The Count of Monte Cristo – Week 2

Week 2!  I’m up to chapter 33 The Roman Bandits. 

Wow!  Dantès has had some changes in his life since I last posted.  Dantès was in prison, with little or no hope of ever seeing the light of day.  He was framed by three terrible men, Danglars, Fernand, and Villefort.

They are very bad men.

Just as Dantès resigned himself to his fate, fate said “nay nay!” and brought him and Abbè Faria together.  The pair manages to dig a secret tunnel between their cells.  Faria, however, thought he was digging to the wall that led to the sea, but oops, took that wrong turn and ended up in Dantès cell.

Dantès becomes the Faria’s student.  He teaches him all his knowledge that he learned while free.  The two men enjoy each other’s company and make a plan to escape.  All is well.

Until the plan goes wrong.

The Abbè suffers two seizures, the last one being fatal.  Just when Dantès is at the point of despair and idea pops into his head.

He takes the place of a dead man.

Dantès, by the miracle of great storytelling, escapes the Chateau D’If and begins to make his way to the treasure that Faria insisted he inherit as his own.

Through luck and again, great storytelling, Dantès makes it to the island of Monte Cristo and with a little effort finds the fabled treasure.  It’s real.  It all belongs to Dantès and he immediately sets out to make his life better and get revenge.

He has enough money to disguise himself to those that would know him and know him well, including his former employer Monsieur Morrel.  The truth is revealed to Dantès through his former neighbor Caderousse.  Caderousse proceeds to tell the person he thinks is a friar, all the details of how Danglars and Fernand set up young Dantès.

He also discovers the fate of his dear father and his former fiancée.  Big surprise, she ended up marrying Fernand.  I wasn’t shocked by this reveal at all.  In fact, I was expecting it.

After finding out the final part that Villefort played in his incarceration, Dantès last bit of business in Marseille is to rescue his former employer’s company because he realizes that this man was the only one that truly believed in Dantès innocence and did all he could to save him.

The part that I’m confused about is Sinbad the Sailor.  This whole section with Franz and the fantastic cave.  Why is Franz important?  He’s not Fernand, at least I don’t think he is. I know that Fernand is very rich, has a title, and lives in Paris.

Much of the last chapters that I’ve read are quite fantastical.  I think that’s what makes this book enjoyable.  It’s fiction and doesn’t try to be anything else.  It’s a fun adventure story and as long as you suspend reality a bit while reading, you’ll enjoy this book as well.

I’m just about a quarter through the book.  I’m looking forward to more adventures.  I have a suspicion about what is happening in the book, but I don’t want to share it until I read a few more chapters.

If you’re reading this book too, let me know what you think. If you have read it, well I ask, NO SPOILERS!!!

How To Live Healthy While Traveling

LIVING THE LIFE

When people travel for work, most folks stay at a business class hotel.  Decent rooms, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi and conference rooms for meetings or conventions.  But what if you’re a band, touring around to promote your name and most importantly your music?  It’s a whole different style of planning.

 

Most of the time when I am traveling, I’m working at the same time.  My combination of needs is part business and part creative.  I like the cost-effective hotel that has clean, safe rooms, free breakfast and Wi-Fi and if I’m really lucky a gym.

 

This post isn’t for the top-selling artists or musicians that make enough to have fully outfitted RV’s and busses and a small staff to satisfy every need.  This post is for the working musician.  The unsigned acts that are out there loading up a van or truck driving from city to city to perform your music and hoping that one night, someone label person will be out there realizing you’re the next big thing.

 

 

Touring isn’t all sex, drugs and rock and roll.  It can be and it’s fun, for like a minute.  In reality, its long hours on the road with your bandmates and bad food.

 

If you want to keep living the life of a touring band, you don’t have to wreck your body in the process.

 

There are a few things you can do.  They’re quite obvious.  You do your best eat right, exercise and find some time to take a mental break.  All the same things that us regular people (aka non-musicians) need to do in their everyday life.

 

I know, that’s not why you got into this whole band thing.  You wanted the girls (or guys).  The prestige and the music.  You can have those things.  But if you’re a mess, the girls, the prestige, and the party won’t mean a thing.

 

TIP #1 – EAT HEALTHY

 

 

Believe it or not, you can eat healthy while traveling.  Even when your budget allows only truck stops and fast food stops.  The options for finding healthy food on the road have improved greatly.

 

Fast food place, though not the ideal option, do offer healthier options.  Wendy’s, McDonald’s, even Taco Bell have healthier menu options.  Fast food isn’t the best to eat, but when you’re low budget it’ll work for you.

 

Truck stops like Loves and TA have great options for healthy food.  Some even have a sit-down restaurant attached to it.  These are great options because it gives you time to eat a decent meal and take some time off from being crammed into a van with your band mates.

 

 

When I travel, I frequent Loves, Quick Trip, and WaWa.  All of these places have options for fresh food.  WaWa is my favorite because you can have them make you a sandwich right in front of you.  No worries about expired ingredients.  Plus, the sandwich is made to order the way you like it.  Packaged nuts, fresh fruit, cheese sticks are all great options to grab a snack while traveling as well.

 

You can always plan ahead and pack a cooler with drinks, of course, but healthy options like yogurt and cheese sticks.  Have granola bars, nuts and other healthy options stashed in your bag.  You can easily replace these items at stops you make while traveling.

 

TIP #2 – WORKOUT

 

 

For many, performing on stage is their work out.  You put a lot of energy into your performance every night, but in order to keep that momentum, you need to work out off stage as well.

 

If you and your bandmates are lucky, you are able to afford places that have a gym facility at their hotel.  I stay at La Quinta hotels a lot.  I earn points so that’s my main reason. I also like that in addition to comfy rooms and free Wi-Fi, they have a pool and a gym.  I’m able to get a few quality workouts during my working trips.

 

If you’re driving all night to get to the next gig, doing something as simple as running in place, jumping jacks or stretching is a good way to get in some workout time.  Doing any exercise when you make a pit stop not just helps you get your blood flowing but clears your head up too.  I do most of the driving on my road trips so I like getting out and doing a few jumping jacks or high knees exercises to clear my head and keep me alert.

 

 

Your phone/tablet/laptop is a great resource too. There are tons of free workout apps that can help you mix it up a bit while out on the road.  Yoga apps are great too.  My favorite app is Daily Yoga which is free on my Android phone.

 

TIP #3 – PRACTICE MINDFULNESS

 

Mindfulness has been all over the internet as of late.  Practicing mindfulness during these stressful times is as simple as taking 15-30 minutes to just relax and not think about anything.  Meditation is how I achieve daily mindfulness.  It’s not just some hippy-dippy practice either.  Plenty of successful people meditate at least once a day to center themselves and de-stress.  Personally, I meditate 2-3 times a day depending on my day.

 

Meditation is easy to start doing and you can do it in your hotel room or find a spot outside.  Many people who talk about meditating say it’s not good to be “plugged in” when you do it.  But for me, I need my headphones.  I have a playlist on Spotify that relaxes me and gets me into the zone.

 

How you meditate is completely up to you.   Whatever you need to do to make yourself comfortable will work.  There’s no “right way” to meditate. There’s only a right way for you.

 

 

Some tips:

  1. Be comfortable. Sit.  Lay down.  Whatever position gets you to relax.  I know for some, if you lay down you run the risk of falling asleep, but that’s okay too.
  2. Ground and center. What this means is that you want to prepare your body and your mind for the energy you are creating during your meditation.  Grounding is simple, it’s a way to “clear a path” for energy to come into your being.  You can shake out the negative.  Centering is as easy as taking a few deep breaths and focusing on your belly or your lungs when doing so.
  3. Clear your mind. A tip I was given when I first started out was to envision your stress and/or negative thoughts as rocks.  As each negative thought/stress maker comes up, toss the rock into a running stream or river.  The water carries the negative away and helps you focus on the positive.

 

LIVING THE ROCK STAR LIFE

 

 

You can live like a rock star on the road and still be able to keep yourself healthy.  With a bit of planning, you and your mates can eat right, workout and practice mindfulness every day you’re out on tour.  Of course, you have to choose to want to live this way.  These three tips won’t help you if you choose to drink heavily and do hardcore drugs every day.  The choice is up to you.  Live well and be able to bring your gift to the masses or live the hard life and become another statistic in the rock and roll graveyard.

 

**Disclosure, I am no doctor.  I’m just a chick trying to live healthy and still have fun.  Always consult your personal physician regarding diet and exercise.**

The Count of Monte Cristo – Week 1

Welcome to my first Read Harder Challenge post.  Every week I will be giving little updates in regards to my progress on this list.  My hope is that by sharing we can talk about books we’re reading as well as any challenges you may come across during the year.  I always welcome discussion (keep it nice) in the comments.

The first book I chose for my 2018 Read Harder Challenge is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.  I chose this book first for one reason.  IT’S SUPER LONG!!!  I had no idea how dense this book was.  In fact, I didn’t know much about this book other than I guess that maybe the sandwich and the book may have something in common.

I’m 100 pages in.  I have to say, right away, even without reading the back cover, I knew this kid Dantès was in trouble.  We’ve been conditioned to know that when life is going well for a character, something bad will happen.  Dumas and others probably set this precedent.  Dantès is just a kid.  He’s barely 20. Of course, in the 1800’s he’s considered a grown man.  He’s a nice guy.  Faithful to his boss.  Knows his way around a ship.  Devoted to his father and to the woman his loves, Mercédès.  Of course, because this young man is such an upstanding fellow, there are jealousies.  Isn’t that always the way?  Don’t you wish that you could have success in life and not have to worry about who is lurking in the shadows to bring you down?  This kid doesn’t even realize that people hate him.  Or maybe he’s putting on a front.  I haven’t figured it out, but the young man does seem a bit naïve. 

There’s Danglars, a jealous bastard who is determined to ruin this kids life.  He goes to such extremes.  If he didn’t write the damn letter about Dantès visiting Elba (the home of exiled Bonaparte), we wouldn’t have a book to read.  Then there is Fernand, who is nothing like the gentle bull of the children’s story. Jealousy is an ugly thing and Fernand shows his true colors right away.  First, hitting on Mercédès endlessly, even though he knows she loves another.  He won’t stop bothering her and then to threaten Dantès in front of her, my friend that is no way to win a lady’s heart.  Of course, he’s so desperate that he’s the one that turns the false note into the authorities.  He proves what a jerk he is because the next day he agrees to stand up for Dantès as his best man, even though he knows Dantès will be arrested.  However, I think Fernand is just as much a victim as Dantès.  Danglars takes advantage of Dantès naiveté and Fernand’s overwhelming jealousy to get what he wants out of life.  Danglars is a rat bastard and I hope as I read on, he gets what he deserves.

I don’t’ know much about post-revolution France.  World history isn’t my best subject.  In fact, I don’t know much about France until just after World War I. The little I do know I’ve gleaned from reading about the life of Hemmingway and other ex-pats during that time.  I’m guessing that Dumas is writing an exaggerated version of King Louis XVIII.  It surprises me that the King would take interest in the doings of Marseille, but then again, I’m not a monarch nor will I ever be.  I guess he should know what’s happening, especially if it concerns throwing him off his throne.  It’s too bad that the King doesn’t see through the lies.  But again, why would he believe anything different than what his closest advisors are telling him.  He’s like any other world leader.  He doesn’t really know what goes on in the outside world. He knows only what is presented to him. 

I’m hoping to pick up my reading pace.  I had a few distractions the beginning of this year, one of them having a cold on New Year’s Day.  All I did was sleep.  I had no desire to pick up any book, let alone this hefty tome.  My cat, Shadow, feels that she needs to hold the pages down when I’m reading.  Usually, I’m sitting in my favorite spot (my bed) and the book is opened and she feels the need to place her paw right on the page.  I’d take a photo of her doing it, but she’s too smart and when she sees me reaching for the phone, she moves.

Helping me read isn’t Shadow’s only talent.  She enjoys helping me write as well.  Here’s a picture of her this morning as I was typing this post.

 

See you next week!  Happy reading!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  It’s 2018 and I bet you have a list of resolutions you’re going to stick to them all this year.  Honest!

Well, here’s a trick I’ve learned a while back, I make a list of goals. I usually start this list in October.  Right around Halloween.  Irish New Year in some cultures. I find that if I get a head start on certain things I like to change and/or accomplish, starting early helps.

Since it’s traditional to set some goals on January 1st, I made the following small list. 

My List:

  1. Listen to more new bands.  It doesn’t have to be metal/hard rock.  Any new band that sounds
  2. Go to at least 6 shows this year. I’m halfway there as I have tickets to 3 shows so far this year. Judas Priest (once in NJ and once in Tulsa), Rocklahoma in May and Nothing More in February.  I’m really hoping to get Foo Fighters tickets as well.
  3. Submit and hopefully, publish 2 short stories this year. My writing is important to me and for the longest time, I didn’t share.  The only way to get better is to keep writing.  The only way that I can start being paid to do what I truly love, is to submit my work.  Fear holds me back, this year, I’m flipping Fear the bird.
  4. Be present more. I have a really bad habit that I want to break. I look too far ahead and think “well if I can <insert activity here> I can make <insert result here> happen.”  It’s not the best way to live and it’s messing my head up.  I need to be here, right now and focus on what’s in front of me so that eventually I can achieve the goals I want.
  5. Spend more time off-screen. Between writing this blog, writing in general, work, video games and my phone, I spend too much time with screens. I have cut my TV time down. I’ve set myself a writing schedule as well as a gaming schedule.  Really, the only thing I play consistently is The Sims. Don’t judge!  I love that game!  But I realize that I need less time on screen and more time living in the world around me and connecting with other people. 

There’s nothing profound on this list. It’s a small list.  Smaller lists, I believe are more achievable.

I also have the usual goals, to lose weight, read more (See my post here: Let’s Get Reading), and write more.  My health is something on I work on and to be honest, struggle with on a daily basis.  It’s not just physical health either, I have issues with anxiety and I’m actively working on keeping my anxiety from overshadowing everything in my life.  There are just some days (and sadly weeks) that I just don’t do any of the healthy things I should.  I am human. I spiral into a bad place.  I’m lucky because I have someone in my life that will not let me fall all the way down the pit, he reaches and grabs hold of my hand and refuses to let go.  People, if you can find someone like that. That one person doesn’t have to be a romantic partner either, that one person you who will catch you, consider yourself lucky.    

Okay, enough dwelling on the sad.  It’s 2018.  We survived 2017 and that’s a good thing.  A lot of fucked up things happened this past year. I still think we’re in for a hell-ride as we push forward.  We can get through this chaos as a society as long as we remember the wisdom from Bill and Ted:  “Be excellent to each other.”  

Let’s Get Reading!

I love books.  I am that nerd you spot in a bookstore who lovingly brushes her fingertips over the cover of the book she’s holding.  I’ve been known to hug a book to my chest.  I did this recently when I purchased Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman.  When Drummer and I visit New Orleans, I have to visit at least two bookstores. He and our other friends have threatened to leave me in the store while they go off and find other fun stuff to do.  He is my enabler.  He bought me a new book for Christmas.  I didn’t even ask for it.  He knows me so well.

Yet despite my love of books, I only read 8 this year!  Eight!  How can that be?  Well, I think I know. Family drama. There has been a lot of challenges within my family this year and my free time was mostly spent dealing with those challenges. There would be times when at the end of the day I’d be so exhausted from life, I just fell asleep.  It happens.  I know this.  I’ve decided to fix my own situation regarding my reading levels and have adopted the Book Riot 2018 Read Harder challenge.

 

The Challenge

Book Riot is an online subscription for book lovers.  There are stories from loving a bookworm to the newest releases you may not know about.  It’s one of my favorite online groups to read because I’m always finding something I can relate to in their posts.

The read harder challenge does just that.  It challenges you to read books that you haven’t’ thought about.  Most of the time, when I am looking for something new to read, I’ll review my list on Goodreads or I’ll just wander the aisles at the local bookstore looking for a cover to catch my eye.  There is nothing wrong with choosing books this way.  However, since I read so little this year, I needed a deliberate way to find something new to read. 

The link to the challenge can be found here:  Read Harder  You can download the list to a workable .pdf file and go from there.  You fill out the form with the books you have read, take a screenshot and send it to them.  Sure, you can easily cheat and get the list banged out by June by listing books you’ve read already, but that’s not the point of this challenge. It’s to help guide you to read authors and genres that you may not have thought about before.  I had to ask for help for the comic category.  I’ve read a couple of the standard comics and graphic novels, but because I want to branch out with this challenge, I texted a friend for advice.

Tackling the list

There are only 24 categories on this list. I like that.  Its short compared too many other lists out there.  My goal every year is to read at least 25 books. Sadly, the past 2 years I have failed in reaching that goal.  2018, I’m determined to reach it.  Maybe even surpass the number I’ve set for myself.  I have already made a list of books I want to read for this list to make it easier for me to achieve my goal of finishing it.  I have the list written in a Google Docs so I can access the list anytime I’m out at the bookstore or the library.    

I haven’t fully decided if I’m going to buy all the books or if I’m going to use the library.  I love my local library.  They know me there.  I have a nickname when I walk in the door they call me “The Washington Irving Lady” (because I work at Washington Irving’s house museum).  It’s small library. I like the community feel to it.  However, because it’s so small, you’d be surprised that most of the classics, they don’t have on their shelves. Thank goodness for interlibrary loans.  I haven’t been up to the library in a few months though. I’m a little shy to walk in the door because I recently lost a book from their collection.  I paid the fine but I feel bad I lost the book. I’m hoping all will be forgiven when I do walk through the doors again.    

Some books I’ve chosen are classics.  They are listed on my “1001 books to read”.  These books I think I will buy just to have on my shelves. I will also have to buy the comics my friend listed for me, but that’s okay.  I can always give them to my brother who collects and likes to read new titles when he can.  I love buying books.  I used to hit the bookstore every time I got paid, which was not really a great financial decision.  Pesky bills and old college loans to pay caused me to re-think my plan. 

The next step in my plan is to go over the titles I have chosen and their page counts.  Sure, I could read a bunch of short books to get a leg up on my list.  However, I am off work for the next 2 ½ months and winter is the perfect time to tackle big books to read.  I have spare time.  Most days, I’m home alone and I am able to plan my days and use the alone time to my advantage.  I am also planning to go on a trip and I will most definitely have a book (or two!) with me.  The Drummer teases me often about bringing books on vacation with me. I usually bring at least one printed book and I have a bunch of books in my queue from Audible.com.  You will notice that I’ve left off e-readers as a way to read books.  I feel I spend enough screen time reading and writing so I don’t use Kindle or The Nook.  I know there are advantages, I just don’t want to read that way. 

 

The List

This is not my complete list. There are a few categories on the list that I am not sure which title I’m going to choose but below is a list of most of my choices (these are subject to change)

Tee’s 2018 Read Harder list:

  • A book published posthumously – Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

Why I am choosing this book:  There are a few reasons.  First, the book was published in 1983 after Toole’s mother shopped the novel around for years.  Toole died in 1969.  So it definitely fits the category.  Plus, I read all the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo titles.  Also, Confederacy of Dunces ticks off another category in my reading lists, it’s on my 1001 books to read.  Two lists, one book.

  • True Crime Book – The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

Why am I choosing this book:  I am a big fan of true crime stories.  I watch ID channel constantly.  I am also a big fan of late 19th century America.  The setting is the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.  This book has also topped a lot of “read this book” lists.  I’m going to give it a shot.  I’m hoping it lives up to the hype.

  • Classic genre fiction – Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Why am I choosing this book:  I chose mystery because it’s a genre I haven’t read much of and why not read the queen of mystery, Agatha Christie.  Also, there is a new version of the movie out starring quite a few people including Johnny Depp, so I’d like to read the book before I watch the movie.  I do that a lot.  Most movies that I know are based on a book, I’ll avoid going to see until I’ve read the book.

  • Book set in one of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China or South Africa) – The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky

Why am I choosing this book:    There are a few reasons why I’m choosing this book.  The first, it is yet another title on my 1001 books to read list.  It’s Russian, so it is appropriate to the task.  Also, I’ve been wanting to read Dostoevsky ever since I started with his fellow Russian writer, Tolstoy.  I’ve already read Anna Karenina.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle War and Peace yet, so I chose this title.  Crime and Punishment seemed like a bummer so I chose The Brothers Karamazov instead.  I could have totally made the wrong choice.

  • Western – Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy

Why am I choosing this book:  I read and LOVED No Country for Old Men (and subsequently the movie).  McCarthy is also on my 1001 list.  I do find his writing style brutal yet I also find a beauty in the harshness of his writing. 

  • Romance by a person of Color – The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo – Zen Cho

Why am I choosing this book:  Romance is my least favorite genre.  I had to dig through lists on Goodreads to find a book that appealed to me.  What I found appealing about this book is the setting, 1920’s London.   The main character is a Malaysian young woman, as is the author.  I’ve read a few of the reviews on Goodreads as well.  Many of them have mentioned it’s funny.  I like smart, funny books as well as the big classic tomes.  I think I will save this book after I read a more depressing book.

  • Children’s classic before 1980 – The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Gramme

Why am I choosing this book:  I honestly thought I read this book as a child.  I didn’t which is shocking because I know I had a copy of this book on my little shelf that my mother let me use as my library. Since I’ve read quite a few children’s classics as a child and again as an adult, I had to find something I hadn’t read.   

  • Celebrity Memoir – Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything In Between – Lauren Graham

Why am I choosing this book:    To know me, is to know that I am head over heels, completely obsessed with The Gilmore Girls.  Gilmore Girls is my favorite TV show.  I still watch the repeats and own the entire series on DVD.  I binge watched the Netflix “A Year in the Life” over Thanksgiving weekend, last year, blowing my data because my Dad doesn’t have the internet.  Part of why I love GG is because I related so much to Lauren Graham’s portrayal of Lorelai.  I enjoyed her acting so much, that I followed her to Parenthood and again, loved her character. I didn’t stick with the show (I know, I need to make that up sometime) because it was just too much for me to deal with emotionally at the time.  Fun note, I haven’t watched “This is Us” yet either.   

  • A book of social science – White Trash The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America – Nancy Isenberg

Why am I choosing this book:  Class lines have been in the news all year.  This book was published in June 2016.  Class lines have not just become part of our social conscience recently, they’ve always been there.  We’re all affected by it, whether we notice what’s happening or not.  I also chose this book because of my interest in history and working at a museum where the family was considered “upper middle class” and the values and mores they had to live by during that time.  I’m definitely looking forward to reading this book.

 

  • A first book in a “new to me” YA series – A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle

Why am I choosing this book:    This book ticks off boxes similar to other books I have listed here.  First, it’s on my 1001 to read list. Second, it’s another book from growing up I swore I had read, but didn’t.  I’m pretty sure I can picture the cheesy cover of the copy we had in our house, but the plot doesn’t sound familiar to me.  I’m not really interested the YA genre, though some books I’ve recently read, definitely fell into that category.  Finally, I saw the trailer for the movie before The Last Jedi was shown and the movie looks pretty good.  I mean it has Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine and Oprah, it has to be decent (I hope).

Get Reading!

That’s my list.  At least part of it.  I’m looking forward to my reading adventures for the upcoming year.  I’m sure I’ll find other books to read.  Who knows, I may find a new (or new to me) book that fits one of the categories I’ve already planned for and change it.  It’s always a new adventure, even if I’ve read the book a bunch of times *cough* Lord of the Rings *cough cough*

 

What about you?  Are you ready to challenge yourself?  Have you already set up a reading goal?  Let me know in the comments.

 

Are You Ready for Rocklahoma 2018?

MAY IS GONNA ROCK!

 

Did you hear the screaming with absolute joy around 1 p.m. EST last Wednesday?  No?  My Boss did.  On Wednesday, December 13th, two days late due to circumstances is fans can only speculate on, Rocklahoma announced their lineup for 2018.  I know I am not the only person to say this in the last week, but I can’t wait for May.  There are so many festivals coming this Spring, but because I need to pay bills, I can’t go to all of them.  I sure would like to, but that pesky adult responsibility gets the better of me.  In my previous post, I highlighted other AEG Production line ups.  They definitely gave us strong hints for who they were going to get for Rocklahoma.  Most of the festival lineups are the same with tweaks here and there. For example, ROK is not getting Stone Sour.  I’m a little sad, since last year, Stone Sour was canceled because of bad weather.  However, after some research, I discovered that Stone Sour needs to be in Germany on June 1st for the Rock IM Park/Rock AM Ring (depending on how it’s listed on their site www.stonesour.com).  No worries.  I will get my Corey Taylor fix sometime this year. I’m determined.

Unless you’re on some internet ban because you’re trying to steer clear of The Last Jedi spoilers or just don’t like to be plugged in this time of year, the lineup for ROK 2018 includes, Poison, A Perfect Circle, Ghost, Cheap Trick, Halestorm, Vince Neil, 10 Days, Adelitas Way, Stone Temple Pilots, and my personal favorite, Godsmack.  Godsmack I knew was a given for this festival, but it still made me happy to see their picture on the list.  I’ve NEVER seen Maynard in any of his bands so I’m quite excited to see A Perfect Circle.  I do find it very interesting that Cheap Trick has been included this year.  I’ve seen Cheap Trick live twice now and I am stoked to see them a third time.  There are plenty of lesser known bands playing the stages.  An example is a different kind of band expected at a rock festival like ROK, is a little-known band out of New York, Wild Planes (http://www.wildplanesband.com/).  I have a personal connection to this band.  Their guitar player is friends with my son.  I was very excited to be 2100 miles from home last year and surprise WP’s own, Sean Mac, by screaming up at the stage at him.  It was a lot of fun.  I’ll get to go out and support them again this year, except that I’ve already told Sean I’ll be there. 

Some other bands, local to Tulsa, are Firstryke and Down for Five.  I LOVE these bands.  Janna Jordan, the guitar goddess from Down For Five is one of my most favorite musicians.  She shreds. She growls.  She’s just fucking amazing and if you go to ROK this year and never saw DFF, go see them.  Seriously.  You will not be disappointed.  The other band is Firstryke, who I just love because their drummer Mike D. has been someone I’ve supported musically for a long time.  About 12 years ago, I went to New Orleans to meet up with some friends. This included Mike D and his lovely wife. Mike was in a band called Lock N Load then.  They were showcasing at the Hard Rock.  We (my BFF and I along with others) did our very best to make sure the folks watching at the Hard Rock knew who LnL was and hoped they would book them for gigs.  Well, it was a fun trip to New Orleans in any case.  It was also where The Drummer and I became lifelong friends. 

Speaking of The Drummer.  He is on the production side of things.  He works with the crews on the Axis Stage.  Some acts have been announced for Axis.  They are White Noise Owl, who from what I understand from a post in one of the Rocklahoma FB groups I’m in, is comprised of members of BLS, Evanescence, Lopro, and Snot.  Full disclosure, I only know BLS and Evanescence.  Clueless about the other two, but I trust my fellow ROK fans.  Other Axis stage bands announced are Silent Theory, Ryder (another band from NY!), Kevlar and Dead Horse Trauma.  Again, haven’t heard of these bands, but that’s okay!  Once I go to ROK this year, I’ll know them.  Many of the folks in the FB groups I’m in are praising Dead Horse Trauma.

 

Prepping For the Big Weekend

 

 

My plan from now until May is to go through the entire lineup and create a playlist.  I may do a separate one for the Axis stage bands.  My BFF and I are also gathering items we may need.  We have chairs.  BFF just bought us a cool portable table.  We’re not camping but having the table with us will be handy to keep drinks on (I’m a klutz and spill things) and food. 

I’m definitely going to review the “rules” quite closely this year.  I had an incident with two delightful security guards.  One particular young lady showed off her amazing customer service skills to me and several others.  Not only did she, in her own unique way, tell me to lose my purse, but she later commented on some gentlemen who were having a great time and not hurting anyone by calling them “fucking stupid”.  What a delight she was.  (The previous statements should be read with extreme sarcasm).  Then there was another young man who asked me to remove my shirt as I was walking in.  That young man was almost stomped by an angry middle-aged drummer until he quickly apologized.  Apparently, fat rolls are quite often mistaken for concealed weapons or something.  But to avoid these delightful interactions with authority, I will review the rules.  I do honestly, take the rules seriously.  Especially after all the incidents in public venues this past year.  Most notably the shooting in Vegas at a country music concert.  But I also want to be able to have my personal belongings safely stored with me.  Hopefully, both fans and security will have an agreement that benefits the safety of us all and makes the guards jobs a lot easier.

Another handy tip given to me, was using the Rocklahoma App.  Especially the 2nd day when the weather was turning for the worst.  The Drummer had to leave us and head to Axis to help out there.  I kept checking the app for any information and as soon as the flags were changing color, the messages popped up on our phones saying “Sorry folks, rest of the day canceled.”  I have to say, the weather matched my mood.  The 2nd day was the day Soundgarden was supposed to play.  Many of us were hurting over the loss of Chris Cornell.  That morning, I learned Gregg Allman died and I was one extremely sad music fan.  Plus, I didn’t get to see much of Zakk Wylde (thank you Drummer for that one) or Stone Sour.   The app was very useful during our time there and I will be utilizing it when I go again in May 2018.

I think what I am most looking forward is not just spending time with two of my closest friends, but being exposed to so much music.  Some bands I know.  Some I love (Godsmack and Cheap Trick).  Some I’m not a particularly huge fan of (Andrew WK).  Some I’ve never heard of before (too many to list).  It’s only my 2nd year going to ROK.  I’ve tried to learn from seasoned ROK go-ers what to do, bring and see.  The most common advice from everyone in the FB groups has been “just go and have fun”.  A lot of the folks that attend ROK make this their vacation.  I’m showing up early Thursday after a 21-hour road trip from NY, most of the folks I’ll be hanging out with on Thursday night will have been there since Monday morning.  They make it their vacation.  It’s kind of my vacation too.  I plan on having a great time.  Some of the rookie things I’ve learned from last year, put your bracelet on as soon as you get into your car to go to the festival.  I had that thing on from the moment I pulled out of BFF’s driveway that Tuesday night and didn’t’ take it off until I came home. I took it off reluctantly because I was sad it was over.  Get a great parking spot if you’re not camping.  It’s only my 2nd year. Everyone says “camping is where the party is at” and I believe them.  I camped during my days of following the Grateful Dead around.  I’m 20 years older now and I like to have a bed and a working shower.  Someone else cooking me breakfast and cleaning up after is also something I enjoy.  Besides, since I don’t get to Tulsa/Pryor often, I try to have some quick visits with friends before going to the show.

Eyes toward May

 

 

I think the best part about going to Rocklahoma, besides my friends is that it’s a small festival.  I’ve been to Ozzfest.  I’ve been to larger festivals involving the Grateful Dead.  I like that Rocklahoma is small.  There’s definitely a circus, yet a family feel to the whole event.  People look out for each other.  People try to help one another and I think that’s just what the world needs these days.  Be decent human beings.  I find that there are a lot of decent humans at ROK.  The party animals, music lovers and some of the most creative types I know.  I loved people watching.  From “Assless Chaps Boy” (the nickname my BFF gave him) to the guy dressed as Paul Stanley to the couple dressed in purple tiger stripes, to all the crazy, fun folk at Camps Jager, Mardi Gras, and Darkside, they make this festival what it is.  I’ve heard some negativity toward ROK because we don’t get the major lineups.  So what? We get great bands. There’s music on FOUR STAGES!  That’s not counting the individual camp stages.  As of this writing, the notice went out on two of the Rocklahoma groups I’m in that Camp Darkside is indeed coming back this Spring.  I may actually wander over this year. Especially if they convince Deathgrip to play again. 

It’s a cold day here in NY today and I’m already dreaming of an early spring in Oklahoma.  I’m excited to see my friends.  I’m excited to make some new friends.  I can’t wait to see bands I love and find new bands to love.  It’s going to be a great time at Rocklahoma 2018.  Let the countdown begin!

For the full line up and ticket information go to www.Rocklahoma.com for all the info you need to get your party on Memorial Day Weekend 2018.

What about you?  Who are you looking forward to seeing?  Any fun traditions you and friends do for ROK?  Let me know in the comments.

Festival Announcements

It’s like Christmas!  Okay, yeah, it’s the Holiday season right now, but all these festivals being announced the past week has me both super excited and super sad.  You see my friends, this music lover still has to work a day job to pay the bills.  More importantly, I work a day job so I can attend as many live shows as I can. 
With having a day job, there are “responsibilities”.  All I want to do is say “Screw it!” and head out on a road trip.  I’ve done that.  A long time ago, when I was much younger and didn’t care where I laid my head at night.  But now, with age, comes comfort.  Gone are the days when  I would have my camping gear and sleeping bag and head off to one Grateful Dead show to another.  Now I want a hotel room with a nice bed, WiFi, and a shower.  Free breakfast is nice too.

 

This past week, however, has made me want to just buy all the tickets and not work for an entire month.  But in order to buy said tickets and have a decent hotel room, I need to work.  Okay, done with the whining about wanting to live at a music festival. I’m sure the topic will come up again (yeah, we all know it will).

 

FESTIVALS ANNOUNCED

My #1 pick for upcoming 2018 rock festivals has been Rocklahoma.  They haven’t announced their line up yet, but if Rock on the Range, Welcome to Rockville and most recently announced Carolina Rebellion are any indicators of who will be at Rocklahoma I am fucking stoked!
So far, I’ve seen the following festivals announced:
Welcome to Rockville.  April 27-29, 2018. The headliners here include Godsmack, Stone Sour, Ozzy, Foo Fighters and AX7.  There are some great “smaller bands” playing as well. Bands like Parkway Drive, Asking Alexandria, the new version of STP (Stone Temple Pilots), Halestorm and to me what seems like the newest darling on the scene Greta Van Fleet (aka the band that has the singer that sounds like Robert Plant).  I’d love to go to this festival, but I’m already committed to seeing Judas Priest in Tulsa that weekend. 
Fort Rock.  April 28th & 29th (tickets go on sale Friday, December 8th).  This festival is sharing headliners Godsmack, Stone Sour, Ozzy as well as Halestorm, STP, and Bullet for My Valentine.  It’s a good thing it’s in Ft. Lauderdale, because that would be some weekend for the headliners. At least they just have to come down from Jacksonville for this show.  Ozzy is an old man!  How can Sharon make him tour like this!  Of course, as a selfish fan, I’d love to see Ozzy again and again. I’ve seen him 3x in the past 30 years.  Again, missing this show because of Tulsa commitments.  Unless I can convince our crew to leave after the Priest show to head down to Florida.
Carolina Rebellion.  May 4th – 6th, 2018.  Again, festival sharing some headliners.  Godsmack and Stone Sour.  Along with STP, Alice in Chains, Muse, 5FDP, Pop Evil, Sevendust, Halestorm, In this Moment (fuck yeah!) and Texas Hippie Coalition is a great line up.  I really want to go to this, but alas, day job.  Drummer needs to get on these crews for these festivals so I can tag along.  LOL
Rock on the Range.  May 18th – 20th.  Godsmack, Tool, APC,(Maynard doing double duty!), AX7, Stone Sour, STP, Three Days Grace, Greta Van Fleet and so many others.  This is one week before I leave for Rocklahoma.  In fact, I leave NY for Pryor, OK the day after the festival ends. 

 

Spring 2018

It’s not just festivals coming around in the late winter/early spring 2018.  February I’m going to see Nothing More.  I’m seeing Judas Priest TWICE.  Once in March in NJ and again in April in Tulsa.  BLS is playing at the end of January near me.  Fozzy comes around the beginning of April.  So many shows to choose from!
Summer has the Foo Fighters coming to NYC.  There are other venues I’m waiting for their lineups to be announced before I spend any more money on tickets.
I really hope that when Rocklahoma gets announced on Monday, December 11th, the very least Godsmack will be on the ticket as well as the new version of STP.  I’d love to see In this Moment and Nothing More there again as well.  I think Stone Sour will be a long shot. They were supposed to play Rocklahoma last year, but that was the day the storms blew through.  I was so bummed.  Stone Sour runs off to Europe starting June 1st, so I don’t think they’ll make it to Rocklahoma again.  But a girl can hope! 
My favorite part of Rocklahoma is the Axis Stage. It has nothing to do with that Drummer is one of the crew on that stage, though that’s a bonus, but I love getting to hear the unsigned bands.  It’s how I became a huge fan of Arson City.  Plus, I’m always a big fan of the guys in Screaming Red Mutiny and I’m hoping that they will be there once again.
2018 concert season is already shaping up to be a good one.  What bands/festivals are you looking forward too?  Leave it in the comments below.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone was able to spend time with those that they care about yesterday.  Today my dining room has been taken over by the other half’s gaming friends.  They bought a new board game and are now nearing the end of a marathon gaming session that started about 10:30 this morning.  (It’s currently 7:45 p.m.)  I haven’t participated (there are reasons!).  I’ve spent most of this day starting and stopping several posts, napping and watching Fawlty Towers on Netflix.  I feel like I should get out in the world and do something fun, so I think I’m going to head out and go see my friend’s band perform a little later.

Whatever it is you choose to do with your weekend, I hope it’s filled with your favorite activities and people. 

 

Gobble Gobble!

WELCOME (Again!)

A few months back I started this blog.  I have to admit, I had no direction.  I thought I knew what I wanted from this blog and what direction I wanted to head in.  I was wrong.  That happens.

This blog is a place for me to share my love of music and all that goes with the music scene.  There are plenty of blogs out there that discuss the current trends, singers, and bands.  I do not claim to have my finger on the pulse of what is new and young.  I’m old music fan.  Both in age and musical tastes.  The new bands I like, are not necessarily the most popular bands out there and that’s ok.  I really try not to get caught up in the next big thing.  I’m not a huge sugar-coated pop fan.  You will not find me writing about how much I love T-Swift or the next release by whatever new hip-hop band is out there. While these are valid genres of music, they aren’t what I listen to and live my life by.  I have opinions, but well, we all know what they say about opinions.  Everybody’s got one.

Here, I’ll write about a cool venue, a new band I just heard/saw and blew me away.  Maybe a recent show I was at.  I work live music shows and any of the latest gadgets and gear that I come across I’ll talk about as well.  Touring life, following a band, or just generally how cool it is to be a music fan.

Now having said all that, I am a freelance writer for hire.  If anything on this blog catches your interest, please feel free to email me at tspeechley@theinkdscrivener.com

Thanks for coming by my little corner of the internet.  I hope you find that we have things in common.

Rock on my friends!