Happy Birthday to Me (and Biscuit)

It was just my birthday and I had a great time with friends! I had been wanting to get a piano for a few years. I took lessons as a kid and thought it would be fun to try to learn again. I found a cheap one on craigslist and my boyfriend, Rob, bought it for me. It desperately needs to be tuned, but I’ll schedule that and in the meantime practice on it anyway. It’s nice to play again.

Now I have a piano just like my mom and my grandma do, and in about the same tune... haha

Now I have a piano just like my mom and my grandma do, and in about the same tune… haha

During the day I got to relax and work on gardening projects. I celebrate my birthday with Biscuit, my dog, who I adopted 11 years ago on my birthday (best birthday present ever.) Biscuit is now 12 years old and we usually go for hikes or walks on our birthday, but this year it was too hot out and he can’t walk very far anymore. Instead we drove to the frozen yogurt shop up the road and I brought along some turkey for him and we got yogurt and toppings and ate it outside in a little outdoor seating area. Biscuit had peanut butter flavored yogurt with caramel sauce and reese’s pieces and turkey on top. I think he had a good day.

Biscuit eating his birthday frozen yogurt

Biscuit eating his birthday frozen yogurt

My new raised garden bed the Rob and I made

My new raised garden bed the Rob and I made

On my birthday some friends and Rob and I went to the Arizona State Fair. I’ve lived in Arizona for 9 years and actually never went there before. It was really great. I loved seeing all of the animals and LOVED the petting zoo they had set up. I think Rob and I spent more time in there than most kids. We ate shitty nachos and corn on the cob and drank beers and played stupid fair games. My friend Foz wanted to get me an “old timey” photo for my birthday and so me, Foz and Turner got dressed up and got our photo done. It was awesome! Weezer was playing at the fair and we got to see them for free. It was really cool. We road the ferris wheel afterwards.

 

I loved the petting zoo!

I loved the petting zoo!

 

Rob and a new buddy

Rob and a new buddy

 

Rob playing fair games

Rob playing fair games

We will seriously kick your ass!

We will seriously kick your ass!

Weezer show was great

Weezer show was great

 

La Grande Wheel is the largest portable ferris wheel in North America

La Grande Wheel is the largest portable ferris wheel in North America

Me, Rob and Turner in the car of the ferris wheel

Me, Rob and Turner in the car of the ferris wheel

Other friends in the next ferris wheel car (Foz is flipping us off)

Other friends in the next ferris wheel car (Foz is flipping us off)

View from the top of the ferris wheel

View from the top of the ferris wheel

 

In the spirit of enjoying every day to the fullest I will happily say that my birthday this year was one of the best days of my life! I look forward to the next year and look forward to learning to play the piano and continuing to enjoy every day as much as possible.

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UPDATE: GWAR founder Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, found dead in Richmond home

I have been a GWAR fan for 20 years. Dave Brockie’s humor and creativity have always been amazing. Gwar was always my favorite band to see live. I’m so sad that he has been taken from this earth so soon. RIP Oderus Urungus and Dave Brockie. The world is a lesser place without you.

WTVR.com

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – GWAR  founder and vocalist Dave Brockie was found dead in his Richmond home Sunday.

Brockie’s friend and former GWAR member Chris Bopst confirmed the death to CBS 6 producer Chris Westfall. Richmond Police also confirmed Brockie’s death.

“At approximately 6:53 p.m. on Sunday, Richmond Police were called to a residence in the 4800 block of West Seminary Avenue for a report of a deceased individual,”  Richmond Police spokeswoman Dionne Waugh wrote in an email. “When officers arrived, they found David M. Brockie, 50, deceased inside the home.”

Detectives do not suspect foul play at this time, she added. The Medical Examiner’s Office will determine Brockie’s cause of death.

“My main focus right now is to look after my band mates and his family,” GWAR manager Jack Flanagan said in a statement. “More information regarding his death shall be released as the details are confirmed.”

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We Don’t Need No Education: What albums would be in your “School of Rock” curriculum?

I’ve been “re-discovering” old music recently.  Lately I’ve been listening to music that my parents would have listened to, and a lot of the music that I listened to while I was growing up.

Some of the artists that I have been finding renewed appreciation for include David Bowie, Queen, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, The Cars, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd, just to name a few.

Upon listening to these old classic artists I have several times said to myself:  “Damn, this is really fucking GOOD,” and I am amazed at the genius and innovation of some of the bands who created this old music.

It is amazing to me that a band can create a song and have it bring so much joy and happiness to people around the world.  Over the years I have had much joy singing Queen songs to my dogs and dancing and bouncing all over the house to songs by The Cars.  As a teenager I used to fall asleep nightly to the first side of the record “Dark Side of the Moon,” by Pink Floyd.  So many Beatles songs simply make me happy and I have fond childhood memories of my mother singing along to Simon and Garfunkel songs.

When I was a little kid, my dad introduced me to the album “The Wall,” by Pink Floyd.  As a kid I didn’t understand the meaning behind the songs, but loved the tunes and especially loved the children singing with British accents “We don’t need no education”  and the old man scolding “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding.  How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”  I loved listening to the album and listened to it many times during my childhood and continued listening to it into my teenage years.  Over time I slowly began to develop an understanding for some of the deeper meaning of the lyrics regarding the subjects of mental health issues, war, government and society, alienation and isolation.  To me, listening to that album was part of growing up, and learning about the adult themes poised within this “concept album” was also, for me, a part of growing up.  Image

So as I’ve been re-discovering these various bands, I began to contemplate how amazing some of these classic artists are and I think about the fact that there are probably people on the planet who do not know these artists, albums or songs.  I find that to be a shame.  I really feel as though some of these classic albums were so inventive and groundbreaking that they have provided a stepping stone for many other great artists to take music to another level.

At one point in my life, I would say that every single person I knew was familiar with the albums “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, “Abbey Road” by the Beatles, and “The Rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” by David Bowie.  Now, with the passing of time, and as my circle of friends has grown more diverse, I wonder how many of my friends are familiar with these classic albums and artists.

I feel like there there is plenty of amazing innovative music out there and although some may think:  “We don’t need no education,”  let’s pretend for a minute that you were in charge of providing a basic music 101 class, in which students must become familiar with classic albums in an effort to encourage music appreciation.

If you were in charge of assigning albums for someone to listen to to improve their music education, “School of Rock” style, what albums would you choose?

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Some of my choices would be:

Abbey Road by The Beatles

Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin

The Wall by Pink Floyd

A Night at the Opera by Queen

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie

Nevermind by Nirvana

Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

Thriller by Michael Jackson

The Cars by The Cars

Aqualung by Jethro Tull

Purple Rain by Prince

I could probably list more, but I am curious as to what your list includes, please comment and let me know, and then I can start doing some homework.

The Resistance, by Muse

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I was listening to the album “The Resistance” by Muse today.  The album is so great.  For me I feel like I can appreciate it for its instrumental content, amazing music, and its lyrics.  I took piano lessons and violin lessons as a kid and in high school and college I played in an orchestra – I appreciate a lot of classical training within this album.  Also, the lyrics of the entire album seem to be inspired by the book 1984.  Not sure if that is true, maybe it’s what I imagine.  

In any event, I find the whole album amazing.  I find it inspiring.  It makes me want to be a better person.  How many music albums can I say that about?  Not too many.