I don’t keep up with current music the way I used to. That happens in your 30s when you’re not in the entertainment industry. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will.
Here’s how I told Sean:
By the time I got home from work, Sean had already purchased tickets to the show. He’s good like that.
I listened to the pre-released tracks online, put the release date into Google Calendar and scoured music blogs for any information I could get on Last Patrol. On release day, I purchased the album from iTunes as soon as I got home from work. I’ve played it constantly ever since.
An aside: Tracking and learning about music (and everything else) is so much easier in the internet age. That really makes me appreciate the work and effort music (or any pop culture) superfans put into their fandom pre-web. Zines and tape-trading took more effort and likely cost more when you don’t include computer/smartphone/internet costs (since those are used for more than supporting your fandom). Think of the postage costs alone!
The concert date rolled around and I was getting a little worried. The show was on a Tuesday night and it was going to start late. Going to work after a late night isn’t as easy as it used to be. Sean and I arranged for a friend to babysit. I was looking forward to having a night out with Sean to see a concert that I was really excited about.
My early morning after a late night never happened. The show got cancelled the day before it was scheduled to go on. Suck it, influenza. Sean and I were both disappointed, but probably not as much as the guy I saw on Facebook. He said he was flying in from Thunder Bay just for the show. I really felt for him – I’m not sure if he was able to cancel his plane ticket.
Sean has recently gotten back into vinyl and he’s been expanding his collection. As much as I appreciate digital music and its portability, rock music sounds so much better on a turntable. Sean picked up the vinyl version of Last Patrol, and the gatefold really makes the artwork pop. This record was pressed on orange vinyl, which makes it extra cool. Sean’s turntable is set up in our mancave and I snapped some pictures of the album last night (click for larger image):
Have you read this entry and still not looked Monster Magnet up on Youtube? Here’s the official video of the first single, ‘Mindless Ones’. If you like your rock music heavy and with a bit of trippiness, you will like this.
Do you pay attention to music? How do you keep up with your favourite bands? Tell me about the music you love.
I read a lot in 2013. I track my reading using Goodreads (you should add me if you use that site) and participated in their 2013 reading challenge. I challenged myself to read 35 books in 2013 and I ended up reading 62 different books. Here’s a list of what I read in 2013, sorted in the order I read them in.
A summary of my list: lots of trashy stuff, but lots of not-trashy stuff too.
What did you read in 2013? What was your favourite? What books do you recommend, and what books should I avoid in 2014?
I spent a lot of time Not Writing this year and I am disappointed in myself.
The year started off strong and I even signed up for a month-long online writing course. (Alice Bradley’s The Practice of Writing, which appears to be offline for updating so I’ve linked to her blog’s homepage.) I really enjoyed the course, but struggled to find the time to do the daily exercises. When I got really behind I would go through rapid-fire catchup sessions while Sean would get Flora ready for bed. Then, when my colleague went on a two-week vacation, I was doing a lot more at work and was just too burned out to write at night. Truthfully, there were probably only a few tough days at work, but once you start on a Not Writing cycle, it’s hard to get back to Writing. I acknowledged that I didn’t give the class the attention that it deserved – or that I wanted to give it. I have the PDF of all the class notes in my email, and I haven’t had the guts to even look at it yet. The course ended more than six months ago. I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t just keep up and keep going.
I still feel ashamed, and I’ve wondered many times over the last few months if I should just give up writing and blogging altogether. I’m still here so I haven’t given up yet. but I haven’t figured out how to shut the negative voices up and just write anyway.
I’ve written a few blog posts and percolated ideas since then. I know logically that writing leads to more writing, which leads to better writing. I know I need to kick my own ass to actually make the time. I’m hoping the dark and bleakness of winter will encourage me to write. If not that, football season and Sean’s new Xbox will keep me away from the TV so that’s one distraction gone.
So many people/magazine articles/advice givers/general know-it-alls say ‘get up an hour earlier’. I already leave my house by 6:30am on weekday mornings. In a perfect world, I’d be leaving at 6:15 and getting out of bed at 5:45am at the latest. I just can’t get up any earlier. I stay up after Flora goes to bed so that I can have time to myself. Sometimes I even spend it with my husband. (Blasphemous, I know.) I’m usually in bed by 10pm, and I need that sleep. I need that time with my husband. I need that time with myself. I want to use more of that time to write, but lately, I’m just so burnt that I can’t do more than read or play The Simpsons: Tapped Out. Those hobbies are valuable to me too. (I started playing Tapped Out because Sean was playing it and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Now it’s one of the few video games we’ve ever played together, which is a nice bonding experience.)
I’m writing now, so I’m hoping that will open the floodgates a bit. Maybe that will lead to some actual Writing. Or just plain old ordinary writing. I’m willing to start small.
I added a new page to the site back in September: Previous logos for hellomelissa.net. The page shows the previous logos I’ve created for this site and tells the stories behind each one. If you’re into graphic design or the evolution of my website (or websites in general), be sure to check it out!
If you have questions about how I decide to brand my site and the designing that goes with that, please ask and I’ll answer in a future post.
Back in July, we lost Buckley, our beloved family cat. At nearly 15 years old, he had had a long life, but a sudden illness paralyzed the back end of his body and we had a difficult decision to make.
Buckley was a crabby little kitten, and was actually returned to the pet store by a woman who said he didn’t get along with the cats she already had. Sean overheard her and thought “That’s the cat for me!” and promptly brought him home. When someone picked him up, he’d take a flying leap out of their arms. He eventually settled down but I’d say he adored Sean and tolerated the rest of us.
When Sean and I lived in a first-floor apartment many years ago, we came home one night to see a little black cat wandering around.
“Aww. That cat looks like Buckley.”
“That cat is Buckley.”
And the chase was on to get our indoor cat back inside before he got lost or was run over. When he escaped the house, he liked to hide just far enough under cars so that we couldn’t reach him.
Buckley generally avoided Flora. Like many older cats who suddenly have to share their home with a baby human, I think he was horrified by all the new noises and activity. Flora was taught to be gentle with Buckley from a young age and remarkably, she didn’t chase after him too much. I caught him sleeping on her bed when she was away on at least two different occasions. I like to think he loved her from a distance. I know Flora loved him too.
We all loved him. He was a good cat and an important member of our family. We miss him.