Thursday, April 30, 2009

Adventures in Political Lobbying

This is a true story.

For the first half of this week I was in D.C. lobbying with a group called Students Advocating for Graduate Education (S.A.G.E.). In less than the span of two days I met with representatives from over 15 different state offices, the last of which being someone from Rep. Michele Bachmann's office.

While we were sitting in Ms. Bachmann's office, the wall-mounted tv screen showed a live feed of the house floor, where debate over Hate Crimes legislation was taking place. I took comfort in knowing that gay-hater Bachmann would not be in her office as long as she had a chance to gay bash in front of a captive audience in the house (just one day prior she was there comparing us to pedophiles).

So my friend Jasmine and I were talking to the very pleasant Bachmann rep, when all of a sudden, like a bat out of hell comes Bachmann, storming into her office with urgency (perhaps she was being chased by an angry pack of lesbians). She whisked past us but then froze directly in front of me, extended her hand and chirped "Hi I'm Michelle, thank you so much for taking the time to visit my office!" To her credit, she was incredibly sweet and charming and delightful (still batshit crazy, but also pleasant as a freshly baked sunshine cake). I threw up in my mouth a little bit when I heard Jasmine ask "Could we get a picture with you?". To my surprise Bachmann said "Oh, I don't have much time, but I do think we have just a minute to take a picture." So that's what we did, and Michele made nice small talk with us as we posed for the camera.

I decided the whole experience was just too surreal for me not to have fun with it. I was pleasant, smiled, and thanked Ms. Bachmann for her time and for the photo op. It was the Catholic thing to do, I figured. Plus I was feeling pretty confident that the hate crimes legislation was going to pass, which felt very satisfying as I stood next to this woman who has said some of the most hateful things I've ever heard spoken about LGBT persons such as myself.

Overall the trip was an amazingly powerful experience. I left D.C. with the assurance that I truly do have a role to play in democracy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

11:07 am

Leaving for D.C. in 5.5 hours.
Is it bad that I would rather sit my ass on the couch for 3 days?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

10:04 pm

I bought this little handy-dandy pill organizer tonight at Targets,
not because I'm forgetful about my meds, but because it's easier
than carrying six prescription bottles in my luggage
(I leave for D.C. tomorrow). Still, as I was filling
up the little daily compartments I couldn't help but sense that
senior citizen status is not too far around the corner.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

11:48 pm

I've been a bad blogger as of late. Been very busy with
academics & preparing for a lobbying trip to D.C. with a
group of other graduate and professional students.
Last night I got re-elected for another year as
VP for Student Affairs with the Graduate & Professional
Student Assembly. I plan to celebrate after finals.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4:12 pm

Preparing for a 6 hour study marathon.
Notice the necessities: Chuckles & coffee.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Record Store Day!

With the economy the way it is, and with stores like Best Buy struggling to retain employees, we have more reason than perhaps any time in the past to show our local indie record shops how much we love them. Personally, I intend to celebrate at a couple of my local stores today before hunkering down to study.

Wondering which stores in your area might be participating in today's festivities? Click here.

Happy Record Store Day everyone!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On my turntable: Wendy & Lisa - White Flags of Winter Chimneys

For starters, let me say "Thank You" to ladies Coleman & Melvoin for pressing their new album on vinyl. White Flags of Winter Chimneys (2008) is the first new Wendy & Lisa album since 1998's Girl Bros, and their first vinyl release since 1990's masterful Eroica. The LP is limited to 1,000 copies, pressed on virgin 180 gram colored vinyl (pictured below - image lifted from amazon.com), and housed in a stunning gatefold sleeve. Equally stunning is the music inside, specially mastered for this fancy vinyl release.

Winter Chimneys was written during the writer's strike in Hollywood, when Wendy & Lisa (who write & record the musical score for Heroes) were temporarily out of work. Sonically, this new material almost picks up where Girl Bros left off, in that Wendy & Lisa wrote and performed everything themselves. Lyrically the tone is more upbeat (GB was a response to the tragic death of brother Jonathan Melvoin in '96). What strikes me most listening to this album is how developed & refined the individual styles of these performers have become: Lisa with her fragile, delicate, at times whisper of a voice, contrasted with Wendy's bold, assertive confidence. The mix works flawlessly, and even more so when accented by the piano chords that have become Lisa's trademark (chords that, in my opinion, once added a color that has been sadly absent from Prince's post-'87 output).

After just a couple of listens, I can't say enough good things about this record. If you are a Wendy & Lisa fan (or even a Revolution fan), you will appreciate this album. The White Flags of Winter Chimneys LP is available as part of a deluxe package direct from Wendy & Lisa's official site, or through Amazon.com if you just want the LP.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You just have to laugh...

I had one f-dup day today, and after a 5 hour recovery nap I really needed to laugh. And so I say thank you to this video, a spoof of the "oooooooh scary" hate commercial created by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

8:02 am

All work and no play makes Simon a tired bunny.
Here we see Simon recharging in our bed
after another exhausting Easter season. :)
Simon: "Oh how I loathe jelly beans and Peeps!"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

On my turntable: Big Star - #1 Record

Holy sweet Mary - I did not expect this today, and I'm giddy as a schoolgirl. Big Star's first two albums have (almost secretly) been beautifully re-issued on heavyweight vinyl. They're nicely priced too; I got this beauty today at the record store for $9.99. I've never heard this music on vinyl before, and it's such a different experience.

Happy Happy Happy.

1:59 pm

Our kitchen table is my study space for this afternoon.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

EQUALITY is contagious

I'm speechless. First Iowa, and now Vermont. Two states in a week's time taking a stand for its citizens. I can't stand how American this all is. Liberty and justice for all, as the saying goes. :)

This seems like a good time (if ever there was one) for Basia to tell us about how "Love is contagious"...

Monday, April 06, 2009

HOTTUB

"Manbitch, go make me a sandwich"

So tonight I went to see The Ting Tings at the Varsity with some of my rockstar friends, and it was an excellent show. No surprise there. The surprise was in the opening act, the uber-spectacular, fantastical happening called Hottub.

Hottub is comprised of three gals from Oakland, CA, backed by two rhythm/music machine dudes. If there was ever a female trio that could give the Beastie Boys a run for their money, it's Hottub. From the first 10 seconds of their set my mouth was agape, and I think at one point my uterus fell out (for the record, I don't think there was a gay in the house who was able to hang on to their uterus). When they started stomping through "M.A.N.B.I.T.C.H." I thought "What's that they're saying? Manwich? Mantits? OOOH - Manbitch". It helped that they spelled the word out, and that I had seen the song listed on their MySpace page prior to the show. I turned to my friends Ellen & Kristi and said "This one's called "Manbitch"" - like I was some all-knowing President of the Hottub Fanclub (Minneapolis chapter). I could tell they were impressed with my Hottub acumen.

After their set, Kristi and I went to the merchandise table so she could get a poorly lit picture (at right - the EXIT sign turned out great!), and so we could purchase some CDs. The ladies were *so nice*; I asked if they were planning on doing any vinyl, to which the answer was a firm YES, but they need to make some money to finance it first. So check them out on iTunes & Amazon & see what you think. If you get a chance to see them live, GO -- I know you'll lust for their fancy hot funkyness as much as I do.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

8:07 pm

After a couple of high-procrastination days, I felt
compelled to stick to a checklist today. So far, so good.

Friday, April 03, 2009

On my turntable: Beastie Boys: Check Your Head

This is the 2009 remastered & restored vinyl version of the truly classic Check Your Head (1992). When this album was originally released I was working at a CD store called Digital Only, which was a no-vinyl zone. As with most music from 1992, I've only ever heard this album on CD, so to hear it now on brand new 180 gram vinyl is pretty sweet. I would expect that if this album and the reissue of its predecessor, Paul's Boutique (1989) perform well that we'll see a reissue of the great Ill Communication (1994) as well.