Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Concert Memories - The Beach Boys

Image: www.musicstack.com
This is the 2nd post in my Concert Memories series! To start at the beginning, click here!

My parents were born in the early 1950's so they were teenagers in the 1960's. A lot of the music they listened to as teenagers was the soundtrack of my childhood.

One of my parent's favorites was The Beach Boys. Their music was a staple in my house when I was young. Though my mom, whose name was Barbara Ann, wasn't always fond of the song that had her name. It came out when she was in middle school and she got teased about it.

But one summer in my childhood, we got tickets to see the Beach Boys in concert. I honestly don't remember a ton about this concert. I do remember that one of the original members was missing - probably Brian Wilson.

It was an outdoor, daytime concert. They played all their hits, and it was fun! Though of all the concerts I've been to, it would have probably been near the bottom. Not that it was bad, but I've seen a lot of better concerts since then.

Up next - Huey Lewis and the News!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Concert Memories - The Monkees and Weird Al

Image: http://www.monkeeslivealmanac.com
My 40th birthday is next month and I had asked my husband to plan something special. He really outdid himself because he got us tickets to see Red Hot Chili Peppers in April!

I've seen quite a few concerts over the years and I thought I'd blog about them. I may not remember all the places and dates - my memory is still a bit screwy after the seizures I had a few years ago. But hopefully the internet will help some with that.

In the 80's, Nickelodeon started showing The Monkees TV show from the 60's. My sister, cousin and I loved it. We all had our favorite Monkee - mine was Micky! Because we all loved them so much, my parents got us tickets to see them on August 4th, 1987 at the Ionia Free Fair.

It was a big outdoor concert and we were pretty far back. The opening act was Weird Al, who I didn't know at all. Oddly enough, as an adult, I really like Weird Al.

I do remember him playing "Like a Surgeon" and "Fat" - he even was on stage, in August, with the fat suit on! A lot of the crowd was there just for Weird Al. He had started to become hugely popular around then.

But finally it got dark and The Monkees came on stage! They were missing Mike, because he didn't want to be part of The Monkees at that time. But it was still an awesome concert. I'd never done anything like that before - I was 10 years old at the time.

We danced and sang along with all our favorite songs. It was awesome! The glow of the stage, staying out way past my bedtime and knowing that my favorite singers were right there in person!!

Up Next - The Beach Boys

Friday, February 10, 2017

CMU vs. Nazis

Image: hoganisms.com
The university I went to doesn't get in the national news much. Sometimes in sports news when the football team goes to a bowl game. But yesterday a story from my alma mater started popping up on Facebook - from quite a few people who didn't live anywhere near mid-Michigan. And it wasn't a good story.

Apparently the College Republicans group was handing out Valentine's and one happened to have a picture of Hitler with anti-semantic speech on it. You can google what it said, but I'm not posting a picture of it. I prefer my picture of Captain America punching Hitler instead.

The political climate in this country has gotten really bad. But I would have hoped that even college kids would realized that this is so not okay! The group posted a weak apology on their Facebook page, but CMU is investigating it. I truly hope that whoever thought it was funny gets their butt expelled.

I'm several generations from the one who fought in World War II. But I've always been interested in history and the time period of that war is one of my favorites to read about. But I didn't really get a true sense of the horrors of the Holocaust until Schindler's List.

I was 16 when the movie came out and I remember my mom taking me to see it. The movie is horrific, but because of what really happened to those people in the Holocaust. My mom and I had a long talk about it afterwards. I only watched it once again in college because I was a film major and I'm pretty sure I had to watch it for a class. But honestly those images were seared into my brain.

I'll watch Schindler's List again with Emily when she's old enough. Especially in the times we are living, it's so important to know our history as to attempt to not repeat it. It's sickening that those kids at Central Michigan University didn't have the knowledge to realize what they were doing was absolutely wrong.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Tales From Cuppedia - The Beginning

Image: http://butterheartssugar.blogspot.com/
Last year, I got the Dungeons and Dragons starter pack and started to run a campaign with Emily and Todd. I followed the story that came with the starter pack and it was fun. But there are a lot of stats that come with playing D&D that I was just fudging because I was having issues keeping everything all straight.

So I've been thinking for a bit about designing a really scaled down table top game. Just minimal stats, mostly borrowed from D&D and Hero Games. Something so we can still roll dice and have a combat system, but have it be more story driven.

I was talking to Emily yesterday as we were driving about what kind of story she wanted to do. She came up with something elaborate right away. She wanted it to be a Candyland and she wanted her character to be a catgirl.

So I wrote up the start of our campaign:

Trouble in Cuppedia

King Reyhan and Queen Mora has ruled Cuppedia for many years. Mora is a gingerbread woman and Reyhan is a chocolate man. But several months ago, the King has disappeared and a new King, Medwin, has taken his place. He looks like a Tigerman, but there is something off about him

The Queen has taken her leave from Medwin to summer at the castle in Sorley. King Medwin has stayed at the capital of Zo and is actively ruling the country. He is only making little changes right now, mostly trying to keep candy people and animal people separated. But the Queen fears for Reyhan and her people.

Emily is going to be a Wizard catgirl and Todd is going to be a Warrior Gingerbread Man. Sadly Todd has been working a lot of weekends so we probably won't get to play for several weeks.

I'm going to post recaps of our games because I think it will be interesting! I'm going to be writing the first adventure in the next few days and then plotting where I want the whole campaign to go!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cross Stitch Goals For 2017

My main hobby these days is cross stitching. It's fun, it's relaxing and it's kind of like coloring, but with thread. I honestly didn't get a ton of projects done last year and I want to up my cross stitch game in 2017.

I'm currently working on a birth chart sampler for Emily. I'm to the back stitch stage so it's nearly done. I'm not a huge fan of back stitching but it makes the piece look finished. I'm also still working on my Beauty and the Beast Thomas Kinkade kit. It's huge and the stitches are small so that's going to take me years to finish.

My next project, once the birth chart is done, is a Haunted Mansion pattern I bought on esty. I'm really excited to start this one but it's going to be massive and will probably take me a while.

I also treated myself to a subscription to The World of Cross Stitching. It's my favorite cross stitching magazine and it comes with an extra project every month. So I'm sure I'll be doing smaller projects from there.

My main goal, though, is to start making small Christmas pieces to use for Christmas cards. There are a ton out there and they are all really cute. I'd love to be able to send out some homemade cards for Christmas!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Image: mvlteenvoice.com
I've read most of the books in A Series of Unfortunate Events as well as seen the movie version starring Jim Carrey. The movie had its issues so I was really looking forward to seeing how the Netflix series stacked up.

The first season was available yesterday, and since it was only eight episodes long, I watched the entire thing. What follows are some of my thoughts, including some spoilers so if you haven't seen it yet, don't read any further!

I honestly loved this series. Neil Patrick Harris was brilliant as Count Olaf. He had the perfect air of ridiculous and menacing that is in the books. The children were also perfectly cast and the supporting characters were all great as well.

I've read some reviews that says it's too dark, too morbid and too unfortunate. I read one review that was unhappy that the story is actually a series of unfortunate events the Baudelaire children go through which seems odd to me since it's right in the title.

It's gothic and dark, but so were the books. I didn't watch it with my daughter, but I wouldn't have a problem with her watching it. Yes, there is death and murder, but none of it is gory. Usually the dead person is either not shown, or is taken away rather quickly. 

There is bits of humor, here and there. Patrick Warburton's deadpan portrayal of Lemony Snicket adds a lot and of course, the outrageous behavior of Count Olaf's acting troupe / henchmen lighten the darkness.

The biggest surprise I found was the short bits showing a mother and a father. We aren't told who they are until near the end of the season. They bring hope but it is dashed away, sadly. But as we are told often in each episode, this is not a happy story.

All in all, this show is all I had wanted the movie to be. Each book is presented in two episodes which gives plenty of time to explore the story fully. The movie tried to cram three books in and it felt rushed.

I'd highly recommend A Series of Unfortunate Events to fans of the books and fans of gothic misery!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Snow And The South

Image: www.al.com
I've lived in WNC for nearly 12 years after living in the Land of Snow and Ice (aka Michigan) for my whole life. And it still boggles my mind how people act when there is just snow in the forecast!

I do admit that when it start snowing, I stay off the roads. Last year, we got snowed in for several days because there are simply not enough plows / salt trucks to clear all the roads in a quick fashion. A little bit of snow can shut things down.

But it's not suppose to start snowing until this afternoon at the earliest. Last forecast I saw had it starting at 8 pm tonight. Right now, it's cloudy and grey, but nothing falling from the sky.

Yesterday, I went to Walmart. My main goal was to pick up a prescription, but the line for the pharmacy was super long and I knew that I wouldn't make it to the front in time because I had to be home before Emily got home from school.

So I ended up just buying bread and milk. It was stuff I needed but it was funny because when there is snow a-coming, people in the South stock up on bread and milk.

The parking lot at Walmart was crazy. People seemed to have forgotten normal parking lot behavior. I ended up pulling forward into a spot and I thought a lady was going to shank me because she had wanted that spot.

Trying to get out was just as tricky. People were going way too fast and not paying attention to where they were going. It was just crazy and that was yesterday - at least 24 hours before it was even maybe suppose to snow.

For everyone in the South who might get hit by frozen water coming out of the sky, remember be calm. Snow can't hurt you but slamming your car into someone in a parking lot might!