Friday Six Pack #5

Another depression filled week in the books. Let’s see what happened: 

    • Finished American Youth and The Girl from Home. Both were less than stellar but not awful. Currently reading The Never-Open Desert Diner. Picked up nothing new from the library and am ghosting NetGalley. #sorrynotsorry
    • Preparing my list for Erin and Dani’s reading challenge. It mostly consitutes NetGalley books since I have several of those and a long flight to and from Phoenix. Long flight=eBook reading because eBooks save space and weigh less. Not sure if those kinds of books count but #idowhatiwant 
    • Continued to spend ridiculous money on refreshing my makeup (bought some blush, liquid eyeliner, and new nail polish) but at least I had coupons and sales and also bought some drugstore brands. I think NOW I’m done. Also spent money almost daily on iced coffee. I could save myself time and energy and gas if I just made a big ass pitcher at home so maybe #weekendgoals
    • Listening to Skillet’s newest: 

  • No internet reads again this week. I just don’t have the energy and if I haven’t commented on your blogs or responded to your comments on mine please know that I want to but when I sit down to do it, I get overwhelmed and just say fuck it. 
  • Funnies:IMG_2218 FullSizeRender (42) FullSizeRender (41)Season 2 of Bloodline releases today! If you need me for the next few days, you know where to find me. 


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Musicians gone too soon: A Jana and Erin playlist

It’s that time again, the last Thursday of the month, the time that Jana and Erin bring you a playlist that usually has a theme with a twist.  With the realization that we’ve been losing a lot of musical icons in recent times, we were inspired to bring you this post: favorite songs by (now) dead people.
*This is a long one.  We make no apologies.  We culled.  We swear we did.

The plane crashes:

Buddy Holly (Peggy Sue) – It’s been called “Rock’s First Tragedy” and “The Day That Music Died” when a plane crashed in snowy Iowa February 1959.  It carried Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, and one of Jana’s faves, Buddy Holly.

Stevie Ray Vaughan (Pride & Joy) – A bronze statue overlooks Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas to honor the loss of this guitar virtuoso and Texas son, another plane crash casualty (this one happening in 1990).

Lynyrd Skynyrd (Free Bird) – In 1977, three members perished in a plane crash carrying band members of this Southern Rock band.  Most everyone knows “Sweet Home Alabama” and possibly have heard someone from a crowd yell “Free Bird!”…but when I listen to the opening lyrics “If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me?”…well, damn, considering how the man singing those lyrics died, it gives me chills every time.

The drink:

AC/DC – original lead singer, Bon Scott (T.N.T.) – I, Erin, have a personal story.  My 8 year old stepson’s favorite band is AC/DC.  He can identify a song when it comes on the radio within a few notes.  My husband and I had our first conversation about the dangers of too much alcohol with this 8 year old kid by telling him the history and untimely death of  Bon Scott.  In honor of my stepkid, here’s his favorite AC/DC song.

Def Leppard – original lead guitarist and songwriter, Steve Clark (Armageddon It) – You could not be our age and not have some memory associated with a Def Leppard song.  They were “that” big for a time period.  In 1991, the height of their fame and popularity (#1 albums, sold out stadium tours), Steve Clark died of alcohol poisoning.  The last album that he played fully on was their highest selling album of all time (25 million+), and Armageddon It is Jana’s favorite song (Jana’s edit: on this album. Not in general. Although it’s probably in my top 20).  (He’s the one with the most bleached-blonde hair playing guitar.)

Warrant – lead singer, songwriter, Jani Lane (I Saw Red)From Erin: this one hurt.  I loved Warrant.  I saw Warrant’s last performance together with Jani singing in 2008.  It was a trainwreck due to Jani’s addiction.  Some various documentary footage of Jani makes me almost cry.  He is bloated and red-faced.  His depression is palpable.  He died alone in a hotel room from years of alcohol abuse.  This is one of the all-time best power ballads.  (Jani, I promise I won’t remember you just as “the Cherry Pie guy”.) Jana’s edit: Poison and Warrant was the first concert I was allowed to go to by myself. This one hurt me, too. 

The drugs, oh, the drugs:

Janis Joplin (Piece of My Heart because we think we’ve already used Me & My Bobby McGee on a previous post) – One of the members of the infamous “27” club, musicians that died at the young age of 27.  She could  sing like she had balls and party as hard as the guys, but suffered because of it.  Her cause of death was listed as heroin and alcohol.

The Doors – lead singer, songwriter, wearer of leather pants like no one’s business, Jim Morrison (although other members have passed too)…(Break on Through) – Another 27 club member; some aren’t fans of the psychedelic rock that The Doors produced.  We are.  Pretty sure we’d been crazy dancing groupies at the Whisky-a-go-go if we were in our late teens/early 20s in the late ’60s.

Blind Melon – lead vocals and songwriter, Shannon Hoon (No Rain) – This band didn’t have much time to reach a lot of success, but if you were alive pre-1995, listened to music, and/or watched MTV…you knew this song.  Hoon, like several others on this list, died on his tour bus due to a drug overdose. 

Sublime – lead vocals and guitar, Bradley Nowell (Santeria) – Ska punk?  From us?  Sure.  We have eclectic tastes.  Sadly, Bradley didn’t get to experience the height of his recognition (due to his heroin overdose in 1996) as most of Sublime’s biggest hits came posthumously. 

Drowning Pool – lead singer, Dave Williams (Bodies) – Another tour bus tragedy.  Officially, cause of death is due to an “undiagnosed heart condition”; unofficially, all that cocaine didn’t help that unhealthy heart keep pumping.


Alice in Chains – lead vocalist, Layne Staley and bassist, Mike Starr (Rooster) – Not one, but two deaths by drug overdose.  So many songs to choose.  Jana had to choose.  Erin just couldn’t.  They are all too good.  Their songs, although labeled “grunge”, are timeless rock music.


Stone Temple Pilots (and Velvet Revolver) – lead vocals and songwriter, Scott Weiland (Sex Type Thing)From Erin: Out of all the artists listed, this is the one that has taken my money again and again.  I’ve seen him live more times that I can count with STP, VR, and solo.  I own his book.  His ex-wife’s too.  I own many albums.  STP “Core” still ranks as one of my all-time favorite albums ever.  Scott’s addiction was often in the media and in his lyrics.  It was no surprise that he was found dead on a tour bus after a recent relapse.  Terribly sad, but no surprise.



Run DMC – dj, cut creator, mixer Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell (It’s Tricky)From Erin: In the world of hip hop and untimely deaths, Biggie Smalls and Tupac are the most mentioned.  Run DMC was the first rap album (cassette, although my brother did own the vinyl record) that I owned.  The fact that a southern suburban white girl knew every word to many of their songs is testament to the musical influence they had.  When he was murdered, I was sad.  Still am.


Pantera/Damageplan – lead guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott – No song attached; we had one in last month’s post, but we still thought we’d share that time that Erin visited his grave outside Dallas, Texas.  Shot dead by a Pantera “fan” at a concert with his new group Damageplan while his brother watched from the drum kit.


Mental illness, drugs, and violence:

INXS – lead singer and lyricist, Michael Hutchence (Never Tear Us Apart) – He was dreamy to look at and to listen to, but he was battling some heavy demons.  They caught up with Michael in 1997.  His death was ruled by an Australian coroner as a “suicide while depressed under the influence of drugs and alcohol”.  His loss is still strongly felt in Australia.  INXS Greatest Hits still regularly spends time in the top 10 of Australian sales charts.

Nirvana- lead singer and songwriter, Kurt Cobain (In Bloom) – A death that will be examined until music stops playing.  A sufferer from reportedly various diagnoses of mental illness (severe ADHD, depression, and bipolar disorder), Kurt Cobain self-medicated by abusing hardcore drugs.  Ultimately, this combination took his life which was ruled a suicide.
Complications from AIDS:
RATT – guitarist Robbin Crosby (Round and Round) – Predictably, a hair band musician is on a list of ours.  Robbin’s story is just heartbreaking about the perils of living the glamourized rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.  He was friends with his bandmates.  Friends with other band members on the scene.  (Nikki Sixx has frequently talked about their friendship.)  Groupies don’t have a bad word to say about him.  Until the drugs took over.  He was a heroin addict.  He had a lot of unprotected sex.  He was HIV positive and ultimately died from a heroin overdose while battling pneumonia as a complication of AIDS.  (He’s the super big blonde guy playing guitar.)
N.W.A. and solo rapper – Eric “Eazy E” Wright (Boyz in the Hood) – We have our East Coast representation from Jam Master Jay, and now West Coast legend, Eazy E.  He was diagnosed and publicly announced in 1995.  One month later he died from complications of AIDS.
Of course………
Queen – singer, songwriter, genius, Freddie Mercury (Somebody to Love) – One of the greatest vocalists to ever perform rock ‘n’ roll.  There are not enough words to describe this guy.  The music he left behind does all the talking needed.
Cancer sucks:
Beastie Boys – vocals, songwriter, keyboard, and bass, Adam “MCA” Yauch (You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party) – After his diagnosis, he announced his cancer was “very treatable”.  That cancer, she’s a bitch.  Sadly, she’s been known to take down some of the best, like this hip hop legend and humanitarian.
Cause of death unknown (so far):
Prince – musician of a thousand instruments, singer, songwriter, producer, dancer, snazzy dresser, His Purple Highness, and more – He wasn’t one that supported sharing his videos on youtube, but take a look at this display of talent right here playing a purple acoustic guitar.
And the list could go on for days…so, tell us who we missed.  We know we left many on the edit floor.  What is your favorite song by a (now) dead person?
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Judging Covers with The Family, ninth edition

No fanfare. Let’s jump right in. 

Book #1: American Youth by Paul Lamarcheamerican youth

The husband says:  Lonely kids with nothing to do but hang out outside.

The child says: A kid who lives in a not very popular city and he’s sitting somewhere with no friends and very lonely. Also he’s got a gun it looks like.

Goodreads says: American Youth is a controlled, essential, and powerful tale of a teenager in southern New England who is confronted by a terrible moral dilemma following a firearms accident in his home. This tragedy earns him the admiration of a sinister gang of boys at his school and a girl associated with them. Set in a town riven by social and ideological tensions in an old rural culture in conflict with newcomers. This is a classic portrait of a young man struggling with the idea of identity and responsibility in an America ill at ease with itself.

Book #2: The Never Open Desert Diner by James AndersonNever-Open-Desert Diner3

The husband says: It made me think this–it’s a story about a group of UFO enthusiasts that meet nightly at a diner to talk about what they saw and their experiences. 

The child says: I think it’s about a bunch of explorers like Lewis and Clark who go to a mountainy kind of place and over the top of those mountains is nothing but empty plain open grass except for this one diner and they go inside to rest and see if there’s any food and while they’re in there, something happens and it locks them up and they can’t get out. 

Goodreads says: Ben Jones lives a quiet, hardscrabble life, working as a trucker on Route 117, a little-traveled road in a remote region of the Utah desert which serves as a haven for fugitives and others looking to hide from the world. For many of the desert’s inhabitants, Ben’s visits are their only contact with the outside world, and the only landmark worth noting is a once-famous roadside diner that hasn’t opened in years.

Ben’s routine is turned upside down when he stumbles across a beautiful woman named Claire playing a cello in an abandoned housing development. He can tell that she’s fleeing something in her past — a dark secret that pushed her to the end of the earth — but despite his better judgment he is inexorably drawn to her.

As Ben and Claire fall in love, specters from her past begin to resurface, with serious and life-threatening consequences not only for them both, but for others who have made this desert their sanctuary. Dangerous men come looking for her, and as they turn Route 117 upside down in their search, the long-buried secrets of those who’ve laid claim to this desert come to light, bringing Ben and the other locals into deadly conflict with Claire’s pursuers. Ultimately, the answers they all seek are connected to the desert’s greatest mystery — what really happened all those years ago at the never-open desert diner?

Book #3: The Two-Family House by Linda Cohen Loigmantwo-family house

The husband says: By the looks of it, it occurs in a city where two families couldn’t afford to have their own place so they decide to move in together and all the shenanigans that occur.

The child says: I think it is about two families who are living in the city and choose to live in an old-timey but nice home and there’s a door that connects the two apartments and one day something happens and the door locks and they can’t get it open and how they’re able to survive without the door opening. 

Goodreads says: Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins.

Book #4: Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansmacame to the city

The husband says: It’s about some people who are coming from a no-nothing place to the city because they want to live their dream of having their name in lights doing something, probably involving jazz hands. 

The child says: I think this about a family who comes from a completely random place that’s really tiny in the whole US and they go to the city to visit and see what a bigger place with more of a name than their home. They see all the cool stuff there and they try to figure out if they can move there or not so they can be more in the spotlight than the shadows. 

Goodreads says: December, 2008. A heavy snowstorm is blowing through Manhattan and the economy is on the brink of collapse, but none of that matters to a handful of guests at a posh holiday party. Five years after their college graduation, the fiercely devoted friends at the heart of this richly absorbing novel remain as inseparable as ever: editor and social butterfly Sara Sherman, her troubled astronomer boyfriend George Murphy, loudmouth poet Jacob Blaumann, classics major turned investment banker William Cho, and Irene Richmond, an enchanting artist with an inscrutable past.

Amid cheerful revelry and free-flowing champagne, the friends toast themselves and the new year ahead—a year that holds many surprises in store. They must navigate ever-shifting relationships with the city and with one another, determined to push onward in pursuit of their precarious dreams. And when a devastating blow brings their momentum to a halt, the group is forced to reexamine their aspirations and chart new paths through unexpected losses.

I also have a few other books on my nightstand both finished and unfinished but I figured 4 was a good number. 

How do you guys think they did figuring out the plots? 

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Friday Six Pack #4

I didn’t want you guys to think I fell of the planet so I’m just checking in with some quick highlights. Although I’ll tell you that depression is kicking my ass lately and it’s hard to feel anything about anything but I’ll try. 

Finished Sue Klebold’s book and am in the middle of The Girl From Home. As far as the former, it is the most emotionally draining book I have ever read and the […] Continue Reading…

Friday six-pack #3

I feel like this week was a big fucking waste of time filled with nothing but rain and other assorted bullshit. I generally don’t try to live for the weekends but this week has made me nothing but glad to see it arrive. We have no plans which is wonderful coming off of our trip to VA Beach last weekend (and my daughter’s squad took 5th of 14. It might not seem that great […] Continue Reading…