Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What Nourishes Me Destroys Me, Or, Kindles, Kindles Everywhere But Not A Book To Read, Literary Lament by Allison

So it is a known fact that I think my Kindle is magic.
I rip out book reviews, type title into Magic Kindle, book appears, is miracle.

No having to tote a five thousand pound purse, or make Sophie's Choice decisions on which books have to get donated to make room for new books.

(Note: Sophie's Choice was a book that I Sophie's Choiced  one second after having my first daughter V. That book was already the worst, saddest, most awful thing ever, and then it became even worse, and I flagrantly placed my dog-eared Dorothy Parker collection in its place for de-traumatizing, healing snark purposes)

I mean, there are rocky times in my relationships with Magic Kindles -
Yes, Kindles with an s.

TANGENT: Kindles I Have Loved And Lost, by Allison:

1. Allison's Kindle 1:
Sorry about the green tea.
I had no idea it would be the death of you.
I loved you so, and your magic book summoning will remain one of the Most Awesome Things Ever. Know that you were loved, until you could not handle a Trenta Green Tea Deluge.
2. Allison's Kindle 2:
WTF, Kindle 2???
I did not spill tea on you.
I treated you kindly, for the most part, and there was no overt crime committed against you.
Why the blurry half Jane Austen, half blurry blob screen? 
That is the worst, you know.
Half Beloved Dignified Snark Author, Half Blurry Bad.
Even worse, was when I stomped around with your defective blurry screen,
Matt says "It's dead."
I say, "What? No it is not. I am totally in the middle of a book, I didn't do anything to it, it has to get fixed, fix it."
Matt: "I can't. It's dead. Look at it."
Me: "I can't look at it. It is just confused, fix it."
Matt: "Go order another one, read something else, maybe?"
Me: "What?????  No, that violates my laws and rules on Book Reading:  When and How and In What Order!  And I CAN"T QUIT YOU, KINDLE 2"!:
3. Allison's Kindle 3:
Oops. Green tea again.
My bad.
4. Allison's Kindle 4:
There is a debate between me and my friend Rob on whether this Kindle died during a tragic hair blow drying incident (my theory) or by falling from the sink to the floor and smashing (his theory).
I say, I am right, because I would not have had the Kindle on the sink if I was not blow drying my hair upside down, requiring Kindle at sink height so I could read while drying my hair.
So, clearly, blow dryer death.
He is all  "It fell from the sink, that is what killed it, why are you ordering one on rush order while we are all on Most Funnest Beach Vacation?"
I am all  "Because I need it. I am getting twitchy already."
5. Allison's Kindle 5:
At least you get the good story, Kindle 5.
You short-circuited because I cried all over you.
On the monorail at Disney World.
(Note: Do not get judgy because I was reading on the monorail to Disney World.
My kids were in a contained space, no need for food, or protection from tigers, and I was reading a good book. A good, SAD book.)
It was not my fault, in that I did not know I could cry that much without starving French singing people or moors and brooding involved.
But you went down in blaze (Or fizzy bleep sound and black screen) of glory:
The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green, was awesome book.
Totally worth the public crying and the rush order Kindle to Disney World so I could finish with the crying and awesomeness.
6. Allison's Kindle 6:
RIP, 6th Kindle.
I thought we were friends, had a good thing going.
For me it was Tru Luv 4 Eva.
I didn't spill green tea on you like Kindle 1 and 3.

I did not drop you while blow drying my hair. I did not cry on you so much that you short-circuited.

I honestly don't know what went wrong, 6th Kindle.
All was well, The Painting Girls was being read, and you were placed gently on bedside while I had a heated debate with my daughter E on what does or does not constitute a Book-Report-Worthy fourth grade book.

Did all the bickering and "Nuh uh" "Uh huh"s get to you?
Did the  literary (Or as I was telling E, totally NOT literary if there are cartoons in it I do not care how many pages it has) jousting stress you out?

I'm sorry.
But you didn't have to go all half Charlotte Bronte face overlapping gray to white blobs of NON WORDS.
That was uncalled for, and my go-to fix it strategy of hitting you on the side of the desk three times, and turning you on and off did not work. 
7. Allison's Kindle 7:
I am not at fault for this one.
My 7th Kindle was actually E's first Kindle.  She kindly lent it to me while I was having my hissy fit over Kindle 6.
And though Amazon helpers and chat room devotees swore by various fixes, once Kindle 7's pluggy-in thing got loosened by me plugging it in a whole bunch trying to make it charge faster,
It Was Never Right Again.  
Like when a doll's head falls off or you get kicked by a mule, Never Right Again.
Matt invented some tightrope walking type solution of balancing Kindle 7 on top of Rosebud Lip Salve and a yearbook, and it would charge for two seconds,
but as soon as he walked out of the room, it would go dead and I would screech and be inconsolable,
I wanted my BOOK.
Whatever it was, it was good and I wanted to keep reading.
(Oh, it was The Woman Upstairs. Loved it.)
8. Allison's Kindle 8:
Again, not my fault.
This was V's first Kindle, that she touched one time, password protected it to keep her sisters out, forgot where she put it, it died, and she forgot the password.
It is perfectly functional Kindle 8, if its mysteries could be unlocked.
Alas, they cannot.
And this may be the World's Second Most Trivial Predicament
(I have already detailed the World's First Most Trivial Predicament here: http://www.iwantanintern.com/2013/04/cry-me-river-of-green-tea-lattes-and.html?spref=fb)
but it is still a Predicament.
So I am in my Kindle graveyard,
having rush ordered a new Kindle and am trying to decode V's Kindle simultaneously, so I can get to my books.
I had them ordered.
They were lined up in the queue.
That I cannot access in any way.
My desperate family suggests my iPad.
But my flighty sparkly gold iPad won't download new things, must be done on Kindle, and get this????
Upon arrival, New Kindle declares itself Matt's 2nd Kindle.
He did not order it, his 1st Kindle has exactly two things on it:
The Oxford Dictionary and The Kite Runner.
Both unread, and of no use to me, I want my books.
I have already read the dictionary and The Kite Runner.
I can't co-opt his 1st Kindle.
I have tried, so it would not feel unloved and neglected, but it acted like it did not know me and I got offended.
It's cutting off its own nose to spite its face, that Kindle.
Fine, I may drown it in tea or tears or break it or overuse it or something, but at least it will get to act like a Kindle and not a paperweight.
But it is all, "No, I'm Matt's 1st Kindle. I don't know who you are, crazy lady. Go away. We're sleeping here."
So as I am trying to unlock and deregister and reregister V's 1st Kindle otherwise known as Allison's 8th Kindle, my new Kindle arrives and announces that it is Matt's 2nd Kindle.
That is absurd.
Has it met its processor, Matt's 1st Kindle?
That works perfectly fine if you want to read the dictionary or The Kite Runner but won't connect to our wireless network even with correct password, and won't cooperate with me at all, my attempts at:
-Good Cop, Bad  Cop
-Playing Hard To Get
-Mutinous Stare-Off
- Hissy Fits
will not prompt it to acknowledge me in any way or do its sworn duty as a Kindle to deliver me my books, NOW?
I manage to re-name V's 1st Kindle "Allison's 9th Kindle," even though that is totally embarrassing  - but it pretends not to know me either.
Sheila, and others in customer service, are flummoxed.
I am just livid and in book withdrawal, and that is not a pretty sight.
While my fake 9th Kindle ignores me,
Matt's 2nd Kindle -
Is NOT his Kindle, he did not order it, he does not want it, it is MINE.
I ordered it, and by the way, Kindle People?
Same address, same account, same household, we share here.
Or maybe we don't, but it doesn't matter, I am the one who wants the Kindle.
Not War of the Roses here.
No Yorks, No Lancasters, no need to make Matt's 2nd Kindle and Allison and her Dead Kindles fight for book summoning rights.
Everybody here, and probably neighbors by now, agrees:
Give Allison Her Kindle With Its Vast Library Of Awesome And Its Pre-Ordered New Books She Wants RIGHT NOW.
And as Cherry on the Sundae of Awful,  the power surges due to giant rainstorm,
our computer gets wonky,
and I go insane.
I want The Silent Wife and The Shining Girls.
I already ordered them, I'd prove it but all the witnesses are dead.
Matt's 2nd Kindle is charged, and all "Want to read the dictionary? The Kite Runner?"
I am all, "If NO ONE will help me, I am going to totally re-order two books I already own somewhere out in space! So help me, I will!!!"
Everyone: "Fine. Please. Shh. Whatever."
Me: "I will take this up with Sheila and other customer service people later. I need my books."
So my evening, meant to be spent reading peacefully, turned into hours-long fit-pitching and technology-cursing and fist raised to the sky "I shall never go bookless again" in my best Scarlett O'Hara voice.
Until I decided to act like I was not a toddler, and read my stack of magazines instead.
First thing I find in my first magazine is the book review section.
With an author reviewing The Silent Wife and The Shining Girls and raving about them and saying she's jealous because they are so good.
I cannot read that magazine.
I pretend to be Matt, which I do all the time and I am fairly sure the Amazon people summoning his running shoes know it is me ordering them, same as me ordering the Kindles, but whatever, I am desperate.
Matt's 2nd Kindle, charged and eager to be of service to "Matt," now has four things in its library. The dictionary, The Kite Runner, and its Nemesis' New Books, Ha Ha So There Take That.
And if Benedict Arnold Kindle thinks I am going to be nice to it?
After this subterfuge and tomfoolery and not giving me my books unless I re-order them which is Just Wrong?
If I were any Kindle in this house,
I'd either join Team Allison's Whatever Kindle,
or grow legs and run.
Because tea, tears, blow-dryers, deranged fury, or something equally destructive are in its future.
Proof Volume XVIII, Why I Want An Intern.


Friday, July 19, 2013

When I Wake Up, I'm Afraid Somebody Else Might End Up Being Me, My Interview With The Neighbourhood, by Allison

When I wake up
I'm afraid
Somebody else might take my place
When I wake up
I'm afraid 
Somebody else might end up being me
Haunting, fear of being rejected ?
Cast  aside? Forgotten?
Those emotions, the snake and slither of dread that envelops that primal fear?
It does not automatically bring to mind the burgeoning relevance, the furiously rising success of an alternative, indie rock band. But those raw emotions, that gripping nightmare?
Lyrics from "Afraid," by The Neighbourhood.
The immediacy of emotion, mood, feeling is what struck me the first time I heard their music, and continues to be what draws me in.
I am a huge, crazy, super, extra triple fangirl for The Neighbourhood.
I heard their song "Female Robbery" on alt nation satellite station, immediately raced home to hear more, and do some pleas to the universe that they tour and I can see them live.

And it worked!
Both finding more awesome music from them,
 AND magic music summoning:  they were opening for Temper Trap in Chapel Hill and Passion Pit in Charlotte last fall, so traveling for shows mandatory.
The Neighbourhood is a band out of California, lead vocals from Jesse Rutherford, guitarists Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels, bassist Mikey Margott and drummer Bryan Sammis. I have written, raved, waxed poetic about them (http://www.iwantanintern.com/2012/09/wicked-twisty-stormy-music-am-obsessed.html and http://www.iwantanintern.com/2012/10/ridiculously-sick-good-killer.html)
Their sound, their vibe, their emphasis that they are a collective group, with a vision - literally and figuratively black and white.
Minimalist, simple.
And if done poorly, it could be a trite gimmick.
It's not.
They can smoothly pull you in with a crooning, dream-like melancholy, then flip to rap and raw pain. The sound, the imagery, the lyrics - they don't so much tell you a story or build defined, structured songs.
Instead, they almost pull away, so that what you experience is sensation, or feeling.
The stark black and white actually contains grit and blurs of grey and layers, retreat into shadows.
And their choice to hold back, lurking in the greys, vividly creates the unpredictable, the unknown. 

And seeing them perform live, small venue?
It was fab, their collective sense as a band and the urgency of the music? Awesome.

And they are the coolest - and in a smaller crowd, we got to talk afterwards,
and what struck me the most was  all of the guys had a shared vision, a point of view, on what they were doing musically, artistically with their videos (all of them shot in black and white), everything they were putting out there.
All five guys talking about their songs, what they were developing, even the T shirt design - clearly, style and their purposeful air of mystery - smoggy and cloudy - are significant choices.
And my bullshit detector did not start blaring.

No publicist, they all were talking about their ideas and their goals for the music and everything they do.
They were just starting out, and they had a defined sense of their sound, their ideas, and were solid on their band as a collaboration. And videos, any visual they put out there were meant to evoke the same feelings and mood as the music.

And in our current extreme, media saturation, instant gratification climate, it was super cool to hear and see The Neighbourhood as they chose to retreat into the smoky noir they were creating.

Their EP, "I'm Sorry," is a swirl of smoke, menace, lust, angst, fear, and anticipation.
"Female Robbery" is chilling, wicked, sexy, and jolting.
"Sweater Weather" is gorgeous and mixes up a faster, hip hop feel, drifting into lustfully swoony lyrics ("One love/ Two mouths/ One love/One house/No shirt/ No blouse") with a meandering, dream-like croon, slinky and slow.

The corresponding videos convey the chill, the want, the lust just as the music does.

 "I Love You" released this Spring keeps building on their stylized, noirish, lurking, unsettling fear as well as sorrow and pulsing want.

And songs like "Afraid" and "W.D.Y.W.F.M?" weave in the constant angst of being replaced, being rejected, the constant strife to create and be.

Since I am totally, ridiculously into The Neighbourhood, and their manager is way cool, I got the chance to interview Bryan the drummer, and meet up with the rest of the band to get to say hey and take photos (black and white, of course) before a recent show.
I was absurdly excited about this glorious rainfall of total awesomeness, and really had two goals:

 1. Remember to ask questions,  but do not go off the rails on tangents and basically, shut up and let them talk

 2. See Goal Number One.

As a professional, I had my thoughts/questions written out in my seven year old daughter's purple notebook,
but my ideal was for me not to need them, for the conversation to flow.
Matt brought his old-school doctor Dictaphone so I could remember whatall was said afterwards in case my brain melted from joy and proximity to band that rules.

And guess what?
It was fab.
And I was supposed to have ten minutes but we talked for over forty minutes, ran the gamut of the things that make this band so intriguing to me, lyrics, style, influences.
Was Fab.

Bryan was totally cool, thoughtful, and very open sharing insights into their trajectory so far, what inspires them, their creative process, was phenomenal in delving into their music, lyrics, style, inspirations, it was abundance of yay whee tra la la. 

I really wanted to hear more about their mix of sounds, their defined style and visual choices, and what was the deal with particular songs or videos on which I am obsessed.

So I started with a question about their somewhat shadowed persona versus the immediate intimacy of their music and visuals, whether the intimacy reveals  tenderness or terror, the feel is intimate.

Me: "There is this air of mystery surrounding you guys, it seems a conscious choice?"

Bryan: " It's funny, we get our emotions out through our music.
When we get interviews where we get questions like "What's the craziest thing you've done on the road?"
On paper, we aren't very interesting, we put it all in the music.  Zach, our guitarist, especially feels that way - that in person he's not an emotional guy at all."

Bryan " It goes for all of us, if you listen to our discography, you get stuff over here, and over there, because our music is changing as we're changing.
It's moody just like we are. It's happy, it's sad, it's angsty."

Me: "It always feels emotion-driven in some fashion, with so many different emotions in play - "

Bryan: "Yeah, even when I think of the song with the least emotion , "A Little Death," is the only song written as a story, which is not the way Jesse usually writes.
But even that, we've changed it up from  the demo, we kind of made it mean something to us, even though it wasn't necessarily as super personal to us."

Me: "From the beginning, The black and white, there is a point of view , it translates in your songs, your videos and trailers, it evolves but it is clearly your style, how did that come to be?"

Bryan: "We don't really even think of us as just the five of us, of just a band. (he points to Ellis, their manager, who's on a computer across the room, wearing a black and white Nbhd hoodie, I have that one!) He's in The Neighbourhood.
We want to be an entity that puts out content. I would love to put out things that aren't just music."

Me: "How do you create the videos? They are distinct and different, but very of one voice and style, what is that process?"

Bryan: "All of videos are done by two of our friends, and I consider as just as much a part of The Neighbourhood as we are, and it wasn't like we had to search for someone, to find somebody who knew what we were going for with our visuals.
They've been around from the beginning so they were always behind our thing.
The marriage between the music and the visuals is what we are, we wouldn't be one without the other.
If the music were different, it wouldn't work with the visuals, and if the visuals were different, it might not set the right platform for our music to be heard."

Me: "You're expressing yourselves artistically, not just with sound, is that kind of the way you all see it?"

Bryan: "Yeah, that's what it is about for us, everything, the album art, merchandise, videos, anything visual, how we dress when you see us, everything is in a similar mindset so you have an idea of what we are putting out there, what we're doing next."

At this point, I can't stop from jumping into my particular Super Fangirl thing.
Me: "Female Robbery? I am dying to know the story behind that song. And the video?? I have my theory . . ."

Bryan: "It started out, it was about a girl wanting someone to take her away, that song is loosely based on this girl we know, who used to pray and dream every night that she would be taken away and cared for by someone else.
The video is open for interpretation artistically, with her burying something, it's open for interpretation, how we like our music to be."
I brought up what the song, and the video especially, summon in me
-   a metaphor for stealing childhood, , with the grown woman in the suit taking the little girl and her journal away from her house,  from fighting parents,  and then they bury the journal?
In my head, it was forcing her to grow up too fast, robbing her of her childhood.

Hearing how the song came to be, more of a twisty version of the fairy tale or fantasy in childhood was that someone would come and claim her and take her away from her real life into some other life - which I have thought of as the root source of fairy tales or stories of orphans so we can process fear of abandonment -
When Bryan said they were fascinated with that concept, and kind of spun the song around
 "leave every thing that is worth a single cent and just take me instead, don't tell anyone"
(Note: he totally quoted their lyrics, which of course he did, it's their song - but it was at that point that I felt like, he was having total conversation with me and also, this was clearly a developed idea leading to one excellent song)

We then start up a cool talk about their through-line stylistically and visually, the black and white images, the specific style and tone, and how there are pros and cons with their approach.

They feel that when it works, it gives them a distinctive, unique way of presenting their music and visuals, but there are times it can limit them, or restrict who they work with, even with big opportunities, they only shoot in black and white, and not every photographer or publication is cool with that.

(NOTE: Since this interview, Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O'Brien have had The Neighbourhood on as musical guests and had their segments done in black and white.
Extremely cool of those shows to go with the Nbhd's vibe, and very cool for the band to get great exposure on those shows.
Yay and whee yay all around on that!)

Next up:
Me: "Do you designate time to create, or is it an evolving thing?"

Bryan  "It's a luxury in that Jesse is good with computer programs, logic and stuff like that, so he can get ideas and start working on something if we are in the van for 8 hours, Zach has come up with a couple of riff ideas that we'll flesh out during sound checks.
It just kind of happens - we're all itching to do more, and we don't have any time, so we try and bring stuff on the road."
Me: "Who out there now, artists, bands, musician, is influencing you right now?

Bryan: "People influence us in different ways,
Not necessarily their music style, for example the new Travis Scott video , the video is like a short film,  - the video more than the music inspired me for music, you know what I mean? So it's not necessarily people's music that inspires our music, it can be other things.
Kanye's new album art, super minimal, interesting to look at.
I come from a poetry background, poetry club in college, so someone that is a wordsmith speaks to me.
On a music level,  the drummer for MuteMath, Darren King, he does stuff a little differently, his drums are dead sounding,  he puts a lot of tape on his drums.  Mine are kind of like that, but we need a different sound.
He has a New Orleans shuffle on a drum beat, and I lived in New Orleans for a while, and love that,
 . . .  he's in an alternative band but he doesn't use conventional alternative drum beats.
And every time I hear a good hip hop production like Mobb Deep - a drum loop but with real drums, I love that."

Me: "The previous times I've seen your shows, everyone is clamoring for "Afraid," wanting to know when you're recording it, it totally strikes a chord in a lot of different people."

Bryan: "It's funny, we've been playing that song since I think literally the very first show we played, and ever since that, People were like, what's that song? And now that it is out, it gets great response, it's total crowd participation."

Me: "A lot of your songs reference "they" or "everybody" or "people" or "you", in the lyrics you're struggling with or fighting against something, or giving in to it, those themes brought in a lot of different ways?"

Bryan: " Yeah, it is. "Afraid", is about, when all this stuff started happening for us, we first got a manager, looking back on it, that was the essential, defining thing"

Me: "That is one of my questions! When did you realize you were a thing?"

Bryan: "It's funny, that song is about, how that was the biggest thing in the world for us, like in our minds, we had won a Grammy and traveled to the moon.
So every day we woke up, like, I hope this is all real.
I hope its not a dream that's happening to somebody else.
And that is what "Afraid" is about."

(NOTE: Hearing him explain the song was super fascinating - because it is the song people are really wanting to hear and wanted to be released.
To hear that "Afraid," such an in-demand song, be about the very fear that "when I wake up, I'm afraid somebody else might take my place"  -
That it was them freaking out about the whole concept of, is this real, how long can it last?
How do we deal if we are liked and then hated the next day?
How do we cope with worrying about that?
How do we do our thing without freaking out about that in our heads all the time?
Is that possible?
The intensity of the excitement of getting to do their thing, juxtaposed with the intensity of the fear of it evaporating into the ether? It's like their audience is feeding those intense emotions through their own rabid response to the song.)
Throughout the interview, and the photos afterwards with all of the band, the "we're a collaboration" belief  was very clearly emphasized.
Both verbally, from Bryan and from me talking with them last fall, and nonverbally - they all urge everyone to be in the photos, they just give off a "we're a thing, here" vibe.

And I am a hard sell on "we're a team, all together" thing, even when I am giant fangirl for the band. But the little things, like, everybody in the picture!!! It's not just the lead singer!!!
All of us! and the consideration they give one another and everyone contributing is compelling.
It is hard to believe five guys, plus their manager, their videographers, can collaborate and make this shared artistic vision happen. 
But I buy it, in this case, with this group.
It kind of radiates off of them, not contrived or for appearances sake.

And then, and the others started filtering in, - and were all as cool and chill as I remembered, even though the place was jam packed with a sold out crowd.
And then, photos! Which we took in black and white, obviously.
And then, their show! Which?

I saw them in a crowd of maybe twenty people in October.

This month's show was sold-out, people were worked UP for this band, and I cannot imagine what a blur of emotions and being sucked into a vortex these guys must be experiencing, with their popularity, exposure, and fan base rising exponentially.

And having just talked with them about "Afraid," and feeling like all of this might be a dream, or they'd be replaced by someone else, the fear of trying to seize fleeting joy and success?

Seeing them perform it to absolutely RABID crowd, flipping OUT for the band, the song?

It was jolting. I could see, I could feel, the emotion, the fear, of having your dreams realized - because that realization is entwined with the visceral fear of it becoming your nightmare.

Or not your anything.

Or not you.

I mean, seeing them live, seeing the crowd response, seeing them get mainstream cred and their creative endeavors skyrocketing, I think they can pack that particular nightmare away.

But I kind of hope they don't.

Because, damn, these guys are on fire.

And their access to their wants and fears and emotions, and their ability to twist and weave that into the ridiculously sick good stuff they are doing?

More, please.

Another shot from recent show, because I am still whee yay tra la la-ing,, that ruled. More please again.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

He Won't Know What You Put In His Cornflakes? Or, "The Mess," Indeed, by Allison

Ok, so I am making a mixtape.

This is a chronic thing now, apparently.

I am always using this self-assigned assignment as a most excellent procrastination tool/chance to wear my giant purple headphones.

But tonight, I am cracking myself up, making a mindlessly delightful (to me and I hope to the recipients as well, that is goal anyway)
thing I am calling Summer of No Math.

My work in progress is named Summer of No Math because I started the mix with The Dolls "Summer of 93"  -- that was supremely awesome summer for me, summer of most excellent cross country trip ever, and I am seeing those friends very soon, and the mixtape muse struck.

But then? 
I did math (Specifically: What year is it? What year was that? Oh. Nevermind.)
And got bummed out.

So, no math.

Apparently I am now going to have to cross the verbal part of the SATS off of my mixtape as well.

Because I was putting Kid Astray's "The Mess" on, and I was having a fab chair dance, I love this song, but I realize I totally, completely am not solid on the lyrics.

In fact, what I am singing makes no sense at all.

I have come up with "He won't know what you put in his Cornflakes."

That seems way off.
And then I am thinking they are counting in German, and something something.
I have no idea.

So I reluctantly try to find out what the lyrics actually are -
I hate to do this, it feels like cheating - but I can't go around singing about Cornflakes unless I am sure I should be singing about Cornflakes.

Well, I was waaay off.

Like, the Universe saying "Go To Bed, Allison, You Are Melting From The Heat, Nobody Is Singing About Cornflakes."

I am not sure how I got from what they were singing to what I decided they were singing, but I cannot deny the Universe has a point.

I will extract myself from my excellent procrastination and headphones in just a minute before I totally get other songs completely wrong.

After I get the next ten songs I picked out squared away, I will totally stop this.

And as a goodnight, here's Kid Astray, "The Mess."  Not about Cornflakes.

I Hate Parades, Or, Why I Am Probably Going To Be Deported, By Allison

I am not a Fourth of July type person.
Partly due to the fact that it is always very hot outside, and I do not like hot.

Also, I do not like forced outfit color schemes.
That makes the Fourth of July extremely vexing.
People get all "Where's your love for your country? Are you Canadian or a terrorist?" if you do not wear the required red, white, and blue.
And I have tried navy and white shirt and white shorts alternative every year, (I like that outfit), nobody goes for it.

But the main reason I am not a July 4th fan is because I HATE parades.


I do not want to stand in the hot, listening to the girls be all "We can't see!  We should have gotten here earlier, MOM.  You always do this, now the evil clown can't throw old candy at us."

And I have to then remind them:
1. They are lucky we are even AT a parade
2. No way are we getting there two hours early to stand in the hot and wait for it to begin
3. Also I have told you before not to take candy from evil clowns.

 One reason for this loathing of parades can be traced back to my younger childhood, in which my family would all meet up at this campground area on a bay, and it would be a big party with all sorts of seafood and clams and oysters and other bay products, that part was cool.

But for some reason, the highlight of those days was that when there was a parade or "prelude to Allison burning her hand with a sparkler, every year."

Before the actual parade, a big honking truck-ish vehicle drove all around the campground spraying  huge, thick, clouds of noxious, deadly,(surely completely a carcinogen and maybe a hallucinogen) mosquito spray in mass quantities.

 (Note: the mosquitos there are HUMONGOUS, but still)

 My cousin, my sister, and I would idiotically ride on the back of this mosquito spray truck, inhaling copious quantities of Very Bad Stuff. 

(Note: This is before anyone completely realized that stuff was like Agent Orange, and also my cousin and sister are totally not compromised in any way by these fume-inhaling celebrations, so it might just be me.)

 I did kind of feel cool that WE got to be the crop-duster mosquito-killer kids, so my parade issue really manifested itself when we moved to a subdivision in the suburbs, in which each neighborhood had its own woodsy name.
Ours was Quail Hill. (no hills, no quails, but that was the name.)

Every year, the various neighborhoods in our subdivision would have a Fourth of July parade, and neighborhoods would do a theme and enter to win Best Neighborhood, or whatever it was.

Somehow this lead to me marching along in a parade (audience filled with classmates ,neighbors, other people who could laugh at me)
dressed up as a birdfeeder (Quail Hill is For the Birds!)
or Hillbilly Jailbait in gingham shirt tied at midriff, jean cutoff shorts, pigtails (Quail Hillbillies!),
and it probably does not need to be said but -


 I am an adolescent girl, a foot taller than everyone, my greatest wish is to be a foot shorter, blonde, and named Jill, and I am instead birdfeeder or Ellie Mae Clampet (sp? too lazy to Google).

Once I was able to wrangle myself out of neighborhood pride parade entry, I am still made to participate, so my friend (who is cute and darling and tiny and adorable) and I decorate and ride my family's tandem bike in the Bike Contest portion of the parade.

And there are little kids, all sorts of adorable toddlers, and then here we come, and I am doing my best, but I am up front on the tandem.

And anyone who has ever been in that position realizes very quickly that you are basically rickshaw person, steering and pedaling for both of the tandem duo, and while backseat tandom person is pedalling away all cheerfully, they are NOT actually steering or moving the bike forward with their itty-bitty cute little pedals. 

And as we pass the judges on that Hell Parade, they are all "Well, missy, don't you have trouble with your steering. Be careful not to hurt your cute little friend. Good luck, don't wreck, you'll ruin the parade fun.."

So now, retroactively, I say to these judges: 


You are lame and mean and I don't see any of you chugging a tandem bike up a hill slowly so you don't squash little kids, plus, who made you judge of this?
I did not agree to that.
I call foul.

This is my early life parade trauma, I have lots more parade hell experience, but I am being summoned away to dress like a Patriot. 

And I am not non-Patriot, I actually carried around a leather-bound Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights (separate from my pocket sized Constitution) for many years, am fan, but I am totally positive those guys would not have made me inhale toxins, dress like a birdhouse, or willingly be mocked by gross creepy neighbor people high on their power as Parade Judges.

Happy 4th of July!