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I'm everyone – hang your label on me


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Camping

Yes, for those of you who follow me on Facebook, I went camping this weekend.

People have this image of me as this posh girl who can’t be outdoors unless it’s a bar patio or next to a hotel pool but it’s not true. I’m actually a former Girl Scout and used to camp pretty frequently. Also day trips to the beach when you don’t want to go back up to the house? That’s camping too, because you have to plan for your days food and other rations.  Anyway Ben had to go to Eagle Lake for his thesis and so we drove up on Sunday and stayed in a tent and made tomato soup and then ate tofu dogs and potato salad for breakfast because that’s okay when you’re camping.

Pictures:

Eagle Lake, Ca

 

Ben going out to get a sample of the water or something

Me standing next to Eagle Lake, sans shower or Make Up

 

Camp Grounds

 

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Happy Birthday Ben

It is my boyfriend’s birthday today and since he really didn’t want anything other than to go camping on Sunday and to have a small get together with our friends, this blog is my gift to him.

Dear Ben-

Happy Birthday!

I just wanted you to know that I love you, and fully appreciate you.  Things  haven’t ever been easy for us and you take everything with such grace and patience that I am in awe of you. Almost nothing upsets you. Your logical android/Vulcan mind just takes over and you just handle things. It’s amazing to me since I’m usually in a panic or yelling with my hot headed temper I’m pretty sure I got from my mom’s Greek family. But you, you just look at everything and either step in and fix or at least find a way to get through whatever is going on. That’s one of your best traits.

Ben and I in Bidwell park

But you aren’t just this  logical creature, you are a lot more. You are kind of a kid at heart and it’s always so funny to see you wanting to dress up a cat or watch children’s shows with me or sometimes teasing me just to get the “cute voice” out of  me. You like gadgets just like a teenage boy and you are hilarious when you play video games about twice a year.  You like to play. You like to do silly things. A lot of people don’t know that, but you have this wonderful silly side that makes me smile so big.

And my smile. You fixed it. You got me to do something I was afraid of doing so badly that I hadn’t done it in 16 years. But you got me to go to the dentist. You got them to take care of me. You got my smile back and I am really grateful for that. (Even though I gripped and cried the whole time.)

One night in the back of the Bear

 

Also you love a good food adventure and I’m a sucker for that. It could be time to get Jamaican food or sushi or you wanting me to invent food and you will eat anything I make, even if it doesn’t turn out like the pictures on the internet. You always eat what I make and ask for seconds and swear to me it was good. It’s okay to lie then so I smile because you want me to be happy.

And that’s a really endearing quality about you too: You want me to be as happy as you are. If it means buying me socks (You seemed so horrified that I didn’t own socks after living in flipflop central for 8  years and really only needing like 3 pairs of socks max!) You want me to feel good about myself and to succeed and I am so grateful to you for that. You are a everything any girl could hope for and so much more.

Plus you ain’t bad lookin and I’d say an above average kisser 😉 And you don’t snore even though you do sleep sideways and always take my pillow. The not snoring trumps all.

This one time at Duffys

Ben, I love you very much and I’m very lucky to have you in my life. I hope this is a wonderful birthday for you and the next of many I get to spend with you.

Love,

Stephanie


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four

Dear Christopher-

So this morning a link and story about the Afghan Whigs rolled by on my facebook feed and you of course came to my mind. And I looked at the calendar and said “oh #@$k this month again.”  So here we are.

Four years ago you decided to leave us. You decided to go away. You decided that this life is too hard or confusing or whatever and decided to leave us all here, wondering, wishing, missing you.

So! Anyway, this morning I’m scrolling through vile Facebook and what do I see but the Afghan Whigs have gotten back together and may tour. Can you believe it? They played the Jimmy Fallon show recently and I can’t remember if Jimmy Fallon was on the air when you were here but you probably would remember him from SNL or whatever. (Surprise! Someone from SNL has a talk show,  I think my brain just melted thinking about that to be honest.) But back to the Whigs…

You’ll miss seeing them.  I’ll try my hardest to go see them for you, even though for once it was me introducing you to something when you found the Whigs, I’m sure you’d never tell anyone that though. My lovely teacher of cool,  the guy who never gave up on me, who dyed my hair sometimes after we’d broken up because I couldn’t reach the back. The guy who I could still call for pie or for seriously anything, I always could.

I’d be calling you to go meet up in San Francisco or maybe,  just maybe we’d meet  in Vegas to see the Afghan Whigs. One band I’ve never been able to see. Greg Dulli being my future ex-husband and all, there’s that restraining order. In my version of this trip it would be Vegas and the club would be a dive. You and I and our dates, we’d order ridiculous drinks, like Singapore Sling drinks at some dive bar that may or may not have been on Bourdain’s show. We’d act as though we were in a speak easy and we’d talk about Elephant Thespian (not a real band) and Cornbread the cat and I’d remember the weird piece of writing that you did about me once talking about a time I walked to your house in high school and I’d probably pretend to be mad for a minute, but I really wouldn’t be mad.

After all this nonsense we would go to see the Afghan Whigs and Greg Dulli and I would fall in love with Greg again for the 900th time and we’d smile a bunch and when it was done go to the silliest place that was open for all you could eat crab legs or pancakes or whatever we deemed most VEGAS about the experience and maybe we’d talk about the bands you were in or the stupid shit we both picked out for me to wear when we’d go shopping. Or maybe we’d talk about our jobs or our families or whatever. You would make sure we stayed out until the sun came up and then we with our respective dates would wander back to whatever shitty (on purpose) hotel we had decided to stay at and bid each other aideu until our next time together.

This is what I, at 32 years old with the knowledge that you are always and forever going to never even get to be 30 with  me, wish was in the future.

But it’s not. You’re gone.  You’re a ghost in photos I find, in things in my treasure chest, you’re a ghost on the wall in my apartment and I wish like hell that wasn’t the truth.

I try, to live my life in a sort of homage to you. You taught me a lot about music (all of  it is good, you just gotta try it) food (all of it’s good you just have to try it, seriously just eat this) and working hard, as you always did. Also always being kind to people in need and even some times people who didn’t deserve it, that for me was you.

When we first started to date you had a concussion.  I sometimes think that’s the only reason you dated me, but I know that’s not true. But there you were, this force of life that I knew and played attack basketball with on a regular basis and you were there in a hospital because you’d been hit so hard with a baseball that you had a concussion. I couldn’t visit you but you remember that Alicia and Tina did. And Alicia told you I liked you.  After that the rest was history.

Punk in drublic. Chaos Coffee. Java Jazz. The Masons building fire escape. Mars/Bam Bams. Wrapping presents for your mom’s work fund raiser or something in the mall (!) (See there now I’ve told a secret about us).  Journalism (seriously fuck that class), Toys R Us, 7-11. Lyons coffee, going to shows at Jerry’s. Watching you play. Running into you at Padre and the Mint and all the gay bars because that’s just where we liked to go. Watching you write so many wonderful things in the paper.  Being jealous of your writing, having to REDO an entire edition of the Saga because you left your editorial smarts at home that day…. I didn’t mind.

I’ll never in a million years know why you did what you did. I wouldn’t understand even if you came back and told me, because you were a star. If people didn’t love you, they hated you and that’s just a sign of jealousy. You were the party, all we had to do was come to you.

I miss you every single day. I know today isn’t the THE DAY but eff it, I’ve never been good at rules and neither were you.  I’ll light my Yahrzeit candle for you on Saturday and listen to some songs that are your songs. But if I waited until Saturday to write this it’d be way sappier.

Just know that even though I don’t understand what happened, I accept it. It happened. You chose to end your journey. I will never forget you but maybe some day I’ll forgive you. All I know is I will always miss you. I love you my friend and someday we’re doing the Vegas thing in Heaven and you can explain EVERYTHING.

All my love, always-

Stephanie

a very very long time ago

 

goofiest prom photos ever


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I believe in a power that is of and by the people. I believe in an art that cannot be compromised.

I was first introduced to Against Me! by my roommate and best friend Jen Wa the Destroyer. When we lived in the Grover Beach Crack House, Against Me! was a constant companion. Every situation in our life had an Against Me! song that went with it. It got us through some crazy shit. The poetry of Against Me! probably saved both of us from some crazies or whatever. One summer we went to Warped Tour together just to see this band and it was the best time. Because of my punk show at the time we got to go back and interview the band and it was awesome times. Fat Wreckchords hooked us up and we had a fabulous time interviewing not only the Against Me! dudes who had made us feel so sane, saying the shit we felt like, but other bands we loved and Jen and I probably got into some trouble.

I swear Jen and I didn’t empty this cooler out

A few years later Jen was in Boston and right before I flew out to see her I saw Against Me! was going to be playing in SLO when I got home. I was sad for a minute because I wanted to see them with her again but damnit if it didn’t make landing back in California without my best friend a lot easier knowing I was going to be seeing a band that understood me, I never knew why I felt like they understood me, but goddamnit they did.

It was a glorious show. The most fun I’d had in forever. Against Me! always did this to me. I just forgot everything because their music mirrored my thoughts. It kept me sane. Kept me breathing. Kept me just going “you know what fucking life, I know that somewhere in this world even though I’m too old to feel this way, there is someone out there that understands.”

The album  “New Wave,” came out and people were disappointed but I wasn’t. I liked many of the songs and repeatedly told people like when AFI’s big record came out, look they made the album they wanted to make, finally someone was going to pay for it. Someone would foot the bill for these guys to do what they wanted.

I moved to Chico right around the time “White Crosses” came out and missed another chance to see them in SLO. Tristan was nice enough to send me this:

It hangs in my bedroom now. It probably will hang in every house I have for a long time because this band saved me or at least my sanity at times when my friends and I could make ZERO sense of anything in our stupid white privileged 20 something lives.

So why the love letter?

Tom Gabel, the singer of Against Me! who is a lovely fucking human being who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with and just is an idealist and a poet and damnit, a really brave HUMAN BEING made the announcement today that he’s been living with gender dysphoria and has decided to become a woman.

I have to be honest, as open minded as I am, I was confused for a minute. I guess I always thought of Tom as the “guy” that understood me. And my friends of all genders.  He’s got a great almost Tom Waits meets modern punk voice but he was always saying things I was thinking.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that.. damn… That must have been a bitch to have to or want to hide. It must have been hard but it definitely at least in my opinion made their music better. Against Me! never seemed like it wasn’t accessible to me. It never seemed like they were unaccessible to anyone.

What I know I’m trying to say is I support Tom/Laura and his/her wife in their journey. Some people are going to be complete and total assholes to them. You know what, what the Gable family is going through is brave and completely honest, which is something alot of us can’t say for ourselves. I know there is gonna be some kind of back lash but all I have for all of them is LOVE and acceptance. It’s all Against Me! has ever expressed to me through their lyrics and their willingness to take care of me and my friends either through radio or just being at a show. I’d love to see this band continue to be honest and just be as raw and amazing as always. I don’t think which bathroom you take a piss in decides how hard or why you rock my friends. You have my support no matter what and I love you and applaud your bravery.

Now back to me being a selfish bitch, here are my FAVORITE Against Me! songs of all time.

Tom/Laura… whatever/whoever you want to be, just know that you’re loved. I support you and your family and I hope all of your fans and friends continue to do so too.

Good luck little voice in my head.


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RIP Adam “MCA” Yauch

I grew up with the Beastie Boys. My first memory of them was a mix tape my cousin had at my Grandma’s house. I remember it had RUN DMC and the Beastie Boys and some other stuff on it. I was really young and my cousin played this tape for me. I was too young to understand what I was listening to, but I liked the energy and all the yell talking and it was fun and made me smile when I was probably crying like a lunatic for no reason. I was kind of a douchebag as a little kid. Cried all the time…

I was too young to hear “Paul’s Boutique” when it came out but later on I’d buy that TAPE (a effing tape, how do those work?!) in a discount bin when I had my first car at 18 and I wore it out. And blew my speakers in Neil (my car) at one point listening to “Shake Your Rump.” I remember this idiot I was dating in college for a minute who thought he was THE AUTHORITY on hip hop getting into my car not knowing what it was and I just looked at him and told him to shut up and listen, this was art.

Before that though when I was in junior high, “Check Your Head” came out and holy mother of noise it was awesome. I was in love with it and used to listen to that and “Nevermind” constantly. “Check Your Head” was one of my favorite records in 8th grade and one time when my mom grounded me to the point of making me give her all of my tapes and cds, I hid it and my CD Walkman and used to hang out in my room after she’d gone to bed and listen to it on repeat. (Sorry Mom) “Gratitude,” became my favorite song and I could probably listen to it another four thousand times and never get sick of it. It’s so sonically interesting and the lyrics are amazing.

Some of my best friends in high school (Hi Josh) loved the Beastie Boys too, so when we were rolling deep in their various shitty high school cars the Beasties were on ALOT. This was around the time when the Beastie Boys launched Grand Royal and I have to give it up to them for bringing me Luscious Jackson way before they went pop and also for bringing Atari Teenage Riot to America. I might have worn out a cd or two from that label during the summer after high school.

Then there was “Hello Nasty.” I was in radio by then and got a big kick out of playing NEW Beastie Boys. Hell, we blew the doors off of “Make Some Noise” when it came out last year. I don’t think the Beastie Boys ever made a bad single when you look at it from a programmers point of view. They were just a very solid and creative group and the music world will miss them.

I can’t pretend to know MCA. I only saw the band play once in 94 when my dad took me to Lolllapalooza. I can say that I was proud of the man MCA became, apologizing for all the misogynistic comments he made in the past and working so hard for Tibet and continuing to do really interesting music. I remember when I found out he had cancer, I was walking to the beach and I got an email from some prep service on my phone and I actually stopped at the end of my street and sat on the fence for a second. It didn’t seem fair at the time, that someone who’s entire musical journey was based on living life would get something like cancer.

When I saw the “Fight For Your Right Revisited” thing last year I was in tears because it was so goddamn funny. The Beastie Boys are three dudes you’d expect to live forever. You’d expect them to always be this background presence in your life, doing cool shit you can only dream of and being these weird almost super hero characters, lending their voices to causes you care about. Doing things you can’t do yourself.

I had to go on the air yesterday and announce Adam’s passing. My boss actually knew the guy and was a little shook up. We blew the format up and did an hour of the Beasties and damn while we were doing it, I kept thinking of songs we should be playing. I wanted to do more.  I was so self conscious about not doing MCA justice. In the end me and my jocks crowded into the studio and had a party. At one point I think I had four people crammed in there. Telling stories, playing music, feeling it. We decided the best thing to do was celebrate the amazing ill shit that MCA did instead of being somber. Even my boss agreed that it’s what MCA would have wanted.

RIP Adam. You’re going to be so very missed.