Alabama

That’s When Everything Went Dark

hungry2

I started my diet again (yes, AGAIN and shut up, you naturally skinny bastards) today.  I don’t even deserve to whine to you good people about the weight I’ve put back on this year.  So I won’t.  Well, I kind of will.  Here’s how my day went in private thoughts, conversations and texts.  Upon review, I may have a love/hate relationship with Delta Burke and I may be willing to go to prison if I’ll lose weight.  Being fungry makes you do stupid stuff, y’all.

7:00 a.m. – Weigh in was good, I lost 2.2 pounds.  I got this shit on lock.

9:45 a.m. – (thinking to myself as I was getting dressed to take E to the airport):  When your Delta Burke panties don’t fit anymore, you are in some seriously deep shit.

10:30 a.m. – (still thinking to myself because E went all Sigmund Freud on me and told me to be ready at 10:00 a.m. when he really needed me to be ready by 11:00 a.m. and hadn’t even started packing yet.  This reverse psychology fuckery will not be forgotten, damn it):  Don’t judge me until you’ve waddled a mile in my Delta Burke panties.

11:00 a.m. (Headed out the door when E asked me why I had packed a small cooler):  “I have 4 bottles of water, an Atkins chocolate shake, and a cheese stick – in case of a fat girl emergency while I’m running errands today.”

12:30 p.m. (bargaining with myself by using everything I’ve learned from movies about talking someone off a ledge, literally):  Man, that Atkins chocolate shake was way too much.  I can’t believe that was only one serving.  I’m stuffed.

1:00 p.m. – That cheese stick is for an emergency.  Stop it.  Stop thinking about it.  Right now.

2:00 p.m. – Drink another bottle of water.  You’re not hungry.  You’re dehydrated.

2:30 p.m. – Oh dear God, thank you.  Sonic Happy Hour.

2:32 p.m. –  You will order the fried mozarella sticks over my dead, cushy, artery clogged body, you son of a bitch!

2:37 p.m. – Demons vanquished, I head to school pickup victorious sans greasy fried fat sticks but sucking on a Route 44 Diet Coke like it is literally the last dick on Earth.

5:00 p.m. – Eating every last crumb in my Chick Fil A nugget meal (small fries) because if I have to count this shit on my calorie log, I’m not going to miss a damned thing.  Also, I feel old as dirt and consider asking for the Senior Citizen Early Bird speical due to the fact that I’m eating before 6:00 p.m. because that’s what Bob Harper says to do.  Fuck you, Bob Harper.

6:00 p.m. – Returning three pairs of yoga pants to Ross and feeling stabby because 1)  They were too tight.  2)  How in the hell are YOGA PANTS too tight?!  3)  Does that bitch Delta Burke make yoga pants?  4)  Do they have to put every mother fucking package of cookies they have right in the God forsaken register line?  Son of a whore!

6:47 p.m. – How many Skinny Cows will make me a Fat Cow?

7:00 p.m. – I turn to my friend Lulu for help via Facebook Messenger.  I’m the blue text.

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-11-22-36-41-1.png

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-11-22-44-34-1.png

And that’s when everything went dark.  I did wake up with both of my tits, though.  Glass is half full, y’all.  You know that’s my motto.

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-11-22-36-56-1.png

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-11-22-38-17-1.png

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-11-22-38-24-1.png

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-11-22-38-30-1-1.png

I’m sorry for yelling at you when I was sleepy and fungry/hangry, E.  Lulu, thank you for listening to me and encouraging me to start doing meth.  I feel good about it and think it may work.  Fingers crossed.  And because once is never enough:  Fuck you, Bob Harper.  Also, make your panties stretchier, Delta Burke.  I don’t buy that shit for looks.

God, I’m fungry.

Advertisements

In Defense Of The South

My resident state for the last several years is the butt of many jokes (made by myself, even) but I’ve seen personally that it’s a proud Southern state full of good people.  Of all colors.  Frankly, I’m sick of all the piling on the South that’s been going on this past week by people who feel it’s their duty to publicly stereotype and cluck their tongues at a whole section of the country they know little to nothing about and some haven’t even stepped foot in because it’s flyover country they’ve only seen from their first class airline seats.  Make fun of us all you want, write your fiery blog posts with the big words we Southerners can’t possibly understand, call our chunk of the country out on social media so you look enlightened and intelligent to your friends and associates.  The South has seen far worse. Hell, it’s brought far worse upon itself.

I’ve been to the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum and been moved to tears.  I’ve seen the 16th Street Baptist Church, where those 4 little girls were killed.  Go ahead, look it up.  Because some of the same ones yelling the loudest over the South’s mistakes (and they were awful and numerous mistakes), don’t even know why the 16th Street Baptist Church is significant.  So go ahead and Google that before you continue your stereotyping of the good Southern people who don’t deserve it.  I’ll wait.  It’s right across the street from the Civil Rights Museum for a reason, just a hint.

I was at the Civil Rights Museum as a chaperone with Gracie’s school field trip.  Even before you entered the museum, the atmosphere was reverential.  The only other place I’ve toured that was as reverential as the Civil Rights Museum was the Alamo (I’m a native Texan and we take the Alamo seriously, y’all).  The children even felt the gravity of the place.  That was the easiest time I’ve ever had chaperoning a school field trip.  They got it.  Those kids with the deep Southern accents that I couldn’t even understand when I first moved here, the deep accents I thought had to be put on, they GOT it.

Near the end of the tour, I was approached by an older man, a security guard there.  He was of color and he had the kindest eyes.  He quietly asked me what I thought of the museum and without even thinking, I said, “It’s beautiful and awful at the same time.  I loved being here today but I hate the reasons it has to be here”  He gave me a soft, understanding smile.  I bet my answer didn’t surprise him.  I bet he’s heard it hundreds of times.  I saw that sentiment in every person’s eyes I saw there that day.

The thing is, Birmingham isn’t exactly a “destination” city to most of the country.  Don’t hate me for saying that, Birmingham, but it’s the truth.  Most people choose to go to New York or California or Florida, the Grand Canyon, and all those other great locales.  Birmingham is a great city with a lot to offer, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve never seen anyone on Facebook or Twitter post a picture of downtown Birmingham cleverly shot with their fruity and tropical alcoholic drink just in frame with the caption “Vacation started?  Check.”  Doesn’t happen.  Corona will never come here to film a commercial.  We don’t drink Corona here anyway because the local brews are so much better.  Screw you, Corona.

So, if Birmingham isn’t exactly a destination city (or at least not a huge destination city as much of an injustice as that is), who actually DOES go to the Civil Rights Museum?  Who makes the Civil Rights Museum repeatedly appear at the top of every single search engine result for recommended places to visit in Alabama?  Sure, there are people who visit the museum from every part of the nation and even the world but here’s my theory regarding the majority of visitors.

It’s all the local schools.  Those local schools contain our future leaders and they are being taught at a very young age to respect Alabama history, the good and the bad.  Especially the bad.  And to learn from it so it will never be repeated again.

It’s people who live in Alabama or in the surrounding states, who just happen to be passing through Birmingham and say “Hey, let’s go check out the Civil Rights Museum while we’re passing by downtown Birmingham”, and then are moved more than they ever thought they could be.  Those surrounding states?  All of them belong to the collective, stereotyped, and recently very much maligned deep South.  Alabama is the heart of the deep South.  Look at the map, for crying out loud.  Except for Florida.  I don’t really consider them deep South but that’s just my personal opinion.  Nothing wrong with being Florida.  I love Florida.

Is there still racism in the South?  Yes.  Yes to infinity.  There is racism everywhere, against every color.  You can’t escape it no matter what we take away from people.  Evil will find a way to perpetuate evil, with or without a flag.  Long before there were guns, Cain killed Abel.

Should the Confederate flag be taken down?  In all government agencies, my opinion is most emphatically yes.  Should Bubba (see, I can Southern stereotype with the best of them) have the right to free speech that includes owning and displaying a flag that conjures up awful imagery, imagery that is our history brought down upon us by very bad people who died long before we were born?  My head struggles with our freedom to practice – guess what – free speech.

Bubba’s a dip shit who is relegated to the kid’s table every holiday but if we take away his freedom of speech, who and what is next?  That nice gay couple down the street and their gay pride flag bumper sticker?  Your right to say that you believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead at Easter by putting a flag with a crown of thorns on it in your well tended flower bed?  Where do we draw the line and still be consistent?  Admittedly, I’m still struggling with these questions.  That’s okay.  That shouldn’t make me a racist or lead to the (wrong) conclusion that I’m pro Confederate flag.  I’m neither of those things.

There aren’t many other states as aware of civil rights and the need for them than Alabama.  Birmingham and Alabama as a whole is the scene of the crime, y’all.  The past reverberates here daily it’s so tangible and so very real.  Give me one Southern racist and I’ll give you thousands of Southerners who would rewrite history if they only could.  Give me one disciple of hate and I’ll give you thousands of disciples of love for their fellow men and women of any color.

I saw on the local news that a neighboring town here was littered with KKK flyers over the weekend.  It was a mostly black neighborhood.  The news reporter interviewed the sweet lady who found a flyer in her yard on her way to church.  Being the media, no matter how small, the reporter asked the woman what she would say to the people (and I use that term loosely) who left that kind of hate material in her yard.  Instead of spewing even more hate, this remarkable lady didn’t take the bait.  She instantly and lovingly said “I’m gonna pray for them.”  I wanted to stand up in my living room and cheer.

Whenever we traveled in the past, people always asked us where we were from.  My family always said “Alabama”.  Up until about a year ago, I would quickly add, “We live in Alabama but we’re FROM Texas.”  I stopped saying that when I realized that my heart is in Alabama.  My heart is in Texas sometimes, how can it not be?  But Alabama is the home my kids have known the longest.  Alabama is the scene of the great majority of their childhood memories so far and will be for hopefully years to come since we made the deliberate choice to stay here and not to move again unless forced to.  My son requests that I play “Sweet Home Alabama” every time we cross the state line on our way home from Texas.  This is our home now not by chance but by choice.

Pray for the South.  Pray for the victims of hate, wherever they are.  Pray for Bubba, bless his heart.  But stop the collective hating and pigeon holing of the South when you’ve never bothered to witness our hospitality, drink our sweet tea, enjoy our BBQ, or had to make life changing decisions as a new resident about who you’re gonna root for in the Iron Bowl game for fear of the entire state ostracizing you for your complete and total lack of commitment and therefore character.  Whew, deep breath!  Really, they don’t care (well, they do) which way you go but you have to make a choice – Alabama or Auburn.

The South is made of far greater things than a flag, good things that can never be taken away from us.  The South is made of bad things that the great majority of us wish we could reverse but have no control over because, you know, it’s a bitch that we still don’t have time travel machines.  I wish you knew this.  I wish you knew that words mean nothing, except for this week, especially if you’re Southern.  I wish you knew the vast majority of Southern hearts and the good they hold for their brothers and sisters, no matter what color.  I wish you knew me better so I wouldn’t have to say the only words mandated and necessary to prove I’m a “good person” this week but I will.

Take the motherfucker down.

Chevelle Concert Review By Gracie

I took Gracie to see Chevelle at Iron City Birmingham on May 4th, 2015.  I’ve been to Iron City many times but this was Gracie’s first time.  She loves Chevelle, which isn’t a surprise since I love them and I have excellent taste in music.  E was out of town on a business trip so just we girls went.  I’ll let Gracie review the concert in her own words and then I’ll add my 2 cents.

“The Chevelle concert was my first floor concert and I am grateful that I was able to see them.  This was also the first time I’ve been to Iron City.  

First off, the opening band, The Marmozets, were great.  The songs were good and I enjoyed them.  They were interactive with the crowd and had fun with it.  We ended up buying their CD.

Finally, Chevelle was ready and began with a great opening. Chevelle was certainly my favorite.  The whole band had fun with everyone, telling favorite memories, and pointing out the great people who helped with the concert.  They invited everyone to sing our lungs out and clearly everyone had a great time.  Pete (the lead singer) played new and old (songs), which kept us on our toes.  What would they sing next?!  They sang some of their best songs, my favorites, too!  I hated to see them leave.

Although we didn’t stay for the whole act of The Used, we heard one song.  I have only heard a few songs by The Used and I’m now finding new ones I like every day.

So in conclusion, I liked this concert and I’ll never forget it!”

It was a sold out show, which means that Iron City had about 1300 people inside it that night.  I was nervous about having Gracie on the floor with me but she did great.  She does have a “personal space” thing, though.  She didn’t like touching anyone besides me but I finally got it through to her that it just happens when you’re on the floor of a sold out concert.

Chevelle is a great live band.  I mean, anyone can sound good with mixing and all that shit they do in the studio, but I think a true sign of talent is when you sound just as good live.  I didn’t think Pete Loeffler could pull off the same vocals live as I hear repeatedly on any given album of theirs but he did.  He nailed the controlled, brooding rage that builds and explodes in the end to full-on rage, every single time.  Pete and Dean Bernadini’s guitar playing were exactly like the album recordings.  The sound I fell in love with listening to all their albums is exactly what I heard that night.  It’s rare that that happens nowadays.  I love them even more now.

Onto the girlier shit of my review, I get really pissed off when a band doesn’t even talk to the crowd or acknowledge where they are.  I’ve vowed never to see Seether live again for this very reason.  Pete knew where the hell he was that night, called us by name (Birmingham), talked to us throughout the set and seemed legitimately happy to be there.  That means a lot to me, as a fan and a concert goer who paid money to see them live.  I would most definitely pay to see them again the future.

Gracie and I were on the floor, to the right side of the stage.  Both of us have a pretty big crush on Pete so when Chevelle came on stage, we were highly disappointed that Pete was on the LEFT side of the stage.  No offense, Dean.  Please forgive us.  So, if you’re a huge Pete fan, go to the left side of the stage when you see them.  Not stage left, the left to you when you’re looking at the stage, just to be clear.

We did not stay for The Used because it was past 11:00 when they came onstage and it was a school night.  I know, I’m such a downer.  I would have really liked to stay for The Used encore, which was a trilogy of Rage Against The Machine songs but it would have been well after midnight before it was over.

Gracie and I each bought a Chevelle tee and the Marmozets CD.  The Marmozets, by the way, were pretty delightful.  The lead singer is just a doll and she was so thankful to the warm crowd for their “friendliness”.  Their songs were good, the lead singer could really belt out a good screamy hard rocking song and the crowd really enjoyed them.  You can tell when a crowd just wants the opening act to get the hell off the stage but we were pretty into The Marmozets.  They’re worth checking out if they come to your town.

Here are some great pictures from the night, taken by a local photographer.

Here are a couple pictures from my phone.  This is all I have since I accidentally deleted all of them.  Yes, I’m that stupid, apparently.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here is a video of the live performance of “Take Out The Gunman” from Chevelle’s latest album “La Gárgola”.  It’s my favorite song off the album.  This is the best video from that night that I could find but hopefully this will give you an idea of their live performance.

And here is the actual official video for “The Red”.  Fifteen years ago, this would’ve been the song you raised your lighter to when you saw them live.  Now everyone just sings really loudly and badly and raises their cell phones in the air to take shitty videos.  That’s why I didn’t post a video from the actual concert.  They all sucked.  It’s an anthem for anyone with rage issues.  Don’t we all have them from time to time?  This is also a great workout song, by the way.

I hope you all enjoyed my daughter’s first rock concert review.  She is 13 years old, so I’m pretty picky about what she can see with me right now, but I anticipate lots of concerts together in the future.

Thank God And Learn To Keep Your Shirt On

I just ordered E not to make eye contact with me and to not speak to me unless spoken to.  Luckily, he laughed.

I sat down to start this blog about an hour ago and have had to get up multiple times to make another cup of coffee, find Landon an Alabama shirt to wear, get my headphones out of my computer bag, and make fun of Bo Wallace (known as Bro Ballace in my house) in the Ole Miss/TCU game on the TV right now.  Ignoring the TV is much harder than it used to be because I bought E surround sound for Christmas and it’s, well, distracting, especially when wonderful football sounds are emanating from it.

I always write when the kids are at school and E is at work or after everyone’s in bed for the night so this has been very difficult but here we go.  Martial law has been enforced in my house.  God be with them as I write this.

I haven’t written in a while because E’s Dad, Bob, died on December 12th.  Bob fell in October and broke his hip, leading to the discovery of advanced lung cancer.  E spent some quality time with his Dad during those last days, including watching Alabama win their 24th SEC Championship with him.  All of Bob’s family is from Alabama and one of his brothers was buried in his beloved Alabama Crocs.  We were at that funeral and I can vouch for that fact.

There are many great memories of Bob but these are mine.  He was a quiet man so when he talked, I knew to listen because what came out was usually pretty insightful.  He worked hard for his family, always.  He loved to garden and always had fresh produce either ready to be picked or growing when I first met E.  He loved to travel with his camper and he loved his demon cat McKenzie, who is immortalized in a huge picture in E’s parent’s bedroom to this day.  He loved his beer.  When we arrived in Arizona, we drove straight to my in-law’s house.  My nephew was watching Monday night football and drinking a Miller High Life, which was Bob’s beer of choice.  There was a new 30 pack in the kitchen.  I watched football and drank a Miller High Life in honor of Bob.   R.I.P., Bob.  Thank you for your hand in raising the man I have called my husband for the last 23 years.

Everything holiday related was accelerated, gift deliveries were missed because we were supposed to be here in Bama a week longer.  I was just outside on a Monday, putting up 1200 more Christmas lights to piss my neighbor off and by Friday, I was frantically packing for a funeral in Arizona and then immediate cold Texas Christmas.  I had sweet friends who stopped by to get very valuable presents off my front porch in Bama, stored the gifts I had with me in Dallas so they wouldn’t be stolen out of the truck at DFW airport, took concert tickets for me so they wouldn’t go to waste, and played the best ever last minute Santa on the phone to my kids.

As I look back on 2014, the overwhelming theme for me seems to be friends.  The good ones, the bad ones, the downright toxic ones, and how I should handle each of those categories.

I seem to have finally attained the ability this past year to simply walk away and that’s a good thing.  My zodiac sign, Capricorn, is wrong about my actual traits on so many levels that sometimes I’d swear I wasn’t born in January.  One of those Capricorn traits is the ability to walk away from a “bad” friend, emotionally and literally, without a thought or a backward glance.  I didn’t seem to acquire that ability until just this year and it’s actually quite freeing.

I can’t control other people’s behavior, as much as I have tried, but I can control mine.  I control my reactions, my decisions, who I keep in my life, who I need to lower expectations of in order to keep in my life, whose shitty behavior is worth putting up with, who contributes absolutely nothing to my life and is just an onlooker or judge, who influences me and makes me either feel fucking awesome about myself and everything in life, or who makes me feel worthless and full of doubts.

On the other side of the coin, I want my friends to hold me accountable.  Call me on my own bullshit.  Do it with love and call me a taint stain, but hold me accountable.  I don’t want “yes” friends because those aren’t true friends.  You can tell me anything with true affection and love and I can take it.  It will be hard and I’ll probably kick you in the crotch repeatedly and possibly shank you, but if it’s said with love, it will get through to my dense brain eventually.

I have no New Year’s resolutions.  I should have some, trust me.  I’m eating everything in sight like an alcoholic drinks the entire liquor cabinet after being mistakenly included in the text about their own intervention scheduled for the following night.  If you don’t hear from me for a few days, it’s because I am in a sugar coma somewhere in Birmingham.

Resolutions are pretty much bullshit anyway.  This year, I just vow to do better, on every level.  That’s all anyone can do.  Be a better significant other, mother, daughter, sister, friend, person.  I just want to be a better chick.  Period.

Happy New Year!  Thank you so much for reading my blog this year.  It still amazes me that anyone reads my shit.  I got my end of year stat report yesterday and it blew me away.  My counter at the bottom of each blog has been way off these past couple months and it bothered me, even though I knew it was wrong.  The end of year report confirmed that I’m not alone and that there are more than 7 people who read this shit.  I love you all and I wish you the very best in 2015.  Now, go do better.

Screw You, Forrest Gump! And That Geico Pig, Too!

auburn

I know, I know.  I’m way behind.  I am still stuck in post-Halloween hangover.  Costumes are still not completely unpacked and put into storage and I’m already grappling with the fact that I’m one week away from being behind on Christmas.  What the hell happened to November?  I promise to post my Halloween wrap-ups in the next week.

I’m also still recovering from a really tough football weekend.  I won’t lie.  I had a meltdown by the end of the 3rd quarter of the Alabama-LSU game and exiled myself to my bathroom for the duration of the game, firmly believing I was a jinx to the team the longer I watched.  E would run back to give me updates from time to time.  I sat behind a locked door with the exhaust fan turned on so I could block out all football noise, temporarily uninstalled Bleacher Report from my phone so I couldn’t check the score or who had possession, wrote a Facebook rant, may or may not have called my friends “ass hats”, and rocked back and forth with a beer.  I’m not proud of that but there it is.  And we won.  So I may exile myself again this Saturday when we play #1 ranked Mississippi State.

Alabama withstood LSU but Texas A&M beat Auburn, and Notre Dame went down to Arizona State.  Even if you’re not a football fan, you will appreciate the latest round of social media meltdowns from this past weekend’s heart wrenching losses, brought to you by Roll Bama Roll.

Fans who got a double whammy of hatred for the opposing team and self-loathing for their own team became suicidal, turned on the adorable Geico pig, threatened assault on senior citizen coaches and accused leprechauns of sodomy!  I also learned that watching Auburn football can give you the Ebola.  Holy shit.

http://www.rollbamaroll.com/2014/11/11/7191807/nsfw-its-meltdown-time-week-eleven

Who knew other team’s fans called Bama fans “Gumps”, as in Forrest, I guess?  I didn’t.

It’s nice to know I wasn’t alone in my football meltdown.  Roll Damn Tide.  Also, fuck that Geico pig!

Throwback Tuesday: Let Me Borrow That Top, Bitch

Blogger’s note:  It was still Tuesday when I started writing this but time happened.  And beer.

When Fantasia and Lucinda came to my hometown for the grand opening of my brother’s new bar, we had a bit of down time during the day at the hotel.  We were sitting on the beds, just catching up and laughing, always laughing.  Lucinda, who not only knows about my worst closeted skeletons but also participated in some of them, giggled and said “You have to show Fantasia your Texas driver’s license”.

I have known Lucinda as long as I have Fantasia.  Not much about my appearance had changed between the time my Texas driver’s license photo was taken and when I met the girls.  Maybe really good friends block out incredibly bad haircuts and extra weight.  Maybe they saw the current version of myself six years ago as I was just starting to scramble out of that cocoon I’d built around myself.  Maybe they only saw the good parts of me because that’s what people who love you do.  Regardless, the license picture shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise to Fantasia.

I still carry my Texas driver’s license in my wallet as a reminder to myself on my worst days of how far I’ve come.  Lucinda knew that so I dug around, found my old license and presented it to Fantasia, who promptly laughed so hard and for so long, she almost puked and nearly fell off the bed.  I took it as a compliment.

I wasn’t always the way I am now.  I’ve lost and gained a lot of weight over the past six years but overall, I’m still around 70 pounds lighter than I used to be.  I was rather uptight when I was younger also.  I’m incredibly shy and although you may think that’s not true, I call few people “close friends”.  Unless I’m back home in Texas, I’d rather watch a movie or listen to new music alone than be out with a crowd of people.  My fashion taste was fucked up.  I’ll just lay that out right now.  I’m not sure if it was due to my weight or being a new Mom to a child with health problems, just trying to survive day to day, but I wish someone would have snatched the Keds off my feet and used them to beat some fashion sense into me.

Let’s back it up a bit.  It’s Texas law that as long as you don’t mind using your old picture, you can renew your driver’s license online.  That was what I did when we moved to Alabama.  We had literally just gotten here and were staying at an extended stay hotel.  Our house in Texas was on the market and we were looking for a house here.  I didn’t even have a permanent address, technically, so I just renewed it online to buy some time.

When this photo was taken, Landon was two years old.  He was sitting in his stroller and right before the picture was taken, he amused the teenagers behind us by belching.  Loudly.  I’d like to blame this picture on that incident but I’m even calling bullshit on myself on that one.  Behold, the old Steph.

Let me borrow that top, bitch.

Let me borrow that top, bitch.

I don’t know where to start.  I need a beer.  Hold on.

The hair:  Oh, the hair.  I’m not sure if I was going for a Dorothy Hamill or if I was wrestling with my sexuality.  Now I’m just insulting lesbians in my shame and pain.  I’m so sorry, my lesbian friends.  You don’t deserve that.  Dorothy Hamill totally did, though.

The earrings:  I can’t even wear earrings.  I gave up long ago due to very sensitive ears so those had to be clip-ons.  I don’t frown upon clip-ons, I still wear them for dressy occasions but they are mostly devices of torture I choose to go without.  Maybe I was into pain at the time.  Or they were edible.

The makeup:  What makeup?  I could literally contain my whole makeup collection at that time in one makeup bag.  It looks like I threw on some grandma rouge and matching lipstick I bought from Avon.

The sweater:  I can recall perfectly where I bought that sweater.  I found that gem at JC Penney and the brand was Alfred Dunner.  You’ve never heard of Alfred Dunner?  That’s because you need a fucking AARP card to even get into the Alfred Dunner section at JC Penney.  I must have had a real hard on for that sweater to evade being carded.  It also had cherries on it.  Betty White would kick my ass if she saw me wearing that sweater out in public.  She probably will still kick my ass after reading this even though I haven’t owned that sweater in over a decade and I deserve that ass kicking.

Oh, dear God, please tell me my clip-on earrings aren’t cherries.  I need another drink.

Shortly after getting settled into our current home, I tried to be an upstanding citizen and ventured down to the DMV to get my Alabama license.  I was told that I had the “wrong” birth certificate, even though I had my original in hand.  I eventually obtained the correct copy with the official Texas seal on it that Alabama deemed necessary but I was kind of over Alabama by then, took my ball home and told Alabama to go fuck themselves.

So, I had been driving around Alabama illegally for six years with a Texas driver’s license.  Yeah, yeah.  Lock me up and throw away the key.  I’m a real badass.  We were getting ready to leave for our cruise this past March and my Texas driver’s license had finally expired in January.  I have a passport but E, as usual, was the adult in this marriage and harangued me into getting my shit in order.

Several locals told me to go to Bumfuck, Bama to get my license.  At the time, you could easily spend half your day in line at a Birmingham DMV.  Bumfuck is one county over, about a 30 minute drive.  I was told that if I hit it just right, I’d have little to no wait but there was a caveat.  The caveat was that there was one woman who worked the entire department.  She’s been there for years and is rather abrupt.  “Abrupt” was the kindest description I heard, bless her heart, and it was incredibly accurate.  I was also warned by almost everyone that this lovely lady seemed to go out of her way to take the worst possible DMV photo of you ever.  It’s like she got bonuses for making you look like a backwoods fucktard.

I had been living with that picture on my Texas driver’s license for 15 years and I despised it.  I wasn’t that person anymore.  No one even believed it was me anyway when I did have to show it.  I almost didn’t make it through Customs when we returned from a cruise two years ago.  I didn’t have my passport at the time so I used my Texas license as ID and I almost didn’t make it through because the difference between the current me and that photo is just too much.

I was determined the real, new me would show through in my new license picture.  I mentally prepared myself for this picture.  I was like Rambo, going into battle.  I was ready.  This was going to be my first ever actually good DMV photo.  It was the DMV bitch versus me and DMV bitch was going down.

Take your best shot, bitch.

That all you got, DMV bitch?

I kicked DMV bitch’s ass.  Fantasia, through her laughter, said my facial expression is all plucky and “Fuck you” and I agree.  I had to show my new license at Sephora about a month ago.  The young cashier looked at the picture then said “That’s a really good license picture!”  And I agree with that also.  It’s the best government photo I’ve ever had taken.  I’m coming for you next, you Sam’s Club bastards!

What was your worst government issued picture ever?  Spill in the comments.  Bonus points if you post the picture!

Toadies: The Rubberneck 20th Anniversary Tour

Most of you know I’m a native Texan. I come from north central Texas, born and raised. No matter what genre of music you listened to, if you lived in North Texas two decades ago, you had at least heard of the Toadies, if only to wonder why the hell the group of strange looking, screamy young people from the big city of Fort Worth (NOT wearing Wrangler jeans or Roper boots, dafuq!) would make beloved Possum Kingdom Lake seem so fucking weird in that damned video of theirs. Where the hell is Garth Brooks when you need him?!

If you were like I was, you thought there was something special about the Toadies “weirdness”. You enjoyed seeing an ordinary area lake you’d visited in your own childhood made mysterious and dangerous in a video which aired almost incessantly on MTV at the time. Yeah, kids, MTV actually used to play vidoes but that’s a whole other blog post.

For those of you needing a refresher on Toadies history, here’s a great video on it. It is 23 minutes long but if you care anything about the Toadies or were raised in north Texas, you’ll appreciate it.

After listening to these songs hundreds of times over the last 20 years, I have formed my own take on them, my own background stories that spring to mind when I hear each song, which is what Vaden Todd Lewis states he wanted fans to do in the video below.  Even with those deeply embedded personal visions, I tremendously enjoyed hearing the origins of all the songs from Lewis’ perspective.  In my opinion, his original intent only adds to my own take on each song.

If you made it to the other side with me, I don’t need to recap Toadies history now.  Fast forward two decades as I read my Twitter feed.  One of the local concert venues announced that the Toadies were coming to Birmingham to play Rubberneck in its original entirety to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album’s release.  I could not buy tickets fast enough.

I kept in touch with the four albums and the handful of live albums that came after Rubberneck but like most things that change your world, you never forget that first one.  I’m talking strictly music here because music means more to me than any former boyfriend does or ever could.  Rubberneck stuck with me through the decades, through a few entire seasons of life. You can’t say that about many albums, at least I can’t.  Either you outgrow those bands/albums or they just don’t apply to your life anymore and you drift away.

In my case, I grew into Rubberneck.  It got better over time for me.  Maybe it’s nostalgia or maybe I’m guilty of glorifying a “local” band too much, much in the same way native New Jerseyians do with Springsteen but I don’t think so.  I think that novelty wears off eventually if a band doesn’t “fit” you, local or not.  Yes, I feel a connection to the Toadies due to our Texas roots but if I feel it’s bad music or isn’t my thing, the band’s geographical connection doesn’t sway me or hold me for two days, much less two decades.

Despite the fact that I never could relate to Springsteen and honestly think he’s way overrated, I understand the tremendous influence he and his music had and still has on New Jerseyians.  The Toadies are to me what Springsteen is to a lot of New Jerseyians but minus the bandanas and working man songs that sound exactly the same.  Don’t send me hate messages and flaming bags of your own shit, Jersey.  It’s cool.  You do you, I’ll do me, baby.  It’s just my opinion.  Come back later if you need to but put the knife down, Jersey.

I keep a close eye on the local concert schedule and unlike the other ones I’m attending the rest of this year, the Toadies concert never did sell out, which baffles me.  After attending the Rob Zombie concert a couple months ago in the same jam packed, sold out venue, I realize in hindsight that this less than sold out show was the absolutely best way to hear and truly enjoy one of my favorite albums of all time played live.

Black Pistol Fire opened for the Toadies and although they were good, I don’t want this recap to get bogged down by them.  Sorry, Black Pistol Fire.  Put the knife down.

E and I got to the front row, stage left and settled in after my traditional three pre-concert beers and enduring the ritual of a random stranger asking to touch my hair.  I shit you not.  Happens every damned time.  Yes, I let them touch my hair.  It’s just easier that way.

As was expected, the Toadies came out and played Rubberneck but  I always look up the setlist before I attend a concert and save it to my Spotify account so I know what’s coming.  I like spoilers, what can I say?  One of the encores was supposed to be Dollskin, which I was majorly looking forward to, but someone from the audience had yelled “Sweetness” earlier in the evening and they honored that request and did not sing Dollskin.  I’ll live.

They sounded great and just delivered the album and fucking rocked.  They sang two covers, “Heart of Glass” by Blondie and “Stop It” by Pylon.  I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the Pylon cover.  I was looking forward to the Blondie cover but it was the Pylon cover I jumped and screamed along with.  I absolutely loved it.  The video I linked is the best quality I could find but I don’t think this particular crowd really understood what Todd was trying to do.  At the concert I attended, it went over really well and we were subdued on the quiet parts, when Todd is shaking his head no and wagging his finger at us to “no rock and roll now”.  Then when it got loud and he told us to “now rock and roll now” the place went crazy.  I wish I could have captured it on video.

The highlight of the show, however, came with “I Burn”, when two additional drums and drummers were brought out.  I started to video but realized I wanted to be fully present and not wasting the highlight of the concert on what would be a shitty video anyway.  I did manage to find a YouTube video of another performance.  There is another drum and a couple more drummers but the effect is the same.  It blew me away.

Before I knew it, the concert was over with Todd announcing that the band would be at the merch table. I had to go to the bathroom (remember the traditional three beers?) so I missed the band coming out from backstage but E got to shake hands with them. I will add this event to the list of ways that E has stolen a fan girl moment from me but I’m not bitter or anything.

Here are a few pictures from this awesome night.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the bathroom, I promptly hauled ass to Todd’s line and E went to buy a tee shirt for me.  I chose the one with Texas on it because I like simple but also because this band means “Texas” to me just as much as Pat Green does.  The end result was this:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I know!  Fucking awesome, right?  This is the first tee or ticket I’ve ever had signed by a band or artist.  And like I said, you never forget your first.

I meant to ask Todd if he was a preacher’s son because so many of his songs have religious references.  Backslider describes an exact scene from my formative years.  In my nervousness, I forgot to ask him but the 23 minute video answered my question.

Thank you to the Toadies for stopping by Birmingham, to a less than sold out show, when you sell out every Texas venue you play.  Thank you for taking the time to sign everything thrown at you by eager fans.  Thank you for not kicking my ass off your raised platform when I climbed up to get a picture with Todd and Clark.  Thank you to E for buying me the tee shirt, remembering to get the ticket out so the band could sign it and for running back into the venue after we realized in the car that I forgot to have Rez sign the ticket.  This is one I won’t forget.

You’re A Sneaky Bastard, Summer!

It may not technically be summer according to the calendar but it’s summer in my book when my vanity succumbs to my survival instincts and I actually don short shorts and a tank top to go out in public.  Throw your outdoor thermometers away.  The Weather Channel should just stand outside my house and post weather forecasts completely based on the amount of my flesh I am exposing to Southern air.  They could call it the “Flesh Tracker”.  No costly satellites needed.  Jim Cantore can retire to Florida and call his shit done.

Let me count the ways I have always hated summer.

I hate the temps.  If you’re in the South, you also know what humidity that takes your breath away feels like.  It doesn’t get much better when I go back home to Texas in late July.  A couple years ago, my friend “Fantasia” threatened to take my native Texan card away if I complained about the temps one more time.  In my defense, a whole bottle of hand sanitizer exploded in my car.  EXPLODED.  If I would have been in the vehicle when the bottle exploded, I could have been killed or even worse.  It was considered a “cool front” that year if temps got below 114 degrees.  I have located the mouth of hell and it is in or around North Texas.

I hate the fashions, especially when I have “more to love” than usual and I’m really lovable this summer.  I hate trying on swimsuits so much that I skipped it altogether, played swimsuit routlette and ordered online this year.  This is one of the suits I bought:

swim

The ad claims this suit will make you “suddenly slim” so I completely ignored the Law of Horizontal Stripes, figuring it wouldn’t apply to my suddenly slim ass.  I ended up just looking like the damned Hamburglar.

Robble fucking robble.

Now on a personal vendetta against the Law of Horizontal Stripes, this is the second suit I ordered:

No fucks to give. Not one.

It’s like Barney and the Hamburglar had a one night stand and this came out nine months later.  Before anyone asks, and I know they will, Barney was definitely the power bottom in that arrangement.  Hamburglar has done hard time and is through taking that shit.

I hate summer because no matter how much time I spend on my makeup, an hour later I look like a contestant from RuPaul’s Drag Race who got his/her ass kicked by that coffee can full of bacon grease my Granny used to keep on the back of her stove.  Not a cute look, y’all.

I hate summer because I have a problem with swimming pools, aside from the obvious swimsuit debacle.  I can’t enter a public pool without desperately wanting to test the water for urine or even worse things.  I hate the toddlers at the local pool who smirk at me because they can swim better than I can.  One day, I’ll catch them when they’re not wearing their Disney arm floaties and it will be ON.

Before I send summer to therapy, I’ll attempt to find something positive about it.

I love the time off with the kids and the lazy schedule we strictly adhere to.  I’m usually at my fittest in the summer because we grill a lot and I’m more disciplined with my diet and exercise because I’m going home to see family and friends.  That’s another perk of summer, going back to Texas with the kids and seeing those same family and friends.  I love a really ice cold beer and summer was made for that.  I love Sonic Route 44 diet green iced teas.  I love summer action movies.  I love my summer playlist on Spotify, which I created last year and titled “Summer:  Let’s Do This, Fucker”.  I love knowing that on the other side of summer is the reward of fall, football, Halloween, cozy sweaters, knee high boots and mossy green eyeshadow.

Okay, fine.  Let’s hug it out, summer.  You’re not that bad after all, you sneaky SOB.

Let me know in the comments if and why you hate summer as much as I do.  Have a good week, y’all.  I’m down 8.2 pounds!  Woo hoo!

Sissies Stay Home! A Night With Rob Zombie

When Rob Zombie says “Jump!”, you jump.

We did a lot of that last Thursday night, even without being told, when he came through Birmingham, AL.  He and his band played to a sold out crowd at Iron City Birmingham, which holds 1300.

The crowd was not what we expected.  Way less goth and more what you envision when you think of Rob’s album “Hellbilly Deluxe”.  It was a completely different crowd than we saw at the Arctic Monkeys concert.  I’ll leave it at that.

E and I got there early but still didn’t get to grab a seat in the balcony area as we had the previous two concerts we attended at Iron City.  We resigned ourselves to the floor and grabbed a spot by the wall so we could at least lean like the old people we are.  There is no seating on the main floor unless you’re handicapped.  I was handicapped after this concert because after 4 hours of standing, jumping and stomping in the shoes below, I could barely walk out of the venue.  It’s been a week and I still can’t feel a few of my toes.  I’m not joking.

6 inch heels.  I'm an ass hole.

6 inch heels. I’m an ass hole.

I could attempt to make out like I’m some music expert reviewer but I would fail miserably so I won’t. I will say that I know the difference between a shitty sounding live performance and one that’s exceptional. Rob Zombie was exceptional. They sounded awesome the entire time, which I imagine is pretty difficult given the material he sings. There was a brilliant drum solo by Ginger Fish (I know, I know, I can barely type that name with a straight face). John 5 gave us an epic guitar solo which included a bit of Eruption, the greatest single rock guitar solo of our time, in my opinion.

Here are just a couple of the performances captured from the concert we attended.  As you can see in the videos, Rob Zombie is surprisingly a very good dancer.  It’s almost hypnotic.  They should do a fitness video based on one of his concerts.  He’s 5 years older than I am yet he could kick the ass of just about any 25 year old lead singer out there today.  I don’t think he stood still during the whole concert.

“Dragula”, a Halloween staple at our house and also the encore song of the night.

Chew it up, spit it out, “Sick Bubblegum”

Right before singing “Pussy Liquor”, Rob told us to hold on to our pussies.  And I did.

And the darkest song of the night, Lords of Salem.

Rob told us after the opening song (a cover of “We’re An American Band“, which was amazing) that he hadn’t played in that small of a venue in well over a decade. This was evident by the fact that they were only able to use maybe half of their regular concert set which includes classic movie monsters.  Rob said his management thought he was crazy when he told them to book him a gig in Alabama because he didn’t want to skip our state and also didn’t want to “sit on his ass in a hotel room for two days” waiting for the next gig. He let us know that he made a point to stop in and see us but he wasn’t an ass hole about it. He thanked us for coming, interacted a lot with the crowd and even walked around the whole venue at one point.  I’m not sure if this has ever been said before but Rob Zombie is gracious. He threw Birmingham one hell of a party.

My litmus test for deeming a concert awesome is if I would pay to see the performer again.  Based on this concert, I will give Rob Zombie my money every single time I can in the future.  I highly recommend you go see him if he’s coming to a town near you.  And thanks for coming to see us, Rob.