Number Six and Seven

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Guitar number six joined my collection a few weeks ago. I picked it up on my way home from the Cooper concert in York, PA.  It’s a used Schecter Diamond Series Spitfire-6.  It’s a pretty thing – a glossy black with mother of pearl edging. He plays nice, too.

Number seven isn’t here yet. He (or she) is supposed to arrive on Wednesday. I wanted a Fender but couldn’t afford one so I bought the cheaper (subsidiary) version – a Squier guitar. I got the stratocaster style.


My idea with the Squier guitar was to get something new (not a used model) that was fairly light and fairly inexpensive that I could easily transport back and forth to my lessons. I had my first lesson last Monday, and I took Phil, my Epiphone Les Paul.  Phil is top of the line, new, and he’s built like a Mack truck. He’s heavy. He’s also in a hardshell case to protect him. The only problem is it takes awhile to get him out and put him away. My lesson is thirty minutes. It felt like I just got him out and I had to pack him back up again. I’m going to shoot for something lighter and easier to carry.  We’ll see how that goes. I won’t have the new one for this Monday, but perhaps I’ll take the Schecter instead or maybe my Ibanez.

I’m not sure how the lesson went. She said I am doing well with the notes. The chords are harder. We spend half the lesson on theory and half on something I want to learn. Of course, I picked Alice Cooper’s Poison as the song I wanted to learn to play.  It’s hard! I guess anything worthwhile is going to be hard work.

I’ll let you know how I make out.

Concert Week

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Vacation week has come and gone. It went by fast as vacations always do. I’ve been lazy (not posting) and I’ve been sick. Another round of antibiotics (actually DURING my vacation week), and now I’ve got a horrible head cold. I’ve also started guitar lessons with a real teacher! More on that some other post.

The vacation went great even though I didn’t feel 100%. We went to all of the concerts. I was determined to go even though the antibiotic gave me intestinal issues. Public toilets, especially at concert venues where people are drinking, smoking and toking, are nasty and unsanitary, and I’m glad to say I managed to avoid any extended stays in any of those nightmare spots.

48E7E91E-2926-4B54-91D8-33004B03B71C.jpegI’m not sure my dear husband enjoyed the week off as much as I did. I was short-tempered at times because it was hot and humid, and I felt poorly. Metal music is also not his thing, but he was a trooper, and he soldiered through it all. 

Monday night we were supposed to see Bad Wolves, Nothing More, Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin at Darien Lake. For this show on Labor Day, it was a family affair. I bought tickets for the whole family, and my two adult sons joined us.

 

The tickets said 7:00 p.m.  We got there around 6:15, and the show had already started. We’d missed Bad Wolves, and Nothing More was just taking the stage. We’re not sure what happened there, but a big thunderstorm had rolled through before the concert, and Ivan Moody, Death Punch’s singer, did say they’d wanted to cancel the concert so we figured they must have started early to try to get the concert in since more rain was forecast for later. Nothing More was nothing memorable for me. They were just okay.

Death Punch was awesome. We’d gone to see them, and they put on a great show. They did most of their favorites, visually the lasers and lights were great, and they sounded incredible. My boys enjoyed the show as much as I did. I was on my feet, screaming, singing and dancing. We didn’t stay for Breaking Benjamin. We wanted to beat the crowd out of there, and we’re not fans of their music.

We lost my hubby on the way to the car because the crowd was so thick leaving. Of course his phone was dead so we couldn’t call him. That was a pain, but he eventually joined us at the car. I’m sure it didn’t make his experience that evening any better. My hubby is a gentler person than I am. He thinks metal music makes listeners angry and violent. It’s a release of sorts for me, and it makes me feel good, not angry. I can see the meaning behind the words. There’s anger at times, and there’s also pain, but there’s humor, lightness and love, too. I get jazzed up, not pissed off.  

Wednesday evening hubby and I went to Darien Lake again to see Judas Priest and Deep Purple. He looks thrilled, doesn’t he? I wanted to see Priest again even though I’d seen them multiple times in the 80’s. One of the original guitarists KK Downing, has already left the band, and the second one, Glenn Tipton, was just forced to cut back to only occasional appearances because of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. I wanted to see them again before Rob Halford also had to quit because of age or infirmity. 

Priest was awesome as usual. The music was great, Rob sounds just like he did thirty years ago, and Richie Faulkner has been an excellent addition as a guitarist. I found I missed the blazing guitar solos and duels that KK and Glenn provided, though. You could count on them to play back and forth and then together in each song. With Richie covering most of the complicated solos now on his own, it loses something. Andy Sneap is there as a second guitarist, but he only plays the rare, short solo bits. That’s a shame. I’m glad I saw them, but it wasn’t quite the same. Hard to explain.

We only stayed for a handful of Deep Purple songs. They closed the show. They sound pretty much the same to me, too. I used to follow them in the 70’s. Ian Gillan’s voice is still good. I do miss Richie Blackmore, and my hubby misses Jon Lord. Lord, sadly, passed away, and Blackmore took his ego and guitar and went elsewhere years ago. They had a complicated, multiple screen theater experience going on behind them which basically showed closeups of what was going on on the stage. That was nice for the folks in the nosebleed seats. 

Thursday we drove six hours to York, PA. My hubby delivers all around there in his truck, so he got to show me most of the places he stops for deliveries and also where he sleeps most nights. We had a hotel room for two nights, and that was a nice break away for us.

The Cooper concert was Friday. This was the show I’d looked forward to the most. The only negative to the whole event was the International Parking Lot event where I was supposed to meet his guitarist. That didn’t work out. He was supposed to be at the merchandise stand only there was no stand anywhere. Turns out he was at the side of the stage, and I didn’t know that until afterwards. 

The concert itself was great. Alice Cooper is 70. You’d never know it. He looks damned good for his age. Here’s a comparison for you. Death Punch sang 13 songs, Judas Priest sang 11 songs, and Alice Cooper did 21 songs.  Alice had no opening act. It was all him. He doesn’t need an opening act. He played a long show, and he was incredible.

The crowd itself was disappointing. Maybe it was the venue (the York fairgrounds), or maybe it was just the Pennsylvania crowd. They sat on their hands. They didn’t clap. They didn’t stand or scream or dance or cheer. The people next to me came in late, sat like statues, and left halfway through. Why? Why didn’t they just stay home? I believe in getting into a show, and the crowd kind-of spoiled it for me. I get into music I like. I seat dance if I can’t stand and jump around. I felt so out of place there.

When asked afterwards which show he’d liked the best, my husband said Alice Cooper. He said he was the most polished. He certainly packed the most in to his show. He isn’t profane. Hell, he doesn’t even talk to the crowd in between songs. He just performs. The theatrics were all there – the straightjacket, the guillotine, his wife playing Nurse Sheryl (gotta love Sheryl Cooper). 

In my opinion, Death Punch was the best at getting the crowd to participate. Priest was pure nostalgia for me. Alice was definitely the most entertaining and worth seeing. My vote for the best concert goes to Alice, too. I’m so glad I got the chance to see him. I’d go again if I had the chance.

Everything Wears Out

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Everything wears out. Cars, appliances, furniture, bodies.  I have learned way more about the human body in the past year than I ever thought I wanted to know. Upper endoscopies, CT scans, x-rays, colonoscopies. I became well acquainted with them all. The heating pad on my belly has become my best friend.

Today as I await the approach of another doctor’s visit to address a new concern that cropped up this morning, I wonder why some folks never seem to have health issues. Others have chronic, life-long problems. Still others have items crop up as they age.

I try to look on the bright side and figure that things could be far worse. I can see, I can hear, I can walk, and most days I function as any other, normal, overweight, 59 year old female does. Things hurt, I move a bit slower, but I get through it. Some days it defeats me, and I long for the days when I felt well, or I long for the days when I can retire and I can pretty much relax 24/7. Then again some days having a job and responsibilities to go off to keeps me sane and keeps me going.

When I was in my 30’s and dealing with children with developmental disabilities, autism, ADHD, diabetes, celiac disease and the special education administrators and so-called regular teachers in the school districts, I used to say that work was my escape. I went there to get away from the hard things I faced at home. Having to deal with all of those people and all of those issues hardened me and made me grow up in so many different ways.

When I was in my 40’s and dealing with death (father-in-law, grandmother, mother and my beloved pets one right after the other) and dealing with the beginnings of the health issues (endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and hysterectomy), I was thrown for a loop. That decade brought me to my knees, and depression threatened. I withdrew from life in many ways.

My 50’s have been a reawakening for me. I grew further and tossed off the sadness, I got two college degrees, I got five tattoos, and I rediscovered the guitar, but then I also found new health challenges.

I’m not sure why we age the way we do. Folks who eat right and stay fit don’t always reap the benefits of their hard work so please don’t tell me I should’ve taken better care of myself. I did the best I could.

Everything wears out. It’s why folks have surgeries to replace or repair things. It’s why we buy new cars, new appliances and new furniture.

So I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s all I can do, and I’ll hope for the best.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Donna Reads: Zack (A Cold Fury Hockey novel) by Sawyer Bennett

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Zack Grantham is a single father to a little boy, Ben. He’s a hockey player who lost his girlfriend, his son’s mother in a car crash where he was driving. Although it wasn’t his fault, he’s wracked with guilt. He feels bad because she died, but he’s also got all kinds of guilt about how he really felt for her and why he never married her. He’s been on the disabled list while he gets physical therapy and rehabs a broken wrist. He’s also seeing a psychiatrist at the team’s direction. His older sister has been helping him out with his son, but she needs to return home to her own life while he gets ready to return to the ice. His sister hires him a nanny. 

Kate Thomas is quirky. She’s an older college student from a dirt-poor family. She’s spent years caring for her alcoholic father and then her sister’s three babies. Kate has a sense of humor, and she’s strong and great with kids. Ben takes to her immediately. Zack does not. He resents her being there although even he can see how good she is for Ben. 

When things change between Zack and Kate, he still doesn’t let her in. He sets stupid ground rules to try to keep her out. She agrees to all of his ridiculous conditions because she is beginning to care for him. He’s just plain rude, obnoxious and mean to her several times. 

Two things about this book bothered me a little. 1. Zack was a jerk. He didn’t want her associating with his friends or their wives but she was good enough to raise his kid AND fool around with. He was constantly reminding her of her social status. She was an employee. I didn’t like that at all. 2. The timing was ‘off’. He’d just lost his girlfriend a few months in the past after they’d been together for years. It was too soon for a new relationship. Then after weeks of telling Kate they could never be anything more then suddenly overnight he’s all in, he loves her, and he wants to get married. What? That didn’t ring true either. It didn’t fit. The ending seemed way too rushed. 

This one was just okay for me. 3.5 stars.