44F - 36F : Thunder

Feb. 19th, 2019 08:56 pm
zhelana: (heroes - want to be a hero)
[personal profile] zhelana
I had some difficulty sleeping last night, but did get to bed around 4am, or maybe 4:30. The alarm went off awfully early at 10:50am. I got up and went to read to Jafar. For once he let us continue on a book we were already reading. It's dated - talks about nonflyers walking all the way up to a airline gate, and there was something else but I don't remember now what it was that made me think the book is old. I mean, of course it's old, it's Goosebumps, but some things are just funny.

I came home and went back to sleep until 3. Then I got up and read the internets. Kevin called and said there was some complication with his student loan, and theoretically we shouldn't have to pay it for 2 months, but also they might take $400 tomorrow, which we can't afford, so I hope that doesn't happen. Something about they haven't gotten his paperwork for his income based payment so he asked for a 2 month deferral based on financial hardship which was approved, but then wasn't written anywhere in his account. So hopefully we won't have to pay that and this will give us the money I took out of savings to pay for the last $400 draft they did last month back in our savings account. Theoretically he qualifies for a 36 month deferment based on me being on social security, but we don't want to do that because we can only do it once, and if something were to happen to his income we want to have it available. And I don't have a deferral available on my loans nor even an interest only payment plan, because mine are private loans and his are federal.

An hour later Kevin called to say he was on his way home, but he didn't want to talk. It was thundering so Rogue was sitting with me and shaking, and generally feeling awful. Poor Rogue. She didn't used to be afraid of thunder, but some lightning hit our house, and ever since then she's been afraid of loud noises. Because of the rain, Kevin took an extra long time getting home, during which I continued with reading the internets and then read some of a book.

Kevin got home and the question of what to do about dinner came up. I wanted to cook a pizza, but he didn't want pepperoni. But everything on ubereats was like $20 delivery charge, which we're certainly not paying. We tried to order a pizza without pepperoni, but they said 3-4 hours for delivery. Then we wound up ordering off of doordash from Corner Bakery. This led to some debate about tipping because I'd heard the company doesn't pay the employees tips, but as it turns out it's more like the company guarantees at least $5 for a delivery. If you pay more than $5 it all goes to the driver. If you pay less than $5 the company subsidizes your tip and guarantees at least $5. Otherwise, the drivers pretty much drive for just tips.

The food got here and we ate. Kevin's soup didn't show up, so he was cranky but he decided not to call and complain about it for some reason.

After dinner, I read the first chapter of Early Riser and then 3 chapters of the philosophy book I'm reading, which I should be able to finish either tonight or tomorrow night as I have 2 chapters left of that.

I stopped reading because River came into the chatroom and Sarah started talking to her, so there was social interaction to be had. Then Glitterature came in, and I started on this entry after getting ready for bed, right around 9pm. I'm not quite sure why I get ready for bed every night around 9 when bedtime isn't until like 6 hours later but it's sort of the time to be winding down, I guess.

Thursday's rain has now been changed to AM rain, so it might stop to have fighter practice. But then again, with the way my hip is hurting right now, maybe I should skip it, and save my physical abilities for Friday night and Saturday to go to MCA? I guess it will depend on how much I hurt tomorrow. Otherwise, Monday looks to be the only day coming up without rain. I hope all this rain goes away before Gulf Wars. Hopefully Rick will be available to help me seal the tent on Monday.

The kingdom heralds are running a survey. I took the opportunity to bitch about their awards website. You can't tell which are intro level and which are advanced level awards unless you already know.

I'm trying to hire someone to help me take down my tent the last Saturday of war. I think I've managed to hire the son of the woman who lives on site. I had previously hired him to help me set up my tent and things the first day of war. He says he thinks he can arrange something to help me take down, too. I hope he can. I'm not sure I'll be up to loading my car by myself after a week of sleeping on a cot.

Pennsic 50 is coming up in 2021. I really want to get to it, and I suspect that if I want to do that I need to start saving money now because Pennsic is a lot more expensive than Gulf Wars. I think after this year I can start putting $25 towards Gulf and $25 towards Pennsic each month and after Gulf 2020 I may decide not to go to Gulf 2021 so I can put $50 towards it each month. Then I have to see if Kevin will let me go away for 2 weeks.

Chukar of Bluster

Feb. 19th, 2019 09:39 pm
[personal profile] ismo
Yesterday, we had to shovel everything again once we recovered from trip trauma. But the snow that had been so horrendous to drive through was light and fluffy as it lay on the ground, and sparkled with deceptive charm and harmlessness under the light of the first visible sun in days. We haven't had very many of those sparkly snow days this year, and I enjoyed it.

And then at night, the full moon rose in a clear sky, and lit up the whole snow-shrouded landscape with a marvelous pale glow, silhouetting the trees and casting their sharp, dark shadows on the snow like bold black ink calligraphy on crisp pristine paper. Tonight at sunset, the sky was still clear, and the hidden moon, just below the horizon, painted everything in Maxfield Parrish colors. The full moon also means we've moved from the phase of Sleet to the phase of Bluster on my EcoCalendar, and that always makes me feel relieved, even though nothing has changed in the frozen wastes outside.

Today I had therapy plus a haircut and coloring, which all together takes about two hours. I'm on very friendly terms with my stylist now, so we exchanged tales of the craziness of both our families at this time in our lives. We both are the Sane Ones in our particular constellations of madness--or at least we think we are, and assure each other of this in a companionable folie a deux. However, three hours of talking is a fork ton of extroverting, and made me feel as if I'd been working hard even though I was just sitting around!

I Heard a Bird Sing
by Oliver Herford

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

"We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

February doesn't rhyme with much of anything, but it's the same principle. And the birds are starting to chirp more cheerily as they flock to the bird feeder.
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Posted by Jonathan M. Gitlin

A supercar sits in a parking lot beneath an overcast sky.

Enlarge (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Although we make every effort to cover our own travel costs, in this case McLaren flew us to Phoenix to drive the 600LT (and the 720S Spider; more on that next week) and provided two nights in a hotel.

I'll admit it: I wasn't sure if I was going to like the McLaren 600LT Spider. I wasn't the biggest fan of the McLaren 570S, the car it's based on—unlike almost everyone else who's driven one, I'd pick an Audi R8 as my daily drivable mid-engined supercar. While the 570S made concessions to practicality, I never gelled with the way it looks, and it had enough electronic foibles that they became one of my overriding memories of my time with the car. But the 600LT makes many fewer compromises in the name of everyday use, and it's all the better for it.

Veteran McLaren watchers will know from just the name that there's something special about this one: in McLaren-speak, LT means "long tail." The first long-tail McLarens—ten F1 GTR race cars and three F1 GT road cars—appeared in 1997, with new bodywork that extended the nose and tail to increase downforce at speed.

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Snow day!

Feb. 19th, 2019 09:37 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen

I am going to get SO MUCH done!†

Here, let's try this markdown list thing again, for accountability:

  • read at least one (1) library book††
  • write at least five hundred (500) words of a wip
  • finish the post-septic-tank-issues bathroom clean
  • tidy the animals and dolls
  • sew my cloak pockets finally! and replace the buttons, and do cutting for next sewing project
  • do one (1) load of laundry
  • finish two (2) knitting projects†††
  • reorganize my desk
  • be ready to start nf book weeding
  • catch up on podcasts††††
  • write up a dreamwidth post with actual substance

That's totally reasonable, right? Right!

†in theory†††††


Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 5

My options are:

View Answers

Words Are My Matter by Ursula Le Guin
1 (20.0%)

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
2 (40.0%)

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
2 (40.0%)

Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel Jose Older
2 (40.0%)

†††they're both less than 30 minutes from done, so it's not as ambitious at it sounds - it's just what's left is the annoying fiddly bits and I keep putting it off

††††I have seven podcasts I'm behind on, and they're all at exactly nine episodes, so that's only about 63 hours, perfectly doable!

†††††Apparently DW markdown does not like footnotes at all. or polls.

winter CSA, week 7

Feb. 19th, 2019 08:38 pm
cellio: (Default)
[personal profile] cellio

  • 5 Rome apples
  • 3 celeriac (one small) (late substitute for the beets we were expecting)
  • 4 medium blue potatoes
  • 16 small carrots, generally around 4" long
  • large bunch arugula (that is the one front right, isn't it? it's bigger than past arugula, but the bag back left doesn't look like arugula)
  • bunch tatsoi
  • bag mizuna (this is a new green for me)
  • half gallon apple cider
  • 2 pounds pastry flour
  • small jar green tomato relish ("think of it as a more mature salsa")
  • 6oz piece goat's milk Parmesaanen

The preview email, once again, included a picture not of the cheese but of the goat.

The cornbread recipe that came with the cornmeal in a past box calls for pastry flour, which I didn't have then but do now. Last time I made it with regular flour, so I'll see if I can tell the difference with pastry flour. Meanwhile, this bag of flour comes with a recipe for pancakes. Neither cornbread nor pancakes are pastry in my mind, but I'll assume that the term "pastry flour" is expansive.

(The CSA linked to a short article about the difference between pastry flour and regular flour, but the site goes overboard with annoying in-page ads, so instead of linking to it I'll summarize: pastry flour is lower in protein than normal flour, which means it's lower gluten, which means it makes biscuits, scones, pie crusts, and quick breads lighter and flakier.)

kore: (Beth Gibbons - music)
[personal profile] kore
"Never Enough" (United We Fall)

"Stolen Memories" (Natural Progression)

"Feelin Alright" (Local 604) ON REPEAT

"Makeshift Kingdom" (The Bill Murray EP)

"Oh My" (Water Street)

sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
[personal profile] sophia_sol
A YA novel about fairies, and a teenage girl who's a portrait artist specializing in the fair folk despite the inherent danger of associating with them.

I was more and more into it the further I read! I particularly enjoyed Gadfly's role in the plot, and have a lot of feelings about Aster, and I love Isobel's family. (I love how the fact that Isobel's younger sisters used to be goats is just....a fact of life, not a This Will Become Relevant plot point!) The way that fairies were portrayed in this book were definitely interesting, and appropriately non-human, which I appreciated--though I feel like the love interest, Rook, was less so than the others. Which was too bad but also I totally understand how it would be challenging to write a romance between a human and someone who's Very Fairy.

Also, you can tell I'm getting old because the idea of a 17 year old being a) the Best Ever Portrait Artist, and b) old enough to be making certain spoilery choices ), is a little like.......Isobel, maybe slow your roll a bit?

Oh well, despite any quibbles I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Also, it's the kind of book where you can flip to the end and read the last few pages when you're halfway in, in order to spoiler yourself, and yet still be left with the incorrect impression of the true scope of what's going to happen in the book and what it means for the characters. I'm always kind of impressed when this is the case!
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Posted by Kiona N. Smith

These quarries supplied the stones that built Stonehenge

Enlarge (credit: Parker Pearson et al. 2019)

Excavations at two ancient quarry sites in western Wales suggest how ancient people probably quarried some of the stones now standing at Stonehenge.

The 42 stones in question are some of the smaller parts at Stonehenge, relatively speaking: they still weigh two to four tons each. They're called the bluestones, and they came all the way from western Wales. Chemical analysis has even matched some of them to two particular quarries on the northern slopes of the Preseli Hills.

One, an outcrop called Carn Goedog, seems to have supplied most of the bluish-gray, white-speckled dolerite at Stonehenge. And another outcrop in the valley below, Craig Rhos-y-felin, supplied most of the rhyolite. University College London archaeologist Michael Parker Pearson and his colleagues have spent the last eight years excavating the ancient quarry sites, and that work has revealed some new information about the origins of Stonehenge.

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Fandom Trumps Hate auction

Feb. 19th, 2019 04:47 pm
lettered: (Default)
[personal profile] lettered
I put myself up for the Fandom Trumps Hate auction. Basically, you bid on me to write a fic for you; the money goes to charity and the fic goes on AO3. If you take a look at my sign up, you’ll see me saying I’m not super good at writing to exact specifications, but if you have broad ideas or things you like, I would try really hard to make something you appreciate. I offered for three different fandoms--HP, MCU, and TWD, so if you want specific fandom fic from me, you should definitely bid!

My signup is here, and bidding starts Feb 26, so start thinking about whether you want to make a bid. Take a look at the other offerings as well! I’ll post a reminder when bidding starts. You can contact me here with any questions.

(no subject)

Feb. 19th, 2019 07:45 pm
[personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron
As just typed into the Concert Window chat in anticipation of the Sooj concert (9PM Eastern), a filk. Estimated ten minutes total, still needed RhymeZone.

Savage Love

Feb. 19th, 2019 04:00 pm
[syndicated profile] savagelove_feed

Posted by Dan Savage

Consider the (Extra) Lobster by Dan Savage

Two weeks ago, a longtime reader challenged me to create a new sexual neologism. (Quickly for the pedants: You're right! It is redundant to describe a neologism as "new," since neologisms are by definition new: "ne·ol·o·gism noun a newly coined word or expression." You got me!)

"Neo-Neologisms, Please!" was too polite to point it out, but my two most famous and widely used neologisms have been around so long—pegging (2001) and santorum (2003)—that they're practically paleogisms at this point. So I accepted NNP's challenge and proposed "with extra lobster." My inspiration: on a visit to Iceland, I was delighted to discover that "with extra lobster" was a menu item at food carts that served lobster. This delighted me for two reasons. First, lobster is fucking delicious and getting extra lobster with your lobster is fucking awesome. And second, "with extra lobster" sounded like it was a dirty euphemism for something equally awesome. I offered up my own suggested definition—someone who sticks their tongue out and licks your balls while they're deep-throating your cock is giving you a blowjob with extra lobster—and invited readers to send in their own. It was my readers, after all, who came up with the winning definitions for pegging ("a woman fucking a man in the ass with a strap-on dildo") and santorum ("the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex").

What follows are the best reader-suggested definitions for "with extra lobster," with occasional commentary from yours truly...

"With extra lobster" sounds to me like going down on someone—regardless of sex—when it's a little more odoriferous than you would like because they haven't bathed in a while. For example: "Things were getting hot and heavy with my Tinder date last night, and then I started to go down and was surprised with extra lobster."

I think I have a good candidate for your "with extra lobster" definition! It could be applied to a man who has an exceptionally large and dangling foreskin ("His penis comes with extra lobster!") or a woman whose labia protrudes ("I love pussy with extra lobster!").

When I first started dating my wife, she kept her lady parts waxed clean, and they looked a bit like a lobster claw, even being slightly red if the waxing was recent. We nicknamed her vagina and surrounding area "The Lobster," or "Lobby" for short. So I would suggest that "with extra lobster" should mean anytime you get some extra lobster in on the act—from normal lesbian sex (two lobsters!), to a standard-issue male fantasy threesome (two lobsters and one cock), to a surprise second go-around after you thought the sex was over.

The area surrounding the vagina already has a name: the vulva. While most people are familiar with the labia majora and minora parts of the vulva, aka "the lips," fewer know the name for the area between the labia minora. The spot where the opening to the vaginal canal can be found—also part of the vulva—is called the "vaginal vestibule." According to my thesaurus, lobby is a synonym for vestibule. So this proposed definition of "with extra lobster" is pretty apt. Now, some will quibble with the lobby-ish implication that a vagina is a space that needs to be entered. One can have a good time—great sex with lots of extra lobster—without anyone being penetrated, i.e., without anyone entering the lobby.

"Extra lobster should be the name for those cock-extender things. Example: "My husband has a small penis. And you know what? The sex is great! He gives great head, and isn't afraid to strap-on some extra lobster now and then."

As a vegan, Dan, I strongly object to "with extra lobster." It reinforces the speciest notion that is it permissible to consume lobsters, sentient life forms that feel pain, and associating a sex act with the violence of meat consumption further desensitizes us to acts of sexual violence.

Fuck off.

When you see a gorgeous ultra-feminine creature far more gorgeously feminine than my straight CIS ass will ever be. But under all the silks and stockings and satin panties... there's a wonderful and welcome surprise! That girl comes WITH EXTRA LOBSTER!

I've learned about fursuits from you, Dan, and so many other crazy things—like the guy who wanted to be sexually ravished and then torn apart and eaten by zombies. With that in mind, I think "with extra lobster" shouldn't refer to a sex act. It should be ENTIRELY literal: an act of bestiality performed not with one lobster, but with two or more lobsters. (The zombie guy was what hooked me on "Savage Love." I'm too shallow for the actual problems and stuff. More freaks please!)

Too literal and too improbable—and euphemisms that describe things that have never happened or only happen very, very rarely are unlikely to enter the lexicon.

I used to hook up with a cuckold couple with a particularly naughty fetish: I'd fuck the woman, fill her up, and her man would eat it out of her. So, say you hooked up with a woman, let's call her "Melania," and her husband, call him "Donald," ate her pussy after you filled her with come. Donald is eating pussy with extra lobster!

Sounds more like pussy with extra chowder to me—and what you've described already has a perfectly good (and widely-used) name: cream pie. And, please God, let's leave Trump out of this. There's no need to associate something so vile and disgusting with eating another man's come out of your wife's lobby.

"With extra lobster" should refer to any intimate pleasure where your expectations are greatly exceeded! I'm a gay man in my sixties, and my husband and I have been together for decade. I also have a friend with benefits. One night we were camping and I blurted out, "I would like to cuddle with you." What happened next was 12 courses—at least—with extra lobster! We've managed to rekindle this energy every couple of years over the past 25!

I believe your example of "with extra lobster" regarding an extra WOW factor during something sexual is perfect and doesn't need extra explanation. As the saying goes, Dan, you pegged it!

I agree with the last two letter writers: "with extra lobster" shouldn't refer to any specific sex act—and it should never involve actual lobsters and/or mental images of the current president of the United States—but should, instead, be a general term meaning "expectations exceeded." When someone really comes through for you, when they knock your socks off, when they make you see stars—when they really WOW you—then you got boned or blown or fucked or flogged or torn apart and eaten by zombies with extra lobster!

And with that sorted and settled, a bonus neologism to close the column...

This isn't a definition for "with extra lobster," but I wanted to share it. I live in Uganda and many of the streets are lined with stalls that sell BBQ chicken. If you know to ask for the special chicken, they'll often sell you weed. Special Chicken has become my favorite euphemism for weed!

On the Lovecast, the ethics of HIV disclosure: savagelovecast.com.


@FakeDanSavage on Twitter


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stuff and bother life

Feb. 20th, 2019 10:56 am
tielan: (Default)
[personal profile] tielan
As previously predicted, the mission Takes the Other Side of Infinity to just over 40K.

Should only be another 15K-20K to the end. *exhales*

Now I just need to not get tangled up in everything. Also, the lines of events need to be well laid out. And probably a few hanging sentences need completing.


It's been kind of quiet this morning. Not much happening, although I've picked up a couple of tickets - not many. And really easy ones. I did one manual upload (they really should automate that, I'm kind of surprised that they haven't). One of the issues here is that many of the users have a history and if you don't know the history then the request may not make sense. Oh, and there's a whole series of requests to unlock Purchase Orders/Invoices/Work Orders that have been locked. For some reason or another.


The cleanse is going pretty well. I had a slice of raisin toast yesterday (no butter) and the gluten seemed fine. However, there was also a morning tea for a couple of guys who'd worked for the company for 40+ years (one joined when he was 16) and so I figured I'd risk a piece of cake.

Within 30 minutes I had a headache and was feeling sleepy. So, uh, it could have been the chocolate, the sugar, the cream, or any additives that went into the cake. But it probably wasn't the gluten. Yay?

Today is back to a regular cleanse day, and tomorrow is…dairy I think. I shall have milk tea in the morning (still no coffee), and maybe take some cheese snacks to work. It would be nice to have a dairy dessert after dinner, but I don't know if I'll have the space.
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Posted by Ron Amadeo

Qualcomm's new QTM525 5G mmWave antenna module and Snapdragon X55 5G modem.

Enlarge / Qualcomm's new QTM525 5G mmWave antenna module and Snapdragon X55 5G modem. (credit: Qualcomm)

Two months ago, Qualcomm held the Snapdragon Tech Summit in Hawaii. That's where the company talked for two days about how the Snapdragon X50 modem would usher in the era of 5G mmWave. That was all for this year, and while there still isn't a single product readily for sale with the X50 modem, Qualcomm is already talking about its 5G solution for next year.

Today, Qualcomm announced its "second-generation 5G solution," the Snapdragon X55 5G modem. To go along with the new modem is a new 5G mmWave RF antenna called the QTM525, which obsoletes the QTM052 the company was pairing with the X50 modem. Overall, it's a faster, smaller, and more-compatible version of Qualcomm's 5G chip solution. We tore into Qualcomm's first-generation 5G parts after Qualcomm's big tech show, and while these "second-generation" components don't really address the issues raised in that article, they are a step in the right direction.

Qualcomm says these new chips won't be out until "late 2019." That means the X50 and QTM052 will still be filling smartphones and sucking down batteries for the majority of 2019. With Mobile World Congress happening at the end of February, a bunch of OEMs are going to announce 5G hardware this week and next week, and those devices should run previously announced X50 hardware. The X55 is more like "Next year's 5G hardware," but Qualcomm likes to talk about these things a year in advance.

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Posted by Apartment613

By Stephane Dubord

One of the rarest occurrences in the history of music is a successful, established solo artist joining a successful, established band; and that new entity continuing to have so much success. Sammy Hagar and Van Halen pulled it off, for a while. Queen tried it with Adam Lambert, but it hasn’t really stuck… One such artist will be gracing the Shenkman Arts Centre stage this Wednesday.

In the early days of Much Music, it was hard not to notice Lawrence Gowan. Catchy synth-based rock songs supported by glossy videos made him a mainstay on the charts during the late 80s, with Top 20 hits like “A Criminal Mind”, “Strange Animal” and “Moonlight Desires” earning multiple Juno Awards and nominations. Gowan’s sound evolved as the 90s dawned, getting grittier on Lost Brotherhood and then stripped down on …but you can call me Larry. His fanbase followed his progression, as he collected another half-dozen Top 20 singles in the 90s.

Then an odd opportunity came up, after he opened for Styx in Montreal and Quebec City in 1997. When the band split with their lead singer, they recruited Gowan, and he officially joined them as of 1999. They’ve been together ever since and continue to tour and release new music.

His busy schedule with Styx has had an unfortunate side effect: a lack of time to tour as a solo artist. Since joining Styx, he’s only been able to play a few festivals and one-off shows every year, leaving long-time fans in many cities across the country pining to see him live. The pining in Ottawa has stretched over two decades, as Wednesday’s show will be his first as a solo artist in town since 1997.

We caught up with Gowan on his current tour with Styx in the midwestern United States, and chatted about his solo career, his transition into a band, and how the music of the 80s is being reevaluated today.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Apt613: You’re finally coming back to Ottawa. As far as we could tell, the last time you played here as a solo artist was 1997, so it’s no surprise the Shenkman Arts Centre sold out so fast, since the pent-up demand has been building for two decades now…

Lawrence Gowan: I heard that in a number of cities that I’m doing on this short run. I think all but two are sold out. It’s really gratifying first of all to know that there will actually be people there to play to! It’s not that I’ve been unaware of not playing there, I get inundated with messages on social media from cities across the country saying “hey, don’t you like us anymore?” Ottawa is very high on the list because the three or four times I’ve played there with Styx, it’s evident that they still love classic rock quite strongly, and I’m just excited to bring the Gowan catalog out and play it for Ottawa like we did so many years ago. Never a year went by that I didn’t play Ottawa. It was such a great place to be in and to play. That stretches right back to even before I had a solo record, back to the late 70s. I had a band called Rhinegold that used to play Barrymore’s, and then roll the clock ahead a few years and I’m playing at Lansdowne Park, then shows at National Arts Centre. Every year there was something in Ottawa, all the way through. And then suddenly this 21-year gap.

Every band meeting we’ve had in the 20 years I’ve been with Styx, I keep bringing up various places in Canada and asking them “Can we go play there please?” Sometimes, they go “yeah, let’s go!” They’re a band that loves playing Canada. But the beautiful problem they have is that there’s truly an insatiable demand to see that band every day of the year somewhere in the world. So they really have to cut back every year on what they’re able to do.

You’ve been super busy with Styx, performing almost every day, but do you still look forward to playing solo gigs too?

Very much so. And quite honestly, that’s true of myself and that’s true of Tommy Shaw, because he does the odd foray into his own catalog, either solo or with the Damn Yankees, once or twice a year. For myself, there were so many years as a solo act and solo albums, that was the most reluctant aspect that tugged at me when I joined Styx: “I hope I’m going to be able to keep that alive.” One of the things that convinced me was when the band told me they wanted to start playing “A Criminal Mind”—so there’s one in the door!

It wasn’t until the 25th anniversary of Strange Animal that I realized if I don’t go do this now, it’s going to go away.

I had lots of reminders over the years, but it wasn’t until the 25th anniversary of Strange Animal that I realized if I don’t go do this now, it’s going to go away. That was in 2010, so even that is nine years ago. I played a series of shows in Fallsview in Niagara Falls, which was well situated right on the border, so lots of American Styx fans would come up and see Gowan for the first time, and the Canadian faithful who have been with me forever were there, and that really reignited the desire to never let a year go by without doing something to reacquaint myself with my solo skin, so to speak.

The only example that came to mind of a successful, established solo artist joining a successful, established band and maintaining it is Sammy Hagar with Van Halen.

That’s the only one that comes to my mind. And I use that as an example that, over the years, it can work. Every band is different. What works for one just doesn’t work for another. In the life of a band, any time a change is made of any description, it’s a huge undertaking. From within the band, it makes perfect sense, but to the fans, it may take some time to accept it, or to some, it’s immediate. I was such a Genesis fan, you can probably tell they were a big influence, and I remember when Peter Gabriel left I thought that was the end for that band. Then my buddy told me the drummer was going to sing on the next album, I had no interest in it. But then he got A Trick of the Tail, and was telling me I had to listen to it, but I figured Gabriel’s new album was coming out in a few months, so I’ll just wait for that. My buddy ends up having tickets to see them at Maple Leaf Gardens, and I’ve barely listened to the album, I go to their show and my jaw was on the floor the whole night. I remember thinking ‘Oh my God, I think I love them even more!’ Then a year later I see Gabriel live, and think ‘Oh my God, I think he’s even better than when he was with Genesis!’ I cling to that when I think of what Styx went through.

There was a lot of trepidation when I joined the band. Could this work? Could it last 3-5 years? And now we’re 20 years in, and we just played a sold out show in Las Vegas of just our new album [2017’s The Mission] beginning to end. It continues to find new listeners all the time because we made it sound as if it fits right in with what the band sounded like in the late 70s, except obviously with my voice and keyboard playing blended in. It’s amazing to me that we’ve been able to not only last this long but thrive this long. Really, any band, as long as they make the right decisions, and get the right person, it can last. When I look at the Rolling Stones, and I see Ron Wood on stage, I have to remind myself that he’s the third guitarist, and yet that is still 100% the Rolling Stones. The spirit of that band survived. I guess something in the spirit of what Styx is must’ve survived.

Lawrence Gowan. Photo: Claude Dufresne.

I’ll flip over to the indie rock station, and a third of the time or so, I’ll hear a brand new song, and think “is this a band I missed from the 80s?”

There’s an undercurrent of classic rock, and especially 80s influence–especially that synth sound, returning in some of today’s music. Rather than nostalgia, it’s actually reemerging.

I couldn’t agree more. I witness it every night, and increasingly so, especially in the last 12-13 years. It’s transformed from nostalgia–the word nostalgia no longer applies. That’s the weird thing to me. Last September, I played a show in Windsor and one in Cambridge. On both those nights, half the audience was 30 years of age or under. They weren’t even born when these records came out. So it’s not nostalgia for them at all. They have perceived what has taken us–it’s taken me maybe ten years or so, to realize it’s no longer nostalgia when you consider rock music, particularly classic rock, that was the giant musical statement of the last half of the 20th century, equal to if not surpassing what jazz did to music in the first half of that century. No one says if you go listen to jazz or big band music that it’s nostalgia anymore, because all the people that made it popular have left the planet. It’s still vital because it’s an absolutely viable musical movement.

No one says if you go listen to jazz or big band music that it’s nostalgia anymore, because all the people that made it popular have left the planet. It’s still vital because it’s an absolutely viable musical movement.

In December, I can go see The Nutcracker every year, so I’m listening to Tchaikovsky, who wrote that in the 1850s, it’s not nostalgia at all. It’s because that music was a monolithic statement that circled the globe, and those melodies have stayed with people for generations and generations. That’s where rock music is now and it’s in some ways, it’s just weird that a person of my own age that bought into this notion that rock music is very disposable, it’s popular culture that comes and goes and wanes. At the time, it was a very understandable belief of what was happening. But what we didn’t perceive is that this is affecting people’s lives to such a degree that it’s going to get passed on.

It doesn’t surprise me anymore, because I know how much I’ve spent for tickets to go see Roger Waters, The Rolling Stones, and I don’t regret one penny of it because I know just how important that music has become to my life, and I’m looking around me and I’m seeing people who weren’t even born and had their parents tell them about them about this band, or they found them on the Internet. Classic rock radio still hangs in there, but then I’ll flip over to the indie rock station, and a third of the time or so, I’ll hear a brand new song, and think “is this a band I missed from the 80s?” They have a LinnDrum going, and all these synths, and I’m discovering bands that have taken that sound and made it a central focal point of their music, much like Royal Blood sound like great Zeppelin riffs that hadn’t been discovered until these guys came up with them.

The rebirth of New Wave struck some from the older generation by surprise: the younger generation attaching themselves so much to music that was thought disposable at the time, and yet it’s enduring. And now, because the youth who weren’t around are accepting it, we’re reevaluating it, and realizing how good it actually was.

That’s exactly it. And I almost feel like ‘shame on us’ because we knew in our gut how important that music was to us, but the word nostalgia was glommed onto it as if it was like ten years old. But that word can be completely dismissed. Sure, for some people there’s always going to be that element. There are going to be some people that just want to go back and remember what their hair looked like in the 80s. There will be a faction of the audience for whom that’s part of it. Same as when I go to a Rolling Stones show and see a guy who’s over 70 years old in the audience and I can tell that’s part of it. But there’s too many people now that go ‘no, you guys don’t get it’ – that we missed the fact that this is the music that saturated half a century and it has stood the test of time.

When we play “Strange Animal” it’s 35 years old. And there are people that weren’t born that will stop me on the street say ‘Hey! You’re a Strange Animal!’ Something about that got through to them. I don’t know what or how it did, but it did, and I’m looking forward to seeing them in Ottawa!

Gowan will be ending the 21-year dry spell and making a return to an Ottawa stage at 8pm on Wednesday February 20, 2019 at the Shenkman Arts Centre (245 Centrum Blvd.) for a sold out performance.

Hank Green & Holly Bourne

Feb. 19th, 2019 11:22 pm
lokifan: Four hands holding each other's wrists to strengthen each other, text "we are fandom" (Fandom: unity)
[personal profile] lokifan
Last night I went to see Holly Bourne (British YA author -- her themes seem to be feminism and mental health, and the new one involves the internet) interview Hank Green (Vlogbrother, CrashCourse and Vidcon creator) about An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. Which is a very good book.

book and interview stuff )

(no subject)

Feb. 19th, 2019 03:20 pm
dark_phoenix54: (ivy door)
[personal profile] dark_phoenix54 posting in [community profile] books

Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir, by Jean Guerrero. One World, 2018


Jean Guerrero had a hard childhood. Her mother, a Puerto Rican physician working in San Diego, kicked her father out when Guerrero was 6- for understandable reasons. Her mother’s parents, who at times were the children’s caregivers, had some very odd ideas about child rearing. Her father, Marco Antonio Guerrero, was not around much, and when he was, he wasn’t much of a parent. Having mental illness but unwilling to acknowledge that, he self-medicated with, well, pretty much every drug that exists and huge amounts of alcohol.


The author majored in journalism and became a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, based in Mexico City. She used this situation to dig into her father’s culture and past. Turned out his family had a number of shamans in it, ending up in a sort of Castaneda territory. His parents and siblings, though, started a meat packing business that was making decent money with Marc Antonio running it. His half-sister edged him out, though, and that is when his problems really started, a downward spiral that included a tin foil hat along with the self-medicating. A voracious reader, he was a genius about repairing and creating things but couldn’t keep a job.


There is more than one crux in the story; the physical border between the US and Mexico, the border between mysticism and mental illness. The story wanders around in time and place, and I found this confusing in places. There is some repetition. There were sections that were so fascinating that I couldn’t put the book down, and other places I really wanted to skim or give up. Four stars out of five.

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