Saturday, August 12, 2017

Disco Demolition

It’s obvious to the most casual acquaintance that I like music, and my tastes gravitate toward rock and roll. Heck, I was raised on it alongside a sprinkling of Dad’s preferred Johnny Cash or The Oak Ridge Boys, some of Mom’s golden oldies thrown in for good measure. Hearing The Man in Black covering a Nine Inch Nails tune still makes me delirious with joy.

Disco, on the other hand, curdles my blood. Always has. I don’t denigrate the talent of its performers, but please do not make me listen. When my favorite podcasters Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant covered the topic on Stuff You Should Know I struggled a little not to shut it off when they sampled the music. And my eyes glazed over hearing the litany of mostly unfamiliar artists’ names (not a good thing when you’re driving, I might add).

I did learn some interesting facts, of course, about the history and whatnot. For example, during that era the number of disparate artists across vastly different genres trying their hand at the campy style blew my mind.

Really, Dolly? How could you?

My favorite part was learning about the so-called death of disco in Chicago, Illinois. I was ten years old at the time and never heard a peep. You can bet I would have cheered at that tender age had I known. However, flinging vinyl at peoples’ heads and tearing up a baseball field were egregious acts.

You can watch the clip if you’re interested. It’s not terribly long and quite fascinating.

Had you heard about this raucous event in 1979? Would you have attended?


Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Book Review of Black and White by Nick Wilford

Let me start by saying that my book allowance has dropped considerably in the wake of blessed early retirement. So imagine my delight when author and fellow blogger Nick Wilford offered followers an advanced read copy of his book ‘Black and White’, the first in his YA trilogy.

I first found the writer/editor and his story through the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Every day’s entry introduced readers to either characters or aspects of the ‘Black and White’ universe. I found it all quite intriguing.

And the book itself did not disappoint. I wanted more, but that’s a good sign for a series. As a youth I would have found Nick’s world provided welcome escapism. This adult found the book’s editing impeccable, one of the finest examples I can point to these days (good promotion for his freelance editing services, if you ask me!).

Even having a good notion of the plot beforehand I found myself surprised by some of its aspects. Help and hindrance to the main characters did not always come from the expected directions. I enjoyed getting to know Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerrelda Dontible (great names, no?), too.

At $1.99 (US), ‘Black & White’ is a bargain. You can pre-order on Amazon here (for the United States) and here (in the UK). I hope you’ll give this new twist on dystopia a chance.

Be sure to check back next month for Nick Wilford’s guest post! So, what are you reading this summer?


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

And Now for Something Completely Different

No, this isn’t about Monty Python, though I adore their comedy. This is all about the music, baby, another thing I geek over. Check out Avenged Sevenfold’s rhythm guitarist taking over vocals for a punk rock version of ‘Runaway’ with Warren Fitzgerald’s amazing contribution.

I’m sharing this every which way I can imagine. Enjoy!


Here's Del Shannon and company's great original:

Do you like remakes?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ex-ing Exposition

Opening a story yesterday afternoon provided quite a surprise. For some reason, I noticed for the first time after several passes that the opening included a straight five hundred forty-two words of exposition. Whew! Not good.

It certainly gave me a goal. And I’m pleased to say that before evening arrived the important bits became part of a much more interesting telephone conversation between the narrator and her father. That dialog already existed, just in a shorter format with less tension.

They were disagreeing, after all. So the rewrite makes me feel better on many levels. Meanwhile, father and daughter are working things out. ~grin~ The widower dotes on her.

I also made sure not to delete the original exposition, saving it in a different file. As fellow writers say (or lament) again and again, never toss out anything you've written.

What little achievement made your weekend?


Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Blast from the Past

Every now and then I find myself missing the refreshing taste of Zima. First marketed in 1994, the malt liquor held immense appeal to this Gen X gal.

Production ended in 2008 yet I still recall the crisp citrus kick. Imagine my surprise when a stroll into a local wine and beer vendor displayed a stack of Zima six packs standing just shy of my five foot two inch frame.

My partner and I brought one home. The taste remained excellent. We treasured each bottle, limiting ourselves to one each per day.

Today we tried to get more at a different store and learned they were cleaned out with no more expected. I picked up the phone and called the place we found it first. The gal told me they had a few six packs left. She laughed when I said we were on our way.

We cleaned them out.

Crisp Ambrosia
Did you ever drink Zima back in the day?


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Day Two Without Mom

It seems Mom sent me a comforting dream. ~grin~ It went back twenty-five years, our whole clan celebrating Christmas in the old house. I sat talking to my five-year-old nephew who now has a military career and four kids. His father (ever the clown) modeled a coat decorated to make him look like a Christmas tree (didn't happen but made my dream self laugh). My currently estranged brother and his now ex-wife arrived late on a wave of good cheer.

All those hugs felt so real. Crazy stuff, but left me feeling good.

So did Dad's email response to my obituary. He wrote, “Perfectly done, that's what writers are good at.” His certainty could not be more heartwarming.

Rest in Peace, Mom
On a random fun note, via Instagram I learned another rocker celebrated a birthday yesterday. So Happy Belated Birthday to M. Shadows, lead singer of Avenged Sevenfold!

Rock On, My Lovely
I’m slowly dipping more toes into the social media pool. Do you have an Instagram account?


Monday, July 31, 2017

A Sad Bit of Irony

After I posted about the birthday of favored guitarist John 5 my big brother called with difficult news. Our mother, who endured a long battle with sickening health and declining cognitive faculties, did not survive her latest surgery repairing a PICC line insertion.

This is almost a relief, I’m blessed to say. I can’t remember when she felt well. She is survived by her husband and four kids, as well as more loving friends than I dare name.

I even heard from an old acquaintance I couldn’t resist contacting. My first love seemed deserving of the knowledge and sent email lavishing her with praise.

Thank you, Dad, for doing the best you could. And to all those who provided therapy, care, and support – bless you.