another, and he’s a throwback to another generation. I think Nirvana would even let him in retroactively if they could.

It’s  now an iTunes world, and it’s not my favorite. You download one song, listen to it, and forget the band exists. I’m as guilty of it as the next gal. I hear a song on a commercial, download it and talk about it for a week or so, then it kind of disappears from my memory. 

I guess the music that I — a pushing 40-pop culture savant who has absorbed every song she’s ever heard since age 3 but couldn’t point out a direction if rabid, ravenous

Where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio?

Where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio?

bears learned to speak English and demanded she tell them which was was north, and who sometimes forgets left and right —  claim as My Music is from A Time called the Early 90s — even though I feel ownership of a lot of 80s stuff too.

But the stuff that really stabs me in the gut with nostalgia is grunge-alternative from the 90s. I started college in August 1992, and had purchased Nirvana’s “Nevermind” on a trip to visit my soon-to-be college in October 1991. I bought it on a whim. Just like Smashing Pumpkins’ “Gish.” Good whims, since I still listen to both.

My era, for me, was the best, most profound, most relatable — but my parents, though they scoffed at the hippie movement, probably thought the same thing about their music. My mom was into Gram Parson, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young; my father liked The Band, Black Oak Arkansas, Santana, stuff like that. Both liked Leon Russell, Delaney and Bonnie, good ol’ Rock N’ Roll. I remember asking my mom why she didn’t like the Beatles. She said she didn’t NOT like them, but everyone liked them, so she wasn’t that into it. My mom was an effing hipster. Looking back on it now, she listened to NPR, obscure Americana, and she knew Norah Jones a full six months before anyone else. Dammit, she was a hipster! And don’t get me started on my dad, who is still so cool it’s ridiculous. But he doesn’t listen to the old stuff anymore… he’s embraced modern music. I don’t understand it, but maybe it’ll happen to me too.

Yes, a lot of us girls just thought Eddie was cute. Still, we got him.

Yes, a lot of us girls just thought Eddie was cute. Still, we got him.

Still, I have kind of a hipster-y  arrogance about some stuff from the 1990s — Pearl Jam, Nirvana being the big two that everyone knew and always connect to the so-called “grunge” movement — but I think they so perfectly embodied that time in my life, I can’t ignore them.

For the bands, I think the grunge movement started because someone in Seattle was cold and put on a flannel. They were angry at being cold, probably because a parent/loved one/ex had quit paying for heat. Hence the flannel an pre-emo (or Preemo, if you like) sound of the early 90s. (I may be simplifying. I do that.)

In 1992, I turned 18 and was free of all parental rule, experiencing life at every turn. I think I’m so damned lucky to have come of age when “Alive” by Pearl Jam was new and in heavy radio rotation, when you had to go out and buy the albums, and because it cost 15 fucking dollars and you worked for scraps at some restaurant, you were BY GOD gonna listen to every last note of that sumbitch. Hence my love for the entirety of the Liz Phair, Mother Love Bone, Sonic Youth, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Blind Melon, PJ Harvey etc. etc. — music wasn’t background in my friends circle. It was often talked over, but at least in my case, it was absorbed at the same tie, locked into a vault in my head to be attached to a time and place forever. And if it was talked over too much, you just casually walked over to the CD player and hit the repeat button. Or told one of those loud theater people to shut up.

None of us were ever a cool as PJ Harvey.

None of us were ever a cool as PJ Harvey.

But anyway — that day in 1995 — when I listened to “I Stay Away” in the car alone, of course heartbroken, possibly stoned, undoubtedly neurotic — is etched in my memory forever. I have so many of those moments, and I can’t help but think the music of my era is just… better. 

Many of these songs, from their opening strain, take me back to smoky dorm rooms, dirty living rooms and bathrooms you wish you didn’t have to use, strange car trips and radios blaring at the Illinois River — and they aren’t necessarily my favorite songs of the time. They certainly wouldn’t pass the hipster test — manywere huge to a lot of people. But I don’t care. So without further ado, here’s the greatest hits of the soundtrack of my formative years…

* Loser, Beck: This may be THE anthem for THE time of my life. It certainly felt like it kicked off my generation of music. I didn’t have MTV, I didn’t know if there was a video or anything like that. I just kind of lived, taping bits of things off the radio onto my own little mix tapes… Now I have literally thousands of songs and implements to play them. It’s a wealth of riches, and I kinda feel guilty about it. And on the MTV note, I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen this video…so here goes.

* Low, Cracker: I remember getting really, really tired of this song. But listening to it now, it’s like a first-class ticket to memory lane, and it’s still a damn good song. It’s not indicative of the whole of Cracker’s catalog — kind of a dark detour for a pretty sunny/snarky lil’ band. But this is how most people know them, though they should be listening to the eponymous album — it’s so, so good.

* Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns, Mother Love Bone: The anthem of the last Gen X’ers. It is so Seattle it spread through the Midwest, spraying Seattle Glitter all over it. It might have missed the greater part of the generation if not for the anthemic ’90s movie “Singles.” The first time I heard MLB was on “Singles.” The soundtrack itself contains many of the songs that put me right back in the thick of it. But this song… it has made me cry, it has made me reflective, it has made me laugh. Now it rips my guts open with memory and nostalgia, and a bit of pride, again, at having been lucky enough to live through this.

* So on that note, “Seasons,” Chris Cornell. “And I’m lost behind the words I cannot find.” I, never at a loss for words, can have the hardest time communicating how I feel abut someone. Probably always will, which is why many times these things have just gone unsaid.

Summer nights and long warm days
Are stolen as the old moon falls
Mirror shows another face
Another place to hide it all
Another place to hide it all
I’m lost behind the words I’ll never find
I’m left behind as the seasons roll on by
Sleeping with a full moon blanket
Sand and feathers for my head
Dreams have never been the answer
Dreams have never made my bed
Dreams have never made my bed
I’m lost behind words I’ll never find
I’m left behind as the seasons roll on by

* X-Ray Man, Liz Phair: Really, everything off her first 3.5 albums is pure rocket fuel into my past. But this was one of my early favorites: “You’re an X-ray man/You got white wall tires/Iodine tan/Cheap unpleasant desires… You’re an X-ray man/Got an X-rated mind/You’re not satisfied looking at me, you’re always Checking out the girl behind.” Pretty much sums up every guy I’ve ever liked.

* Porch, Pearl Jam: I have this thing where I seem to like the No. 8 song on most CDs. Something I noticed when I was un-sober once, I’m sure. “Porch is No. 8 on Pearl Jam’s eponymous album, and while I’m sure Eddie Vedder’s aim was far more important than what I applied it to, it again fit into that moody lovelorn mess that was going on in my heart and head. I have read that this song was about becoming a political activist. I thought it was about leaving your family behind, or a breakup or something. I had the uncanny ability to make every song about me. Perhaps I’m a narcissist.

* Piranha, Tripping Daisy: Another song I’ve listened to nothing short of 1 million times, but I don’t think I ever saw the video. I have a fuzzy memory of feeling like this song was MEANT for me — In kind of a creepy-crawly way, Tim DeLaughter was telling me to lighten up: “Ready or not, like it or not, here they come again/It’s a shame but you are just laughing/People want to keep you in the dark/You’re always a mess, but you’re always a step ahead of the crowd… You can be what you want, it’s a matter of time, prepared to be amazed. You’re flashing, they’re frowning, you flash the clover leaf cheer/It’s a game/You’re winning/There’s always so many piranhas.” I have so many Tripping Daisy stories, first being the time me and some friends were asked onstage because we were blowing bubbles… that was fun. I think.

* Sabotage, Beastie Boys: Because lots of Tahlequah bands tried to cover this and only a few of them got it right – and because no is complete without them, and because RIP Adam Yauch.

* In the Meantime, Spacehog: This song, truly, really reminds me of being … well, messed up. Stoned. Ripped. Comfortably numb. It was the 90s and I was in college. If I ever decide to run for office, I guess this blog proves I’ll have to take the honest approach. I was a weirdo with weirdo friends. We had a lot of fun. And I still like this song, and can close my eyes and kind of trip along.

I could go on and on. But you get the idea. And if you’re of a certain age, some of these songs meant a great deal to you too. I say, let them out every now and again. Don’t try to learn all the new shit if the old shit is still just so good.

And I’m not saying the 1990s were all good — we had lots of cheezy pop, and Marilyn Manson was cool at first before it became a watered-down version of itself. Then Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit happened. Again, a bit cool, but kind of indicators that music was changing again. And in my view, for the worst.

But I’ll always have 1995. I’ll always have my memories, I hope. If not, I’ve got friends who remember things. Though not as much as we did pre-1995. 🙂

Oh, and while we’re at it:

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Filed under Brain Disorders, General Nonsense, Music, Tahlequah, Uncategorized

I am getting sick: Just a blog before I go (Randomonia at its finest)

Ι can feel some sort of sickness inching closer to my typically excellent immune system, guns ablaze, teeth bared. Of course. I have a ton o’ shite to do — my brother is coming for an extended stay/visit/possible move to the East Coast, it’s Super Bowl time, my house is a fright and I just bought groceries.

If I get sick, I won’t eat the groceries. But then again, Nick’s coming. He’ll eat the groceries.

I’m kind of not making sense anymore today, but I have to get some thoughts out, and I think all my creativity is spewing out of me, like when you’re about to run out of gas and you get that last little splat of petrol.  Or that last little bit of spray “Cheez” that shoots out at you like black powder. (I haven’t had “cheese food” in a long time. Why is my brain thinking about “cheese food”?) Again… sickness.

I don’t have the strength to string together transitions to make a full blog. So here come da subheads.

 I’m in Bristol now

I left the quaint little suburb of Collinsville, Ct., and moved to the bustling blue-collar burg of Bristol, home of the Worldwide Leader in Sports, where somehow I still maintain employment. I spent my first night in Bristol and instantly liked it better than the country. Not saying that the suburbs of Connecticut aren’t nice, but they just aren’t my people. I’m not country club enough to live out there. I drink beer, not wine.  From the bottle. I leave the house without makeup. I eat fast food sometimes. I am not a size 00. I didn’t fit into the Farmington Valley mold. I’m OK with that – Bristol is just more my speed and style, and I have a great house I’m renting. My drive time to work went from 35 minutes to seven minutes. Which is even better considering the snowfall in Connecticut went from 35 centimeters a season (2011-12 winter) to seven inches a week or so (2012-13 winter so far).

Lomez the Cat: Best Ever? 

394789_10151384956082148_1886350992_nWith all due respect to the memories of Percy and Tito, the best male cats I’ve ever had, and the sweet Piper, who stood by me through thick and … well, mostly thick as skinny isn’t in my nature, Lomez the New Cat is just … awesome. He charmed the pants off the vet and techs at the new clinic in Bristol. When I got him, he still was A Man. So I had to take him to the vet to De-Man him and he was back to full force within five hours. He purrs. He plays. he sleeps on me and butts his head into my face.

There’s just something about him. He’s … sexy. I mean, I don’t wanna be with him or anything, that’s gross, but he’s just got swagger. He’s sweet and snuggly and hilarious. I think he was meant for me, though I found him on CraigsList. Leon is so jelly. (Am I too old to say that?)  He’s even dragging Penny Cat out of the attic. She’s Anne Frank‘d herself up there on her own volition since I moved. She’s really, really pissed about the move. But she’s always need another cat bodyguard. Percy was the previous Kitty Kevin Costner to Kitty Whitney Houston. Now Lomez has sort of taken over that role. In a sweet way. He defers to her. It’s just so freaking cute.

 Townhouses of the Holy

I want to trademark that phrase and make it into a style/music/sports magazine. I probably shouldn’t be revealing that in a blog, but I don’t think anyone reads it so yeah, there’s my idea. Consider this my verbal trademark. Can you do that?

 The AT&T commercials are great

I am ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that they are the best commercials in a long time. I will stop the DVR and watch them. Does this mean I am actually a kid person?

 

 The Bat

It was a slow news day. The highlight of the night for SportsCenter’s 11 p.m. show was a bat being loose in a Marquette game. The game basically came to a stop. It made me laugh a lot, but that might be the fever. SportsCenter had a lot of fun with it. It’s been a fun week for weirdo stories about bats and good heart-warming stories about getting a kid with Down syndrome on Top Plays… I was part of that, and it was pretty great. Thank you, Twitter, for making my heart smile.

 

 OK, I feel the fever building. Meeeeee eyes, they buuuuuurn…

I’m sorry for this blog. I shouldn’t even post it. But it has Lomez pictures, so it’s worth it.

2 Comments

January 27, 2013 · 12:06 am

The Electric Christmas Card: It’s not lazy, I wrote like 2,800 words!

festivus

I rewatched Seinfeld this
year. It’s funnier if you live on the East Cosat.


Festivus is tomorrow, Hanukkah is behind us, Christmas is two days away and Kwanzaa
starts the day after Christmas, which coincides with Boxing Day.
Folks, we are in the thick of a holiday season that grows bigger
each year. And as usual, I’m as tardy as ever. Because I suck at
holiday correspondence, and frankly all correspondence, I have
turned to the Internet to let ya’ll know I’m not a cruel,
heartless, thankless wench this Christmas. Yes, I’m letting my blog
be my Christmas wingman. Consider it an effort to be green, but
know that really, I’m lazy and pressed for time, a noxious
combination that really cuts into my sitting around time (Trey,
that’s one of my favorite lines of yours.) So with those caveats
out of the way, I’ll turn this into a yearlong wrapup. But first,
happy holidays to all, and thanks for tolerating me this year. This
year, like the one before it, has been a complete blur. I started
out the new year working, and that trend continued at least five
Even the geese that live at ESPN have a job -- pooping on
sidewalks.

Even the geese that live
at ESPN have a job — pooping on sidewalks.

days a week
for 52 weeks. It’s like those people at ESPN expect me to come in
FIVE DAYS A WEEK and work! Actually, I love my job. I have
continued to become more and more entrenched in Connecticut life,
and it’s starting to feel like home. People still don’t understand
my accent all the time, but I don’t understand theirs either, so we
just usually laugh at each other and call it a day. One co-worker
of mine, Brian Tully, likes to point out when I really slip into
Okie. It’s funny because when I lived in Oklahoma, I often got
accused of not sounding country enough. One time someone said I
sounded like I’m from Boston. Well shit ya’ll, I just don’t know
where I stand! But back to work, which has been what I’ve done most
of this year, and with glee. I love my job, love the people I work
with and am challenged each day to immerse myself in the mode of
TV. My print journalism ways are falling away, and I find myself
straying from AP style more often. I don’t like it, but it’s
happening.
Can you believe ESPN promoted this person?

Can you believe ESPN
promoted this person?

I was promoted in September, from
associate news editor to news editor I, which bumps me into the
management pool. It’s nice, and a nice pay bump. With the
promotion, I adopted a fake British accent and started wearing
full-length gowns and white gloves to work, along with minks and
diamonds (that’s for you Ward, who said I sold out to the corporate
monster and was now part of the 1 percent.) Still, it was a sellout
that I was willing to do. And the day after my promotion went into
effect, my job got more complicated. I feel I’ve earned it, and
hope to keep earning it as I go. I thought it would be fun this
year to write a weekly football column to send to our anchors,
analysts, producers, etc. It was called “Under the Radar Love.” And in typical Sarah
style, I bit off more than I could chew. It was designed to
showcase some of the games that might slip through the cracks in a
society obsessed with SEC football. It worked, and it was fun to
write, but I became like a crack fiend with it, toiling over
numbers and stats and patterns to try to come up with new entries.
I call that success! I’ll probably be doing it again next year. And
for my Okies out there, Oklahoma schools were
mentioned in nearly every installment. They had kind of an
under-the-radar year, so it worked out well. I’ve become the
sort-of Twitter Girl on my news desk, and I’m trying to come up
with new ways to implement guidelines in the finding of and
fleshing out of tweets. I won’t bore you with gory details, but
know this – I follow the maximum amount of people (2,000-ish) and
am on Twitter for at least 10 hours a day. So if you thought I was
rampant on Facebook, wooh boy, lemme tell ya.
I'll miss the river flowing next to my house...

I’ll miss the river
flowing next to my house…

I moved from my quaint little
riverside town of Collinsville, Ct., to bustling Bristol, Ct.,
because I was really tired of the drive. I work until 3 a.m. at
least twice a week, and often have to be back at work by 2 p.m. the
following day. So it made sense to me to cut out the drive time.
Plus, my friend/colleague/supervisor Ken got engaged and decided to
move elsewhere, opening up a fantastic house for me to live in. I
moved right after Thanksgiving, and my stuff is kind of getting
settled. My cat Penny has taken over the second floor of the house.
I haven’t seen her in a month, but she’s eating and all that, so I
know she’s alive. Or I have really hungry mice up there. Leon is
basking in having a fenced backyard again. He’s back to his old
pre-move-to-Connecticut self, frisky and butt-waggling. He’s 8-ish
now, and a little gray around the eyes. But who among us isn’t? Not
to say this in the same breath, but my old family is doing pretty
well too. I’m still single, unless you count my spouse ESPN. I hope
this singlehood doesn’t last forever, but if it does, I’ve reached
that point in my life where I’m not waiting anymore. I’m doing all
the things I was meant to do – travel, explore, work, write, enjoy
my many blessings. It would be nice to not have to do it alone, but
I’m extremely picky and I’ll know it when I see it. I haven’t seen
it yet. And Ryan Braun is engaged, so really, why
bother? {Side note, I became a huge baseball fan this year. Not
strictly because of the aforementioned/sexy Braun, but also because
I think I finally understand it. I found myself this year applying
baseball knowledge to real-world situations, like algebra. I
finally get it. And baseball people are just cool people. It’s
something more Okies should embrace. }
My dad and Melissa at Keuka Lake.

My dad and Melissa at
Keuka Lake.

My dad and Melissa are still in Colleyville, Texas, and Melissa
announced earlier this year that she is retiring from American
Airlines after a really long career with them. Just like every
other corporation, money is somehow tight and she’s taking a
buyout. She’ so great and so boisterous and full of life, I know
she’ll be doing some other job in no time, living life to the
fullest. She continues to be an inspiration and I’m so lucky to
have her in my life. My dad had a minor health scare – well, he
played it minor, I of course had a meltdown – but he’s in great
health again and still kicking ass. He continues to be my best
friend as long as we don’t get into political talk. My sister
Natalie is expecting her first child in March, and I’m planning to
go to West Palm Beach to see her and Baby Boy Garrett shortly
afterward. I’m so proud of her, and she’s just beautiful in
pregnancy. She’s beautiful all the time, but she just positively
glows right now. She hears every single one of my problems and is
so good to me, as she always has been. She is the glue of our
family, and having her son will be yet another tether that keeps us
together. My sister Lila is raising two perfect boys – I got to see
my nephew Jesse, a senior, play basketball while I was briefly in
Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. He’s really good, and has gotten offers,
both academic and athletic, to go just about anywhere in the United States. I’m trying to
Me and Stacy at ESPN in the most-humid part of
the summer.

Me and Stacy at ESPN in
the most-humid part of the summer.

talk him into coming
to UConn. He says it’s
too cold up here – but it’s so close to so much great stuff. JT is
the cutest child ever born, and he’s precocious and charming and
doll-like. She’s got her hands full with him. I’m dragging my
brother Nick to Bristol at some point – he graduated a few days ago
with a master’s in kinesiology and now awaits a dream job. He wants
to be a strength coach. Anyone who’s seen him knows he’ll be good
at it. But I’m forcing him to come see me next year – he helped me
move with two cats and a dog in the car and a bitching sister
driving, so I can understand why he’s hesitant to come back. I’m so
proud of him – he just skated through his master’s degree without
an iota of effort it seems. He’s just too smart for his own good.
My sister Katy lives in Seattle because she wanted to be as far
away from me as possible, I guess. She’s loving life and doing
great, working as a bartender in a hip establishment. She’s hip and
cool, she’s got a super-nice, hilarious boyfriend (Robbie) and
she’s entertaining entrepreneurial possibilities. She’s a dreamer,
and that’s what I love about her. She’ll do what she wants when she
wants, thank you very much, and she’ll be damn good at it too.
She’s so much like me – sad for her! But she’s more self-aware and
confident than I was at her age. She’s just beautiful and
wonderful. Anna and Joel live on the Southside in Chicago – they
moved away from a ritzy area to be with the regular folk on the
Southside, very similar to my move to Bristol. Anna is closer to
graduating from nursing school, and Joel just completed his
theology program. They’re two of the most-fun people I’ve ever been
around, and I’m not saying that just because they’re family. I
honestly don’t know anyone like them, and I cherish every moment I
get with them. We spent several days together at Thanksgiving and
it was basically a laugh riot the whole time.
My cousin Ryan lives here -- and manages to go
to work every day. Wow.

My cousin Ryan lives here
— and manages to go to work every day. Wow.

I got to see
my California cousins (well, two of them) a lot this summer! As
well as their mom and dad. I finally got to go to our family
reunion on Keuka Lake this summer, a trip I’ve only made once
before. Keuka Lake is one of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York.
I spent a week with my dad and Melissa, Aunts Sandee and Maribeth,
and Uncles Jack, Rick and Steve. My cousins John and Ryan were
there, and again, laugh riothood ensued. Dear God I love those
boys. It was a week of fun, sun and frivolity. Our cottage was next
door to a bar. The water was about 10 degrees, so swimming wasn’t
the norm. In that time, I also got to meet/see a whole lot of
family I haven’t seen in YEARS or ever met, my Troll cousins, who
live in upstate New York and Alaska. It was so great getting to
spend time with this part of my family. They’re the artistic side
— so much I could learn from them. I look forward to many more
gatherings with them.
My first trip to NYC, this was the first thing I
saw when I left Grand Central. Okies. We're everywhere.

My first trip to NYC, this
was the first thing I saw when I left Grand Central. Okies. We’re
everywhere.

A few days after returning from Keuka, I went
to Los Angeles to work from the ESPN offices in downtown LA. While
there, I got to meet my cousin Richard’s daughter Maelle, who is
eight months old now. She’s gorgeous, and her mom, Kay, is doing
all the heavy lifting while Richard finishes up his Navy assignment
in Meridian, Miss. They live in Mar Vista, and my Auntie Maribeth
is often there to help. She, Kay and I had a luxurious dinner at
home with Maelle, and I was so glad to be able to have the
opportunity to travel for work AND see my family. My last day in
LA, I elected to take the redeye out of Cali so I could hang with
my cousin Ryan in Laguna Beach. He’s a pilot and showed me around
where he works, then we spent the day in beautiful Laguna Beach
where he lives across the street from the Pacific. Holy crap, I
could’ve gotten used to that. I LOVE the East Coast, but I can see
myself in California should the opportunity ever arise. Ryan and I
went to a great restaurant, offended and were offended by an
accusatory bartender, then wandered around Laguna Beach so I could
find souvenirs. I took two trips to Oklahoma-Texas this year, the
first time to go to a mini-college folks reunion and the second for
Thanksgiving. Both were great, and I got to eat Taco Bueno both
times. What the Connecticut folks refer to as Mexican food makes
Bueno look authentic. I got to hang with Renae, Trey, Oliver, Mark
and Margaret a couple of times, and shared a trip to Dallas with
Elena, which was an unexpected, wonderful event. Nothing like being
in a car with an old friend for more than four hours to make the
trip go by quickly. washmonI traveled by train to go
to Washington, D.C., to see Natalie and our nation’s capital. I had
never been, and went on no sleep, so the train ride there was kind
of a sleepy blur. I’d also never been on a train, so that was cool.
But we saw just about everything I’ve ever wanted to see, and of
course, I bawled like an infant at every national monument. My
sister the archaeologist knows everything, so she was an excellent
narrator/companion and didn’t shoot me in the face when I started
complaining about blisters. (Nat, I’ve since bought good walking
shoes, so please give me another chance.) jaI went to see Jane’s
Addiction in Waterbury, Ct., in March with my Tahlequah/Manhattan
friend Clark Brown. I saw Bruce Springsteen in New Jersey with my
real-life Jersey Girl friend Fran Rotella, who entertained me
greatly with fantastic Italian food and diner grub. I’ve had pork
roll – it’s not just something Ween made up and sang songs about.
It’s like sausage and bologna had a baby. And it’s heaven. The
Italian place we went to in Jersey was across the street from where
they filmed several Sopranos scenes, so yeah, pretty authentic. I
went to New York City twice, and I’ve got many more in me. I fell
in love the second I stepped into Grand Central Station. It’s
intimidating, but awe-inspiring too. My plan is to stay at the
Carlyle Hotel in January so I can see how the other half lives. As
my dear friend Stacy Pratt reminds me, we earned our money, and the
starving poet in each of us won’t hate that we’re making money now
and possibly spending it lavishly. I hope she gets to go with me on
my trip – she lives upstate. She and her husband Joe came to
Connecticut over the summer too, and we got to spend a few days
together.
See my Rosie O'Donnell face?

See my Rosie O’Donnell
face?

The funniest thing that happened this year was
meeting Snoop Dogg while I was under dentist’s anesthesia. I had
four shots of Novocain in my face and had to go to work for a few
hours – no makeup, messy hair, stretchy pants – and of course,
Snoop was there. I had my picture taken with him, but felt the need
to tell him about my harrowing dental visit. Snoop told me I was
beautiful and wrapped his 6-6 frame around my shoulders for a
picture. I look like Rosie O’Donnell in the shot, but he is
grinning like only Snoop can. So at least I can say, I made Snoop
Dogg and his posse laugh.
A typical NYC Saturday - random free concert in
Bryant Park.

A typical NYC Saturday –
random free concert in Bryant Park.

I also met Mike
Gundy, Donovan McNabb and Jerome Bettis. I saw lots of other famous
people but was either too intimidated or too busy to go talk to
them. I truly have a dream job. It’s an insane, brain-draining
dream job, but it’s great nonetheless. Jerry Rice being in the
newsroom still makes me giggle maniacally every now and then, but I
am getting used to it. I attended a summit of bureau reporters and
producers that was like meeting the Mount Rushmore of sports
journalism – it was so fun. I am so glad I found my calling, and am
thrilled to be working in such a fun medium as sports and in such a
large spotlight. I hope it doesn’t come off as braggadocios – I
still just feel extremely lucky. The Thunder made it to the Finals,
which was the sports highlight of my year. The second best sports
story of my year was the Brewers being 14 KDgames out of the playoff
picture and then getting to within 1.5 games before injuries and
the Nationals came to town. And the most important part of the year
was that we all made it through the Mayan Apocalypse without too
many scratches. Of course it’s only the 22nd. Seriously though,
thanks for reading my slop and for supporting me. Happy holidays,
and please keep in touch. You don’t have to write a novel like I
just did. And if you find yourself in the Northeast quadrant of the
United States, come on up to Bristol-town.

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Filed under Brain Disorders, Connecticut, ESPN, Family, Fun!, General Nonsense, Kevin Durant, Moving, New York, Oklahoma, Politics?, Sports, Tahlequah, Travel, TV

Vacation, how my family is the best, and my ESPN anniversary

You know those things in life that you don’t plan for, the ones you have no expectations for, that end up being some of the best times in your life?

I’ve had a few of them in the past year. I had a week of them last week. I sit here two days out of vacation still laughing at jokes and incidents from the vacay, the now-inside jokes my cousins and I shared and just the bizarre nature of my family.

I sit here looking back at my first year in Connecticut, still wondering how I got here, but pleased as hell that I’m here.

This is the kind of blog that’s going to take subheads. I’ve missed breaking those bad boys out – editors are so nerdy – so here I go.

Yes, I took this picture of myself. Yes, I’m wearing a hat. My Wicked Stepmother (haha) made me. The Waterfront is in the background — I’m standing on our awesome Big Dock outside the cottage.

On Keuka Lake

I spent six days in upstate New York with my family, on Keuka Lake, in the gorgeous Finger Lakes region. My family has been going there forEVER and I’d only been once, when I was like 10 or 11. Living in Oklahoma and being a workaholic didn’t afford many opportunities for visiting upstate New York. Now, I look forward to going every year, or at least way more often.

Keuka, between Penn Yan Village and Hammondsport, N.Y., is where the water flows as well as the wine. Vineyards dot the landscape, which is replete with rolling hills and bluffs, vistas and meadows. Roadside fruit and veggies stands pop out of nowhere this time of year, hawking the sweetest corn you’ll ever taste. Mennonite wagons are plentiful, and signs warn you of upcoming buggies containing bonneted lasses and their bearded brethren.

The topography isn’t too different from Connecticut, and it certainly wasn’t any cooler outside, but being in the waters my grandfather used to fish was – well, it was inspirational and uplifting.

Not that I spent a lot of time pondering that while I was there. I hashed those thoughts over on the drive up and back. Most of the time in the cottage was spent laughing, boating, sunning, drinking and talking. I don’t drink that much anymore, but on this trip I would’ve made Charles Bukowski blush and Jim Morrison cheer. Our cottage was next door to a bar and a short distance from another bar. Not to mention my aunts, uncles and parents kept buying more beer. It was kind of perfect.

It started like this – my dad and my cousin John flew into Hartford, then I gave them a tour of ESPN. They got to meet Herm Edwards, among others, and John is a huge sports fan, so it was A DELIGHT (James Lipton voice) to see him and my dad’s eyes as we walked through my place of employment.

We left the next day for Keuka. We arrived later than planned, which is the way I like to road trip. My Uncle Jack (The Patriarch) rented a boat, and thus began a weekend of controlled debauchery, moonlight boat rides, ridiculous giggling, a little foosball and relaxation.

I spent a lot of time with John and his brother Ryan, who got there a few days later, but also got to spend scads of time with my dad, who is having surgery next week and with whom I was excited to spend time. (Note: My fam and I also had an extensive conversation about ending sentences with prepositions, so I’m trying to avoid that. Yes, we’re definitely related.) But that’s the way it typically works out – I always hang with my sisters and cousins most. I have a great bond with all of ‘em. I might’ve forced both John and Ryan to promise we’d do this when our parents are old. I might’ve been a bit drunk. But I meant it.

The bar next to the cottage, The Waterfront, was where Sunday night started and ended. They have this thing called Clammin’ and Jammin’, and a band played the early part of the night – one dude got so into it, he undressed, much to the chagrin of every woman in the place. Probably the men, too.

After the band went home, John and I sat outside the tiki part of the bar until we were invited by the locals to sit up front with them. John proceeded to tell everyone I work at ESPN, and then the night took a ridiculous (and somewhat embarrassing for me) turn. I answered all the questions, they bought shots, and then it all got kinda hazy. I took pictures of a fish John caught – I don’t remember taking the pictures, and it’s more of John’s drunken face and less of the alleged fish. He swears it flopped back in the water.

Somewhere in the middle of all that – before extreme drunkenness, of course — we went on a midnight boat ride with my uncles. Gorgeous.

We also visited the Switzerland Inn, or the Switz as it’s called, a place of legend among my family and where Ryan nearly got into a fight with the biggest, dumbest dude I’ve ever seen. Ryan was just being a smartass, as usual, but apparently you don’t poke the local bear. I do not doubt Ryan’s toughness, but he’s far too pretty to get his face bashed in. I thought I was going to have to do some fast-talking.

I also met or was reintroduced to the Troll side of my family (yes, that’s a family name – you shan’t make fun). They live all over Alaska, in New York, in Texas, in Seattle – all over the place. I’d met a few of them, but certainly not all. Of course, we had a great time. They are a fabulous bunch of folks. They stayed across the lake, and we boated over a few nights for excellent dinners, beer and wine tastings and conversation. The first night was a tribute to one of the Troll sisters who died in December. It was touching and sweet, and even though I’d never met Mimi, I felt her presence and, me being me, I cried.

What surprised me about the whole trip was that I hadn’t really thought about it before I went. Work had been crazy, I’d had a lot going on there, and I didn’t let it build up in my head. I think that’s what made it so great – it was an unexpected six-day pleasure trip. And honestly, my family is just so fun and so goddamned goofy. We’re excellent conversationalists too. It was one of my better vacations.

My year anniversary at ESPN

Just a random picture of Ryan Braun. Le Sigh.

The day before I left Keuka, Aug. 1, was my one-year anniversary at the Worldwide Leader. I’m still in love with my job. Most days I leave with a smile on my face. I hope they like me too – I want to stay there as long as they’ll have me. I feel like I’ve found what I was looking for on the workfront (still waiting for Ryan Braun or one of his brethren to realize they need a short, pleasantly plump Shiksa woman to make their lives complete, but that’s another blog).

I think ESPN might be my lifeline. I had to do it. People say I’m brave for packing it up and moving away, but I think it was a foregone conclusion. I had to do it, and I’m not looking back, especially when it’s 111 in Oklahoma today!

Over the past year, I’ve been afforded so many opportunities to be amazed, pleased and to excel. It’s been a busy, crazy, intoxicating year (not in the aforementioned beer-y way, though). I like to say that on Oct. 9, 2011, Tim Tebow was named starting QB of the Denver Broncos, and Joe Paterno was fired from Penn State on Nov. 9, 2011, and it’s been nine kinds of crazy ever since. And that brings me to…

The bureau meeting
Without getting into a lot of organizational chart-job title-ESPN insider info stuff, suffice it to say there are a lot of mega-talented folks at ESPN, many of whom roam the countryside with microphones in hand, stopping at sporting events to report what’s going on. If you’re a sports fan, you’ve seen these people on TV. They are bureau reporters, and once a year, they and their requisite bureau producers converge in Bristol for a few days of workshops, etc. I got to take part in these workshops this year, as I work hand-in-hand with these guys every day. I had talked to them all on the phone, but only met a couple face-to-face. It was an exciting day for me – to be surrounded by so many talented, hard-working people who have the same ambitions in life as me, the same work ethic and the same drive. It was another one of those “is this real life?” moments.

We all met for dinner one night, and I sat at a table filled with pedigree and talent. At the table was Vince Doria, senior vice president and director of news, who is a down-to-earth, unassuming and brilliant man. Also at my table were reporters Jeremy Schaap, T.J. Quinn and Mark Schwarz. If you’re not a sports fan and don’t know those names, trust me, they’re good. And hilarious. I laughed all night and felt included in the club. I am honored to be a part of ESPN, thrilled to be a part of all that talent, and overjoyed that I’ve been given so many blessings in life. I don’t know if I deserve them all, but I’ll always be grateful.

Losing weight
I’ve turned a corner in my thinking, and even though I have a condition that doesn’t make weight loss easy, I’m going to work hard. I just want to be healthy. I got the happy part down, but I want to be healthy enough to enjoy this happiness for a long time. I lost three pounds on vacation – I’m proud of that. I think I’ve finally realized that it’s not a diet I’m on, but the rest of my life being healthy. I spent the first 36 years (give or take a year or two) eating whatever I wanted and not exercising religiously. I’m so proud of my cousin John, who never really had a huge weight problem but inherited some of the Hart genes. He’s worked his ass off and he looks fantastic. He and my fabulous father continue to be inspirations.

So to recap, things are going pretty good for me right now. Except for the whole no-Jewish man thing. I’m still working on that one. Wish me luck, even though I feel guilty asking for anything else! 🙂

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Filed under Brain Disorders, Connecticut, ESPN, Family, Fun!, General Nonsense, Health, Love, New York, Sports, Travel

Cheap humor: Typos

Note: Most typos in this blog are intentional. MOST. 

Since words are my business, and business is food, then I present food for thought: Typos are the best. Instead of rapping your own knuckles with a ruler every time you make one, laugh at it, especially if it’s one that can be made into a dirty joke or longstanding bit of humor.

Case in point, the pointy case that inspired this blog: This very evening, I was texting with my Best Good Friend Renae, and I told her she needed to watch “The Walking Dead” on AMC. I’m sure all you zombie fans out there agree with that – but what made it hilarious was that I accidentally typed “The Walking Deaf.” Not to pick on the deaf, but the good deaf people I know are a skosh less scary than zombies. “They’re doing sign language! AAAAGGHHH!!” was my next text. It got Renae laughing, and lessened some of my unnatural fear of zombies. See? Cheap humor with long-lasting benefits. 

A google search of  "The Walking Deaf" brought up this very cute image. I hope that dog is not a zombie.

A google search of "The Walking Deaf" brought up this very cute image. I hope that dog is not a zombie.

Now every time “Walking Dead” comes on I’m going to imagine hearing aid-equipped folks walking around not doing much of anything. Just walking.

I worked for a long time on a sports copy desk for the Tulsa World. It was some of the best, and most educational, times of my career. And during that time, we had a lot of stressful shit go down. But through it all, the typos kept us laughing. My old deskmates and I still converse in a language that not many will understand, the language of overstressed copy editors laughing hysterically at each other’s mistakes. I’ll do my damndest to explain it.

I present, K-Tel’s Tulsa World Sports Desk Greatest Hits of Typos!

  • Sprots. This was the most common of our typos. It’s an easy mistake to make when you look at the proximity of the letters, and with the commonality of which we used the word. But it became so funny that every time one of us effed that word up, we had to tell everyone. The sports desk was made up of a circle of desk around the slot desk. The slot is the person in charge of getting the section out every night. Anyway, if there was a sprots incident, it usually got yelled loudly in our department. Which I’m sure agitated the news desk to no end. (Note, now they’re all one big universal desk. I’m sure the sprots folks have had to tone down their rambunctiousness, which is sad to me.)
  • Cowbots. Since both the Dallas Cowboys and Oklahoma State Cowboys are near Tulsa, we used the mascot Cowboys a lot in headlines and other display type (that’s everything besides the story itself.) Cowbots is a mistake I still make at ESPN, since we do a lot of reporting on that team in Dallas that I’m writing off. But that’s another story. Cowbots became such a popular typo that my dear friend Stacey named her fantasy football team The Cowbots. Pretty sure she wins the name challenge hands-down.
  • Toronot: We made-believe that Toronot was the Anti-Canada. This was a common typo during baseball season.
  • Jerf Gerden: I’m pretty sure this was only my mistake, but went down in history. For some reason, every time I typed Jeff Gordon’s name I fucked it up. It came out “Jerf Gerden” once. We had a guy on the desk named Jeff Huston who bore the brunt of this typo, since he was henceforth known as Jerf.
  • Stroms. No, not Thurmond. But since weather often affected sporting events, and Oklahoma has its own weather pattern that only meteoroligcal masterminds like Travis Meyer and Gary England can predict. Thus the need for sprots (ha!) people to write about stroms/storms. We had one whole high school baseball season that had to be played well into June to finish because of stroms.

There’s another incident that I can’t really explain — and it wasn’t so much a typo as a complete shut off of all my brain functioning while trying to get University of Oklahoma pages done in about a 10-minute window. I was trying to write a cutline (caption for you non-newspaper folks) about Bob Stoops having something stuck in his craw… and I basically wrote that Bob Stoops was stuck in his own craw. What the hell is a craw, you ask? I don’t know. Something to do with a chicken gizzard.

And on the subject of Bob Stoops, we all agreed that “Boob Stops” was a typo we were sure to make at any moment. Some nights, we  could only make fixes to pages if it something crucial, we called those “Boob Stops” nights.

I know there are a lot more. And I know I’ll make a lot more in the future. There’s one I’ve made at ESPN that fortunately I caught – we send out this thing called the Hot List every few hours. In the subject line of the email, I type, in all caps, making it even more privy to typos, “HOT LIST.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve accidentally typed HOT KIST. That just makes me sound trampy. And that is NOT the image I want to convey as a proper, prim news editor for the Worldwide Leader of Sprots.

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Filed under Brain Disorders, ESPN, General Nonsense, Newspapers, Tulsa, TV, Uncategorized, weather

Accidental anarchy, a breakup, and how I refuse to stop being a 14-year-old

Because I’m an accidental anarchist, and a wanter of things that I can’t have, I feel compelled to write today.

Anarchy socks, for when you really, really want to show the world how tough you are!

I’ve had a perfectly good computer sitting in front of me all these weeks since I last posted, but have I blogged? Heavens no. I’ve been too busy completely immersing myself in all things Penn State, Tim Tebow, NBA, being a crazy person, college football and Gossip Girl. More on Gossip Girl later…

But my computer has quit me like a bad habit. We had a good run; we’ve been together since 2005, that’s longer than any other relationship I’ve ever had, so you can understand why I’m beside myself with grief. Fortunately, I backed all my scads of music up the week before. I had preminisced – no return of the salad days (Points if you get that reference.)

So of course, without a computer, my writing need emerges, and I take to the keyboard in my cube at ESPN, where I’m sort of working today. We have these things called prep days, and I got all the prep stuff out of the way so I could use the computer for more important things like the Garish Chicken.

On to my anarchy, which wasn’t as much accidental as just plain dumb. My Oklahoma car registration expired a while back, and I didn’t realize that Connecticut took having a registered car so seriously. I worked through the holidays, and on the night after Christmas I got pulled over for having a headlight out. The officer warned me that the next guy who stopped me would tow my car for being unregistered. I got the headlight fixed and vowed to get my registration with my next paycheck, and to be a good citizen until then, keeping out of reach of the long arm of the law.

So on the next payday, I couldn’t go to the DMV because of work, but I was going to go the next day. I set off to work, going a way I never usually go because I needed gas, and I got pulled over again a mile from my home. The previous cop was right – they towed my ass home. A MILE. And charged me $100 for the mile tow. Cash. They wrecker driver took me to an ATM.

WANT.

Thus began the process of trying to get my car legal. I had to call every branch of the DMV between here and Oklahoma City it seemed. I need a certified letter from God that I exist and did not steal my 2003 Toyota (if I was going to steal, wouldn’t I aim higher?) This all happened last Thursday, a week ago. I am still waiting for all the paperwork to come together.

In the meantime, anarchy urge quelled, I am in a rental car that is going to end up costing me a kidney. Or I’ll have to wash cars – I assume that’s the rental car place alternative to washing dishes, right? It’s my own fault for not taking care of this when I had the money and the time.

It just doesn’t seem like I’ve had the time. Because:

* On Oct. 9, Tim Tebow was named starting QB of the Denver Broncos.

* On Nov. 9, Joe Paterno was fired from Penn State.

* From Dec. 9-Jan.-9, we haven’t stopped talking-reading-investigating either topic.

* I decided on a funny whim based on a funny moment on a serious Sunday to take on a self-improvement plan. I’ll reveal that funny moment someday, but not now, and NOT HERE.

My days at ESPN are long. But they are interesting, and I usually leave happy. That doesn’t mean that I don’t go into a sort of coma when I’m off work, but I leave Bristol, Ct., smiling and head back to my idyllic little ‘burg, where I’m also happy.

It’s just been hard to wrap my head around reality – all those car registrations and bills and real-life things that I had down in Oklahoma seem to have vanished somewhere along the way, possibly in Pennsylvania. Side note, the entirety of Pennsylvania, sans Philly, is like Adair and Cherokee counties – you get one free killin’, because no one would know that you even murdered anyone. As someone told me a few weeks ago, Pennsylvania is 5 percent Philly and 95 percent Alabama. I subbed in Oklahoma in my mind because that’s what I do.

I’m beginning to feel at home. I like it here. I know that I’ll return to Oklahoma someday and that I’ll be buried there with my people, but I like it here. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop getting excited when I see a Tulsa reference in a story on our air, or that I’m going to cheer any less for any team with even the slightest Oklahoma influence.

As I typed that last sentence, I got an email from the Tulsa 66ers of D-League fame. I miss you too, Oklahoma.

I’ll be glad when this car registration thing is over. I am so near the end of a lot of milestones in my life – paying off my car and debt, being free of my home in Oklahoma, losing weight and becoming healthier – the last part of the waiting is cruel, and this latest chapter of not being able to drive my car because I’m an idiot just magnifies the wait.

But someday, I’ll be a real adult. With a real goal in life. And someday, I won’t have to reach so deeply into my bank accounts to recover from stupidity.

I am lucky. And though I may sound a trifle whiny today, not a day goes by that I don’t realize my blessings, and that makes the wait worthwhile. That makes life seem a little bit easier.

Double-hotness... so close together... Oh, and they're not bad at football either.

Now if Tim Tebow and the Broncos win the Super Bowl, I might be physically chained to my desk. I’ll be forced to watch highlights over and over. But that’s OK – Tim’s hot. He may be the Antichrist, but that’s another (slightly serious) blog.

Chuck Bass, AKA Ed Westwick... He brings sexy back and then back some more.

Oh, and Gossip Girl? So far out of the realm of normalcy it’s captured my fancy. That and Chuck Bass. I watched five seasons of GG over a three-week period. And it was good. My inner 14-year-old blossomed and bloomed. I may someday be a real adult, but I’ll never give her up!

And me and the computer have decided to take a break. I’ll probably replace Dell. He’s been good to me, but I can do better.

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Filed under Connecticut, ESPN, General Nonsense, Tulsa

Jane’s Addiction: Welcome back, old friend! (Warning, it’s a record review!)

I could be called the World’s Biggest Perry Farrell apologist — but even I couldn’t make up excuses for his last project, Satellite Party — just not my kind of party. Members of the Beastie Boys probably kept their respective penises out of the mashed potatoes whilst hearing it. (It’s Beastie Boys humor. If you don’t get it, Google it.)

But my love for the Big Three Jane’s Addiction albums — the first self-titled live album (which I consider a full album, since it contains so many songs you can’t find elsewhere), “Nothing’s Shocking” and “Ritual de lo Habitual” — is never-ending and deep. It’s a love that began on my BFF’s bedroom floor in 1988. I heard the opening strains of “Up the Beach,” fell in love hard and instantaneously, and was buying the live album a few weeks later, waiting on tenterhooks for “Ritual” and buying it the day it came out, with the banned and now-available cover art… the insert in the cassette with the lyrics and heroin-fueld diatribes of band members… Damn I loved being a weird kid. I still love being a weird kid.

Then JA broke up, and no one was surprised, because Dave Navarro had lost his mind and went to hang out with the only band with more heroin baggage than Jane’s, the Chili Peppers. Plus, Perry seemed to be going kind of off the deep end, though I guess he really wasn’t.  (Side note, Navarro’s joining of RHCP, sadly, was when I really  started hating RHCP — and that’ll never change. They’re just dead to me, though their first four albums aren’t.) Eric and Stephen just kind of shucked along, doing albums with Infectious Grooves, Polar Bear, Banyan… and Perry did the Porno for Pyros thing… it reminded me of when I was a kid and Duran Duran broke up. I grieved, but bought the new stuff happily.

Nothing's Shocking is sublime. It is perfect. It is beyond measure. It'll never happen again. "The Great Escape Artist" is good, however, even if it does make you go back and listen to the old stuff afterward.

But back to my welcoming back of JA. The new album, “The Great Escape Artist,” is GOOD. I’ve read reviews that panned it — but I don’t think they get it. This is undiluted JA –whispery weird and whiny Perry lyrics, meaty guitar hooks, spooky/sexy/indulgent percussion — Stephen Perkins is the finest drummer of my generation, bar none — and, while more produced than past efforts, a revisit to the coolness that I first hungrily supped in eighth grade.

But imma let you freaks off with a warning: It’s not “Nothing’s Shocking.” That quality of album just won’t EVER happen again. This’n

Great Escape Artist, Jane's Addiction, from janesaddiction.org

Great Escape Artist, Jane's Addiction, from janesaddiction.org

is a grown-up but still cool JA. It’s more reminiscent of that sound, but it’s not 1988 anymore. They’ve made quality albums since then, each a bit more different. I love the Porno for Pyros albums almost as much as I do the JA albums, but they’re not Nothing’s Shocking. I/we/they can never recapture that magic. They make a different kind of magic, and I like this new effort enough to give it several turns of the disc and not just put it on my iPhone and listen to tracks. I’ll listen to the whole thing. “Strays” didn’t give me that — so I’m glad to have that back. I’m a fan of album rock, and JA and the Pixies were the kings of whole-album rock until grunge came along…

(Side note 2: I love that I believe my era is the best and can’t be topped. I have officially reached a music nirvana, no pun intended. Mine’s better than yours, kiddo.)

I have grown up with the band — maybe that’s why I’m attracted to this more mature effort. I didn’t love “Strays,” though it had its moments, but GEA feels like a Jane’s Addiction album.

So far, the initial track “Underground” has really struck me as brilliant. No, Perry, you’ll never leave the underground, like Liz Phair, Dave Grohl, Courtney Love and so many other “undergrounders” have. Yet you’ve survived, like others who’ve refused to change haven’t — Layne Staley and Shannon Hoon come to mind, just on quick reflection.

Navarro is back to that piercing guitar solo, that searing sound that is solely JA. It’s not present in every song, but when you hear it, it’s brilliant and refreshes my soul.

The only thing missing is the fabulous Eric Avery. I don’t know what he’s doing, but I miss him. And Perry still talks a whole lot about that wife that he is so mad for — he’s such a romantic, albeit a weird one (the bizarro “Gift” was co-written and dedicated to one of his girls, Casey Niccoli, and while I watched it because it was JA, I felt kinda dirty afterward and probably showered.)

I bought the deluxe version of GEA, and it came with live versions of some of the greats. I got chills when “Three Days” started and heard a crowd cheering for them.

I so wanted to see JA at their album release party in NYC in mid-October. But I am still too chicken to go to NYC by myself and know no one who’d come with me. I am going to see them before I die, as God is my witness.

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Filed under Brain Disorders, General Nonsense, Music

The Reason God Made… Connecticut?

… because Red Sox fans have to live somewhere? To be the rest of the nation’s tree farm? ESPN?

All of these things are in the “truth” category. Another truth? No one understands a goddamn thing I say here. From the Asians upstairs (more on that later) to checkers at the Shop-Right. And I don’t understand them either. Ray of light on this, though — they seem to understand me well enough at ESPN, because that place is a true melting pot. We’ve got Dallas, from Phoenix, Cleveland – he’s from Detroit; and Tex… well, I don’t remember where Tex come from.  Those of you who know me know that I like to pepper most conversations with quotes from Forrest Gump, so that last bit shouldn’t surprise you.

Back to my accent. I have one. I had no idea. But these Ct. folks have several different accents, all rolled into one state. There’s Boston, New York, Philly — all different, but congealed into this nice little New England melange.

And here comes this Okie, with a bit of Texas and English-degree’d clarity mixed in, adding to said melange. I went to the grocery store yesterday and was asked if I had a Shop-Right card at the checkout. What followed was a series of confused staccato sentences between me and the heavily-Boston’d-up clerk who was about 17. “Ya got a Shahp-Raight-Cahd?” he asked. “What’s that?” I replied. Somehow, I ended up with a Shop-Right card, thank God. Lord knows we can’t have me walking around Connecticut without the power of savings at my fingertips. Any little bit helps. This place is expensive.

I live in a relatively low-rent apartment, though, in a wonderful city, Collinsville, near Canton. It’s cute — and those who know me would say it’s very Sarah. Old, weird… it’s kind of a basement apartment in that part of it is underground. The other part is exposed and facing what appears to be Sherwood Forest. The whole lot of Connecticut is gorgeously tapestried in lush greenery. I understand why people flock here for the leaves. Good God, there are trillions of trees here. It’s beautiful.

It’s a really old house split into separate living quarters. An Asian family that apparently practices tap-dancing in the morning lives above me and in the other apartment too. They’re all family. I’m quite sure they can hear everything I say/do. It doesn’t help that I work nights again and am up watching foul-mouthed TV at 3 a.m. I’ve had to relearn how to be quiet. You live by yourself long enough in a your own home and you apparently become incredibly loud. I’ve been slamming doors, singing loudly and shouting at random things at all hours for seven years now.

But I can’t complain — I love my job. It’s a bizarre change, to TV from newspapers. I’m getting a crash course in TV production and how ESPN operates. For the rest of this month, and some of September, I’ll be learning. And boy, I hope I’ve learned. It’s a vastly different world. Fortunately, the desk I work on is composed of mostly newspaper people, so that helps. They can correlate one task to another — “this is like when…” type of situations.

I still feel like an idiot daily. And lost. I wish I could use my beloved GPS on the ESPN campus, which is 120 acres and growing. It’s mammoth. And kinda small at the same time. It feels like I’m in college except I live off-campus.

It’s taken some time to getting used to seeing the anchors, athletes and reporters, and the last week I’ve worked with them a lot. They’re just ordinary folks. Scott Van Pelt‘s grandparents were Okies, he told me — they lived in Miami. He even pronounced it correctly (for you non-Okies, it’s Mia-MUH. The correct way, we think.) When I marveled at this, he said, “If I’d have said it wrong, you wouldn’t have believed they were from there.” True dat, SVP.  It’s surreal, but I’m getting used to it.

I’ve certainly gotten used to the weather.

The highest temperature it’s reached here since I’ve moved was about 86. Usually it’s under 80. It’s humid, sticky — but relatively perfect for August. It’s been raining since Saturday night, so going on 24 hours, but not Oklahoma-style rain. It’s just a pleasant, slow-drip, soaking rain. Perhaps that’s why there are so many trees? I love rainy days, especially rainy days when I’m off work, so today I loaded up in the car and went to the town of Enfield to do some shopping. I listened to Van Morrison‘s “Astral Weeks” on the way — perfection. On the way home, I listened to U2’s “October.” Blissful.

So yeah, I think I’m gonna like it here. I’ve always been of the mind that home is where you make it (so you wanna see homos naked, who cares? — name THAT movie!) but Connecticut seems pretty welcoming and luscious, kinder than I thought and close enough to everything that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

I haven’t listened to any Oklahoma-based music still — don’t want to forcibly make myself homesick. I know that day is coming.

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Filed under ESPN, General Nonsense, Newspapers, Travel, Tulsa, weather

Comparisons: 1995 Sarah vs. 2011 Sarah (Introspection 101)

I’m a few months from my 37th birthday. That doesn’t look as bad on the computer screen as it feels in my head.

I realize that 37 isn’t technically old. It ain’t 22, which I’m pretty sure was my favorite year on earth. I say pretty sure because I don’t remember much of it. Ah, college. Ah, Tahlequah. The entire city has an above-the-legal-limit blood alcohol level, I’m convinced.

I’ve been a Tulsan since 2002, after spending 10 years in Tahlequah. This year, especially, has been pivotal, and I have a feeling the Wheel of Fortune hasn’t stopped turning, either for bad or for evil. (I’m not talking about the show, though in my advanced years, I like that a lot now too.)

Events in my life seem to be spiraling quickly. Once you set the ol’ wheel in motion in my life, you have to hold on. I’m slow to motivate, but once I’ve got my mind made up, it’s on. I blame my fiery Aries mama for this.

Some new developments, for those who care: Still waiting to hear from ESPN. Lost my job at the Food Bank. Putting my house on the market. Hopefully doing some freelance work. Minimizing, my stuff and my rotund self.

To kick off this effort (that sound SO MUCH like a press release) I’ve decided to pit 2011 Sarah against 1995 Sarah. It’s a startling contrast, and I’m proud to say that 2011 Sarah wins… not in the Charlie Sheen sense, but still.

1995 Sarah’s job: Manager, Del Rancho restaurant.
2011 Sarah’s job: Assistant editor, Tulsa World.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s bedtime:  5 a.m., or whenever we heard the birds and the streetsweeper, we knew it was time to retire.
2011 Sarah’s bedtime: A much more reasonable 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., but only because I now only have one job and it’s a later start. And I’m a natural night owl.
Advantage: 2011, though 1995 was way more fun.

Oh, Sarah. Where did you get these ridiculous outfits? The hair alone is bad enough. But I thought I was bad-ass. Hilarious. It was 1995. That's my excuse.

1995 Sarah’s clothes: Hippie not-so-chic, cut-off corduroys, flower-print Doc Martens, band T-shirts, no makeup, no hairdryer, no straightener, no jewelry. Sack-like dresses
2011 Sarah’s clothes: Black pants in various cuts, black dresses, solid-print tops with black cardigans, black and more black, a spot of jewelry, hair blown dry every day and straightened, or at least brushed, makeup every day.
Advantage: 2011, by a longshot.

1995 Sarah’s diet: Pasta-Roni, Taco Bell, sandwiches. Chinese food from Grand China.
2011 Sarah’s diet: Whatever I can find, Taco Bueno, homemade Chinese food, lots of soup.
Advantage: Tie. I still eat horrible food on occasion. I really wish my parents would’ve let me have more fast food growing up so I didn’t feel the compulsion to make up for lost time.

1995 Sarah’s fitness: 12-ounce curls, bong-lifting and other recreational “hobbies,”  couch-jumping.
2011 Sarah’s fitness: Lots of walking, active gym membership (just got a new one at the Y, going today for the first time!)… but more than that, an actual knowledge of the need for fitness instead of a general lack of caring.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s relationships: Blah.
2011 Sarah’s relationships: Blah, but don’t really give a shit.
Advantage: Blah.

1995 Sarah’s inner peace: Fabricated by copious amounts of weed and alcohol
2011 Sarah’s inner peace: Somewhat tattered, but at least it can pass a drug test. Lack of paranoia is refreshing.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s ambition: Throwing the Best Party Ever, seeing more shows than you.
2011 Sarah’s ambition: Sky-high. Maybe I can still become a singer (kidding). Entering poetry and short-story contests.  Trying for new job on the East Coast. The Novel isn’t just a dream anymore, it’s rising to the surface.
Advantage: Depends on the outcome. Some days, I really miss the carefree days of college, when I was just accruing debt instead of dreaming about paying it off. I miss going to two shows a week, drinking shots every night, etc. But now, I wake up with more hope instead of hangovers. If I accomplish everything I hope to, then definitely Advantage 2011.

1995 Sarah’s lodging: Cheap rent house. At one time, we paid $53/month to rent this cheap little house because so many people lived in it.
2011 Sarah’s lodging: My own house, which I’m about to put on the market. Homeownership is great, some of the time.
Advantage: I wouldn’t be saying this last year, but advantage 1995. I miss renting. I miss the freedom to just up and leave. I hope my house sells.

1995 Sarah’s friends: I saw them every day. I had a lot. I loved them like family.
2011 Sarah’s friends: I don’t see them enough. I have many left. I love them like family.
Advantage: Tie. Damn we had fun. I made the best friends I could’ve ever made in college, and fortunately, most of them are still just a phone call away. The slight tip of the scale would go to 1995, but 2011 is strong in the knowledge that they’re not going anywhere. Love you guys.

 1995 Sarah’s cash flow: I lived paycheck to paycheck, but didn’t hardly have any bills. Always had money for clothes and … well, everything.
2011 Sarah’s cash flow: I live paycheck to paycheck, but I’m doing what I love. Never have money.
Advantage: 2011, though it’s a close call. In 1995, I didn’t even have credit cards. I spent like there was no tomorrow and lived for financial aid’s change checks. At least in 2011 I have some accountability, and am paying off the debt I accrued in the early 2000s.

1995 Sarah’s music: Jane’s Addiction, Liz Phair, PJ Harvey, Nirvana, The Doors, Tripping Daisy, Ween, Hole, Pearl Jam, Flaming Lips, anything “stoner rock” or “trippy rock.”
2011 Sarah’s music: Boundless. Ween (for the win!), Bob Dylan, Professor Longhair, The Modern Lovers, Sex Pistols, Nat King Cole, The Libertines, U2, Jane’s Addiction, Balfa Brothers, Roxy Music, Duran Duran, Morrissey/Smiths, Black Sabbath, Pavement, Norah Jones… the list goes on.
Advantage: 2011. Technology has made my music library swell to unbelievable heights. I don’t get to go to as many shows as before, but I can immerse myself in music so much easier than before. It’s still my No. 1 hobby, which hasn’t changed since 1978, but now it’s all at my fingertips… HUGE advantage 2011.

There are more comparisons, but these are the ones I’ve undertaken. I challenge you to pit yourself against another time and see what era comes out the winner. It’s enlightening to see how far you’ve come, and it makes you realize that you’re got it pretty good.

Advantage: Sarah.

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Things to do before the Rapture (Saturday)

It’s been a busy few weeks for me. I’ll elaborate later, probably with pictures. Not THOSE kind of pictures… those don’t get downloaded.

Other failed attemps at Rapture

An earlier failed attemps at Rapture... OR WAS IT?

I’ve been reading with scant interest the reports of the Rapture wiping out all of humanity on Saturday. I’m Episcopalian; as far as I know we don’t really believe in Rapture. Then again, we’re kinda like Nell sometimes: “Tay in the wind, chickapee,” just sorta swinging from side to side, hoping our beliefs will find purchase… But Rapture hasn’t been brought up as far as I know.

But suffice it to say, the idea of Rapture A) is inspiration enough for a blog; and B) makes me want to trade in my to-do list for an “actually want to do” list.

And of course, I’m a broke-ass journalist, so I don’t have the funds to do fun stuff like “Sail to Italy” or “Buy device that will explode land so I can sail in a straight line to Italy nonstop.” So I won’t offer any suggestions that will require lots of money.*

(* = OK, one will cost a lot. But I have ideas on where to get the cash.)

So what can you do on a limited budget, to satisfy your need to accomplish something/do something fun/fuck around before the Rapture?

Prince: Just don't look 'em in the eye.

Prince: Just don't look 'em in the eye.

* Call the Guy. You know the one, Dr. Everything Be All Right, ‘stead of asking how much of your time is left, ask him much of your mind, baby… Sorry, every now and then Prince just takes over my body. I looked him in the eye. But seriously. You should call The Guy or The Girl and tell ‘em what’s up. It’s easy. Just say, “I’ve always loved you, I can’t live without you and don’t want to, so it’s a good thing the world is ending because you’re A) Married B) In Witness Protection C) currently renewing the protective order, or D) A commitmentphobe who’s just not that into me.” Just make the call! This Rapture thing’s for sure, right?
  

DO IT! We're all gonna die anyway.

The KFC DoubleDown: On any Rapture-Friendly Menu.

* Eat a KFC Double-Down. I’ve wanted to since KFC foisted this upon us, and even though I inhale tacos like there is no tomorrow (haha!), the Double-Down seems like something you’d eat only if you were sure the End O’ Days was around the bend. My brother eats them, but he also can bench-press a 1980s-era Dodge Ram. He can eat whatever he wants and it turns to Pure Steel.

* Graffiti your own house. Since I’ve been a homeowner, the same week that Katrina happened – shoulda been an omen – I’ve wanted to do something really crazy like tag my own house. I’m not good with spray-painting, I don’t think, since I can barely scrawl my name using an actual stylus. But wouldn’t it be fun? I’d spray-paint Charles Bukowski quotes on my garage door. Now THAT’s irony, folks. No one will be around to get it, but at least I got it.

Steelers, no.

Not a Steelers fan, but I've always been quite the Mike Tomlin fan. Meow.

* Go black. (Stay with me on this one… I promise it’s not racist.) As the ol’ saying goes, you can never go back, so now’s the time! If you can’t live with the idea of actually expressing your desire for another human being based on what they look like, the Rapture list is made for you!  I’ve always thought this phrase ridiculous, but then again, I’m attracted to everything, even the occasional table lamp. Skin color has absolutely nothing to do with who I’m attracted to, and it never will. I’ve “gone black,” and been back, and “gone black” again, then been back again. I’ve even “gone toast-colored.” But if you’re one of those people who’s kinda freaked out by race, always wanted to try it but are afraid of What The Neighbors Will Think, this is your week!

Her womb was so polluted

Her womb was so polluted, she couldn't even have a little baby. -- Tony Montana

* Go Scarface on a pile of cocaine. Or whatever you’ve always wanted to do. But remember: While I’m 100 percent sure that the Rapture is coming, (It says so on the Internet) on the off-chance that it’s not, you still might be random drug-tested the next day. And who knows how long it takes to pee out a Tony Montaña-sized pile of cocaine? This doesn’t really qualify as something you’d do on a budget, so you should probably preface a drug binge of this magnitude with selling your house, robbing a liquor store, brazenly walking into convenience stores and stealing their “Save the Children” buckets, stuff like that.

Of course, these are just suggestions. You do whatever you want with your last days. Hell, what have you got to lose? It’s the end of the world as you know it, you might as well feel fine.

And yes, I know every word to that song.

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