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July 2nd, 2009

01:30 pm
Oh happy day! Not that I was really worried or anything (ok, maybe just a teensy bit) but a U.S. District judge has ruled that the odious "Coming Through The Rye" can not be published in the U.S.

In her ruling, Judge Deborah Batts wrote that J.D. California's (real name Fredrik Colting) claim that he wrote the book to "critically examine" the character of Holden Caulfield was "problematic and lacks credibility." No objections there...read more at my book blog

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May 18th, 2009

08:19 am
Have you ever connected with a song so strongly that it actually kind of depresses you? Sometimes a song can point out and bring to the surface all the things you've been trying to surpress or forget. That's how I'm feeling about Viva La Gloria at the moment:

Hey Gloria are you standing close to the edge?
Look out to the setting sun
The brink of your vision
Eternal youth is a landscape of the lie
The cracks on my skin can prove
As the years will testify
Say your prayers and light a fire
Were going to start a war
Your slogan's a gun for hire
It’s what we waited for

Hey Gloria, this is why were on the edge
The fight of our lives been drawn to this undying love.

viva la Gloria

You blast your name in graffiti on the walls
Falling through broken glass that’s
Slashing through your spirit
I can hear it like a jilted crowd
Gloria, Where are you Gloria?
You found a home in all your scars and ammunition
You made your bed in salad days amongst the ruin
Ashes to ashes of our youth

She smashed her knuckles into winter
As autumns wind fades into black
She is the saint on all the sinners
The one that’s fallen through the cracks
So don’t put away your burning light

Gloria, where are you Gloria?
Don’t lose your faith to your lost naivete
Weather the storm and don’t look back on last November
When your banners were burning down

viva la Gloria
Send me your amnesty down to the broken hearted
Bring us the season that we always will remember
Don’t let the bonfires go out

So Gloria,
Send out your message of the light that shadows in the night.
Gloria, where’s your undying love?
Tell me your story of your life.

I'm really identifying with the Gloria character on this album. Throughout the album, we see her struggle with the death of her ideals and, as this song points out, her naivete. Gloria, like me, has believed so strongly in things, only to see them turn to ash in the sun. What do you do, where do you go, when the hopes and beliefs you've held so close for so long disappear?

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May 15th, 2009

01:22 pm - From my book blog, which you should totally read
We all have something that we love so much it eclipses fandom and moves into the realm of the sacred. For me, (and about a billion other people) that thing is Catcher in the Rye.

Catcher was the first book that I was forced to read in high school that I not only didn't hate with a fiery passion, but ended up loving. I've read it once a year every year since that first time. I fell in love with Holden. I consumed everything Salinger. You guys, I have a Salinger SHRINE on top of my bookcase. This is a true and undying love.

I have always loved and admired Salinger's decision to not sell the rights to any of his works to Hollywood. I don't want to see some bloated studio's interpretation of my beloved Catcher. I've always pictured it in the worst possible terms; Pheobe would be too precocious, Holden would be played by the current awkward hot thing, and all the beauty and nuance would be lost. There would be marketing and stupid movie tie in covers and...god. It would be terrible.

You know what else would be terrible? A SEQUEL.

I know. It's sort of shocking at first, right? If you're like me, you're wondering if this is some sort of effed up joke. I mean, really? Holden Caulfield, my beloved HOLDEN CAULFIELD, is now 76 years old and escaping from a RETIREMENT HOME? It's not a joke, dear readers. Go ahead and google it. I'll wait.

See? It's totally real and it's going to be AWFUL. Any lingering hopes I had for it being anything less than a stink bomb have been ripped away by my cursory search. Let's look at the first line, shall we?

"I open my eyes and, just like that, I'm awake. I suppose it's pretty damn early, but it must still be the middle of the night. It's so dark I can hardly see my god d*** hand in front of my face."

OMG are you SERIOUS? I know what you're thinking, and no, the author is not a sixteen year old uber fan. I checked. It's A FULL GROWN MAN who is to blame for this tragic literary crime. And his name? John David California. THERE IS NO WAY THAT'S YOUR REAL NAME, JERK!

OK. I need to take a deep breath. I didn't anticipate getting this worked up. But really, this is just so WRONG. Look, I understand the desire to emulate artists you love and admire. I once spent an entire summer writing a story about Green Day. You know, WHEN I WAS SIXTEEN YEAR OLD UBER FAN. This California jerkoff though was apparently inspired to write this "sequel" because he had "always wondered what happened." Christ on a Crutch. Should we, the reading public, be punished because you wondered what happened after this perfectly told story ended?

I shouldn't get too worried though. I mean, there ain't a chance in hell Salinger is going to let this piece of crap be released...right?


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May 14th, 2009

08:11 pm
You guys should check out my latest post on my book blog:  http://youshouldreadmore.com

Leave comments! Let me know what you think!

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May 13th, 2009

01:12 pm - Desperate, but Not Hopeless.
I think every one of us carry the memory of our musical first; the first time you really heard music. Sure, it had been in the background for years, and, yeah, maybe you even had a huge crush on Joey from NKOTB, but that was more about how CUTE  and dreamy he was, and less about the music speaking to you. That comes later.

For me, it came the first time I heard a Green Day song. I had this friend Cassidy, a little skater kid from the trailer park who was always way cooler than me. We would talk on the phone for hours each day after school, and one afternoon he said "wait, I want you to hear this." (Oh god, how many musical obsessions have started out with those seemingly harmless words?) He held the phone up to his speakers and pressed play, and my world was turned upside down. Admittedly, Dominated Love Slave is not Green Day's finest hour, but it was like NOTHING I'd ever heard before, and I was instantly obsessed. Every afternoon I called him and begged to hear the song again. Cassidy got so fed up with my constant nagging that a few days later, he shoved the CD into my hand,"Just TAKE it."  

And just like that, true love was born.

I consumed Kerplunk! at an alarming rate. I spent hours in my room, with my headphones, falling in between the notes of 2000 Light Years Away. The album was filled with songs of hopeless love and longing; adolescent angst and copious drug references. I immediately ran out and bought their first album, 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, and connected even more strongly with the songs on that album. Let's take a look at the lyrics to one of my favorite songs from that album, shall we?
I wish I could tell you
But the words would come out wrong.
Oh! If you only knew
The way I've felt for so long...

I know that we're only friends
I hope this feeling never ends
if I could only hold you
It's the only thing I wanna do.

You've felt like that. I know you have. I felt that way a million times in high school. And the way Billie Joe sings it? Sigh. It's so simple and pure and true. Songs like that cut through, straight into my heart and burrowed deep inside.

When you find your musical soulmate, life becomes a little more bearable. I honestly don't know how I would have made it through high school without Dookie.

At times, I would sit back and marvel at it all. How did he know? Was Billie Joe spying on me? Certainly no one else could feel this way.I hid behind the lyrics, I absorbed them, I screamed them at top volume when I was pissed at my parents. I've yet to find an album with a better opening line : I declare I don't care no more. I dyed my hair green, I plastered my walls with those three faces, I dressed in clothes old men had probably died in, I wore green EVERY SINGLE DAY. I snarled, i spit, I got into fights, and each night I refueled with that album. I consumed every interview, every word Billie Joe ever wrote, ever spoke. In the pre-internet age, I worked hard at that obsession. I wonder how kids these days can call themselves real fans. They don't understand what real dedication IS. Try finding Billie Joe's  birthday WITHOUT THE INTERNET. Go ahead. I'll wait a few months for you to get back to me.

Fourteen years ago, I went to my first Green Day concert; Kaiser Auditorium in Oakland. I felt my heart would jump out of my chest. In this snarling pit of fists and teeth, I finally found my true place in the world. I pushed and shoved and slapped and punched and grinned like a fool. Ah, welcome home.

Next up was Insomniac followed by Nimrod. Of course I bought them and knew every note; every nuance. They were good records, but they didn't live up to Dookie. sadly, after Nimrod, my dear, sweet snarling saviors kind of...well, let's just say that I took my posters down. I was worried. Was I such a fair weather fan? Was I just growing up and growing out of that phase in my life? I was heartbroken and disappointed with myself. I had sworn a life long allegiance, but there was no way I could get it up for Warning. Honestly, that record kind of blows.

I sighed, heavily, and resigned myself to just loving the albums of the past. After all, even if they never recorded another album, they had still given me solace in lines like Seventeen and strung out on confusion. I couldn't ask more, really.

So I left them behind. I went through an Ani DiFranco phase. And then, sadly, music seemed to lose its importance to me. Record stores made me feel old. I bought a Justin Timberlake album, and hoped 17 year old me would never find out about it. My heart still beat a little faster when I slipped Dookie into the player, but I was beyond that. Sure, I was still strung out on confusion, but it wasn't of the seventeen year old variety anymore.

Just when my musical landscape was at its bleakest, Green Day released American Idiot. I'll confess, I waited a few months to buy it. I was wary. (Have you heard Warning? That shit will give you pause, guaranteed.) The first note of the title track, however, quickly dispelled any reservations I had. That album was a breath of fresh air. I remember saying, with a grin on my face "They're BACK." I watched with a mixture of pride and awe how well received American Idiot was. Nominated for a Grammy? About fuckin' time! I saw them play in SBC park. There I was, crowding thirty and surrounded by kids who weren't even born when Kerplunk! was released. I danced and sang and tried to teach my little sister the proper mosh pit stance (feet spread slightly for balance, elbows out. I learned that one quickly after being knocked down in a pit once. Scariest thing EVER.) I even screamed in a kids face and pushed him, hard, into the swarm. I felt alive. Here were my dear boys, reborn, and taking me along for the ride.

Along with the rest of the fans, I've been impatiently awaiting a new album. And, five years later, here it is.

Again, I was nervous. What if it wasn't as good as American Idiot? They had set the bar so high; could they meet our expectations?

The answer, happily, is HELL FUCKING YES.

In the introduction track to 21st Century Breakdown, Billie sings sweetly (oh so sweetly)

They're playing a song of the century
Of panic and promise and prosperity
Tell us a story into that goodnight
Sing us a song for me.

It's been years YEARS I TELL YOU, since music has made me tingle. Since my breath has caught in my throat. Afraid to breathe for fear of missing a single note. The first track I heard was East Jesus Nowhere and once again, I was filled with that old desire to fuck some shit UP. Without realizing it, I had balled my hands into fists, and desperately longed for the pit. And when Billie whispered:

Don't test me
Second guess me
Protest me
You will disappear

I thought I would jump out of my skin with longing and desire.

I've listened to this album at least a dozen times by this point, even though it hasn't been released yet (thanks to The Leak on MTV.com) but I still can't wait to have some alone time with it. I want to lie on my bed, headphones pressed close and my discman at top volume and let the music really soak in.

In my generation, it's so rare to find a band that has stuck around this long; even rarer to find one that has managed to rise from the ashes of a musical rut even hotter and more relevant than before. I can track my life with their songs, and if I still had Cassidy's number, I'd call him up to thank him for making me listen to that song, oh so many years ago. I wish even more that I could call Billie Joe up and just say "Thank you. Thank you for saving my life a million and one times. And thanks for not releasing another Warning. Seriously dude, that one sucked."

Current Music: Duh.

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May 12th, 2009

02:17 pm
HA! This is too awesome for words:  http://www.nme.com/news/green-day/43768

And it's in BERKLEY, not NYC, meaning I can ACTUALLY GO. Stoked.

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March 25th, 2009

05:53 pm
What does my list of items currently checked out from the library say about me?

The King's English : adventures of an independent bookseller / Betsy Burton.

Pride and prejudice / Jane Austen.
You suck : a love story / Christopher Moore.
Sister wife / Shelley Hrdlitschka.
Unwind / Neal Shusterman.
Rumspringa : to be or not to be Amish / Tom Shachtman.
Here lies Arthur / Philip Reeve.
Wishful drinking / Carrie Fisher.
Not a pretty girl [sound recording] / Ani DiFranco.
Ani Difranco [sound recording] : (the first album).
The forgotten man : a new history of the Great Depression / Amity Shlaes.

That's some random ass shit.

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March 18th, 2009

07:41 pm
Am I the only one who thinks Twitter is sort of stupid and pointless?

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March 9th, 2009

08:16 am
I'd like a take a moment to say just how much I effing hate mothaeffing Daylight Savings time. Really Daylight savings? You're really going to steal an hour of my precious sleep? Oh, and good job on making it way darker when I crawl out of bed. no, honestly, it's AWESOME to drive eastbound INTO THE RISING SUN. Please, don't change a thing you effing time thief.

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February 11th, 2009

01:22 pm
So last night I'm on my long neglected OkCupid page (I just wanted to take some silly quizzes, I swear!) and an IM pops up from some dude in Australia. The first thing he says to me is "God bless you for the work you do." (referring, I'm guessing, to the whole CASA thing and not to the fact that I work as an effing paralegal.) he goes on to tell me that he's like 20 miles away from those horrible brushfires and his friend and friend's wife were killed. Holy shit right?

He keeps thanking me for the work I do, saying it gives him hope that there are good people out there. He was thanking me so much that I honestly started to wonder if he wasn't pulling my leg. He swore that he was sincere, thanked me for talking to him, and then signed off. I don't see the CASA work that I do as being worthy of a blessing from God, or something that should bring tears to this man's eyes, but I guess when your world is on fire , entire towns are being wiped out and you've just lost your best friend all thanks to some sick fuck arsonist, you look for any example of decency in your fellow man. All in all, it was a very sweet and unexpected exchange.

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