Hangin’ Tough with the Right Stuff

Leave it to New Kids on the Block to bring me out of my blogging funk.  I’ve been thinking of lots of things to update on here but never bothered to get around to it.  Let that be a lesson to you…never underestimate the power of the boy band.

My brother presented me with this little gem today:

He found it in a Goodwill, knew I would love it and bought it.  If this sounds familiar, you might remember he bought me one of their other videos a few years ago.

I absolutely love every single thing about this cover.  First of all, how much more street thug cool can you be than to have your picture taken literally in the street…next to a minimally graffitied wall…next to a sign that reads drug free school zone? Not much let me tell you.

Looking at Joey, aka Little Joey Joe, *sigh and swoon* (it was quite the competition between Joey and Jordan as to who would be my favorite New Kid but in the end Joey won out) I have to wonder if he was expecting there to be a flood or whether he hit puberty in the time between buying those jeans and taking this picture.  My guess is the latter.

I don’t really know what look Danny was going for…Tom Cruise in Risky Business?  More mature? Cool and casual?  Let’s go out for an evening stroll through the back streets of New England while I impress you with the intricacies of freshman community college knowledge. Fail, fail, and fail.  You’re not fooling anyone Danny.  We’ve all seen Community and the only intricacies of knowledge going on there is what to do should you find yourselves locked inside the school during a zombie attack.  Which by the way, was very helpful.  As a side note, I’m very excited for Community to come back this fall.  And very ticked with networks at putting it in the Friday, aka kiss of death, time slot and only greenlighting 13 episodes.  You suck networks *shakes fist*!

Nice pajama pants Jordan.  And what’s with that hat?  And the vest?

Jon, I’m totally loving your tights? long john underwear? under your jeans.  And penny loafers? Seriously.  I guess the jokes on us because you had us totally fooled.  How could we not have known you were gay? It’s so obvious in retrospect.  George Michael you were wrong, the clothes DO make the man.

Donnie, oh Donnie.  I just don’t know what to say about your mess of an outfit.  What. The. Crap?!??

So I turned the video over and this is what graces the back:

How about a closer look?

Looking at this I can’t believe Jon’s the only one who’s gay.

Joey, or excuse me Joseph as it’s labeled, must really like that T-shirt he’s wearing of forgot to bring a change of clothes to the photo shoot.  I’m loving the bowling pin broach on his jacket.  Did you know I like to bowl Joey?  Did you, did you??  Oh the fun we could have had.

Seriously Jordan,What. Is. Up. With. That. Hat??  You look like a creeper with your fingers trying to give a dainty tip of your hat.  You might be about to give a cordial greeting but you’re undressing me with your eyes.  Perv.

Jon your hair is perfectly coiffed and looking closely I think your eyebrows were purposefully brushed that way.  Again I ask, how did we not know you were gay?

Donnie I still don’t know what to say.  Your clothes and style are sending all sorts of mixed messages.  Mostly ones that say you look stupid.

Danny, I forgot you had that nasty rat tail.  I wish it could have stayed that way.

Oh man, I can’t wait to push play!

Neon Trees

A while back my brother told me about this band called Neon Trees that he saw in concert.  He said the show was energetic and I should look them up.  Eventually I did and I really wish he would have told me about them a little earlier because it just so happens they are from the town I was living in for four years.  A little local band that pretty much got their start during those years I was there.  I totally could have gone to see them multiple times.

I’ve heard their song Animal from time to time in different commercials and have seen them on various talk shows performing.  Catchy song.  So catchy in fact, I’ve been singing it for over a week straight.  I hear it in my head when I’m driving, cooking, eating, getting ready, sitting in class, and I’ve even sung a few bars of the chorus out loud to my preschool kids.  I’m singing it now in fact.

So here it is now.  I’m operating on the idea that the more I surround myself with it, I’ll become annoyed and block it out.  Here’s to hoping!

Alice Cooper Lied

School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks

-Alice Cooper

August 30th will be my first day back to school in almost 10 years.  Ten years people – an entire decade!  Since I’ve only had three of them it’s like saying “a third of my life ago, I was in school.”  Egads.

I’ve said on here before that if you’re ever in a natural disaster or experiencing a legitimate crisis, you want me there.  I’m cool, calm, and collected in these situations.  But tell me when I’m in line at McDonald’s the shake machine is broken and I have a melt down.

Likewise, my reaction to important decisions that will a affect my life vs. those that in reality are inconsequential are seemingly backward.  For example, every so often I get the notion to change my hairstyle (trust me, this definitely constitutes as an important decision that affects my life.  Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.)  Not a little trim or slight highlights but full on, whack off a foot or more, I can no longer pull my hair back in a ponytail because it’s so short haircut.  And from the time this notion first occurs, to the time I act on it,  is almost always within 24 hours.  No thinking, no waiting, no second guessing.  Ask me which restaurant I want to eat at for dinner and you’ll be eating a pre-dinner to tide you over until I come up with a place.  You know come to think of it, maybe I just have issues with food.  Hmmm.

I’ve been hanging out in Arkansas without a plan and not knowing what it was that I was wanting to do about it.  Well, I knew what I wanted to – nothing.  But that wasn’t exactly conducive to my predicament so one day I thought, “Fine.  I’ll go to grad school.”  The next day I went over to the local university and walked in the door and said, “I have a BSW, I guess I want to teach elementary, what program do you have that will get me doing that the fastest and cheapest way.”  Ok, so that wasn’t exactly what I said but more or less.

And that was the start of the last couple of month’s whirlwind of grad school run-around that I’ve been playing.  No real thought went into the decision.  No research examining different programs and no arming myself with information before going into battle.  Just walked in and began to acquire information on what I guess the university sees as a need to know basis.  Which is a tad ironic since I need to know everything now and not one person seems to have ALL the information needed.  But that’s a whole other frustrating post.  But regardless, I registered for fall in a program I knew nothing about a couple weeks prior.

I discovered that as part of my admissions I must take the GRE.  Technically, according to the program, I have until the end of my first semester to submit test scores.  In the meantime, I’m considered a conditional student.  Personally I didn’t care what my status as a student was until I  learned I cannot qualify for financial aid as a conditional student.  No financial aid means no school and no school means I’ve been wasting my time the past couple of months with all this application crap.  Again, a whole other frustrating post.

Bottom line – take the GRE sooner rather than later and begin the paperwork for financial aid.  The hype for the GRE makes it out to be one of the hardest tests you can take and in many circumstances it determines whether you will be admitted into the grad school of your choice.  People shell out a lot of money in prep materials and to take special classes for months to get themselves ready.  And the test itself is $160.

Me?  I signed up for it last week and took it today.  No studying.  No special classes.  No prep materials.  I got online and spent about 20 min on a practice run and called it good.  And you know what?  The test wasn’t that bad.  I’m not saying I’m a genius or anything, well actually I would like to go on record saying I’m a genius.  Of course the GRE test grading computer strongly disagrees with my genius declaration and instead, deems me as average – more or less.  A little less when it comes to math but that’s not any shocking revelation.

But as a whole, the test questions didn’t seem crazy hard and if I had studied or had been enrolled in school for the past decade, I probably could have done a little better.  But I didn’t and haven’t been so I’m happy with the result.  And I guess it doesn’t hurt that the university I’ll be attending views the GRE as a formality to complete and virtually has no interest or concern in my score.  No pressure there.

So there you have it.  My more recent life altering decisions brought about from practically zero thought or foresight.  I really thought Alice Cooper had something but I guess I’ll have to wait another 2-3 years before this song has any validity for me again.

Toad Suck Daze

Every year there is a three day celebration in my town called Toad Suck Daze.  Where did the name come from you ask?  Well the story goes like this:

The legend behind Toad Suck is that long ago, steamboats traveled the Arkansas River when the water was at the right depth. When it wasn’t, the captains and their crew tied up to wait where the Toad Suck Lock & Dam now spans the river near Conway. While they waited, they refreshed themselves at the local tavern. The dismayed folks living nearby were heard to say: “They suck on the bottle ’til they swell up like toads.” Hence, the name Toad Suck. The tavern is long gone, but the legend lives on at Toad Suck Daze.

But why they have a celebration named this in the first place, I have no idea.  An excuse for a party I guess.  And the really weird thing is that the first Toad Suck Daze was only celebrated in 1982.  So it’s not like it’s some old tradition dating so far back no one can remember why it’s still around.  Nope, only 28 years old.

It’s free admission and is for everyone except, well me.  Friday and Saturday night really belong to the Jr. high/high school kids, Saturday morning is for the kiddies to come out and race their toads and do a little face painting, Saturday afternoon and Sunday are for the *ahem* old folks and those into crafts, and the music every year is heavily influenced by the country genre.  Of which I’m not a big fan.  Plus every year without fail, it rains Toad Suck Daze weekend.  Needless to say I haven’t been since high school.

As a matter of fact, the weather was pretty severe this year.  I’m sure you’ve heard of all the tornadoes that swept through the state that flattened some towns and took the lives of a few people.  I was in Illinois for the weekend and happily missed out on all the excitement.

Though I missed the actual Toad Suck Daze celebration, all the preschool kids brought toads from home to race at school Thursday morning.  Talk about chaos.  When I showed up kids were all in a frenzy wanting to show everyone their toads.  Already two had either jumped out of an open box or had been taken out and then dropped, and were on the loose under the couch.

The madness continued outside as we began to race.  Some kids wanted to race but wouldn’t hold the toads, some kids wouldn’t put the toads down when they were finished racing, and all of the toads took every opportunity for freedom as they all scattered in different directions when placed on the starting line.  Imagine 17 preschool kids and 10 toads in an area that looked to be about 5 ft. squared.  There was a moment where a toad was actually dropped by one of the kids on the head of another.  I swear it couldn’t have been scripted better for a Little Rascals movie.  Talk about insanity.  But hilarious at the same time.

Maybe next year I’ll attend and blog first hand about what I see.  Maybe even include some pictures.  Maybe, just maybe, there’s something for me there after all.

I’m Not a Productive Person but I Play One on TV

For the past two weeks I’ve had Back to the Future Syndrome.  Usually this is when you move back home after a year or more and it feels as though you never left but you can’t remember being there.  And things have changed while you were gone but since it feels like you never left, you aren’t sure when all the changes could have happened.  And there you have the final scene when Michael J. Fox wakes up after only a night and yet a week had passed and nothing was as it was before: Back to the Future Syndrome.

Well I haven’t gone anywhere but the days have gone by so fast, I can’t really remember them.  And yet I was here.  Maybe it’s a Back to the Future in reverse.  Or sideways.  Maybe I’m actually in an episode of Lost.

What I can sort of remember is that my brother was in town for a week during semesters at school.  Has he really been gone four months already??  I’m still around kids ALL THE TIME which has really just blurred into a collage of sand, snot, building blocks, and funny conversations.  Earth Day was yesterday and I helped the kids create the Earth in art form using blue/green paint, a magnet, a coffee filter, and a save the Earth sticker.  It was as though I had transformed into a craft version of Macgyver.

I’ve been tanning so I no longer have to write CLEAR on forms that ask what race I am.  And I got my hair highlighted this past week and absolutely love it.  I don’t know why I don’t get my hair done more often.  I come out of there feeling like the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I’ve been feeling so good the past few days I’ve been bust’n a move to old school Madonna in my car.  You’re welcome people I pass on the road.  Road workers outside my neighborhood, I’m talking specifically to you.

I spent a few hours this week laying sod (thank you tetris for giving me mad skills that finally came in handy – I knew you weren’t a waste of time) and tomorrow I’m going to donate blood so my “humanitarian” efforts for the week can be checked.  I also made 5 dozen cookies and have dough to make another two – just thought I would randomly throw that in there.  This time next week I’m going to be back in Illinois visiting my sister and her family with my mom.  Next weekend is also Toad Suck Daze here and for those (all of you) who don’t know what that is don’t worry, I’ll explain in my next post.  But speaking of traveling, my family has been trying to get a mega trip together this summer.  I don’t know all the details yet but I can tell you it looks like I’ll be going from Arkansas to Utah to Idaho to Utah to Idaho to Utah to California possibly back to Utah or if not back to Arkansas.  All in two weeks.  And I’m trying to squeeze a side trip of my own in there to Spokane for a few days.  If you feel like contributing to that fund by all means, go with those feelings and help a fellow blogger out.  No?  Well, you can’t fault me for asking.

Oh and did I mention I’m sort of thinking about going back to school?  Oh how I love that I can make my life seem more busy and productive than it really is.

Brothers Can Be Awesome…Mine is the Best

About an hour ago I was sitting in front of the TV when my brother came home from running errands.  He told me he had been in The Salvation Army and got me something:

IMG_4377 IMG_4378

Yeah, that’s right.  A New Kids on the Block, Hangin’ Tough Live tour performance on VHS.  It doesn’t get any better than this (ok, it does but this is pretty close).  I love my brother.

Lost Music

Last night I went back in time.  Back before my time.  Back 50 years, to a time when folk music was all the rage.  The local university invited The Limelighters

Limeliters1

The Brothers Four

four brothers 1

and The Kingston Trio.

kingstonTrio

Turned out my brother and I were the youngest people in the audience by about 35 years, no real surprise there I guess.  The Brothers Four were the first to take the stage and I couldn’t believe how well they harmonized.  I mean, I know that’s their thing but it was truely impressive.  They actually turned out to be my favorite of the night.  Not a lot of talking but rather had their songs flow one into another, yet they were still personable and engaging.

The Limelighters were probably the zaniest of the groups.  I kind of think their lead singer (if there is such a person in a folk group) looks like he plays in a ska band.  Well, a ska band made up of older people.  The Kingston Trio were the headliners and the only group I had heard of.  Matter of fact, I really like The Kingston Trio and knew almost every song they performed.

None of the performers of any of the bands were the original members, but they were all so insanely talented and sounded incredible that I imagine it was similar to hearing the originals 50 years ago.  It was a fun night and I’m really glad I was able to go.

I’ll Take One Uneventful Day Please

It started with a band staying the night at our house and ended with a blown out tire on the interstate.  That’s how my last 24 hours have played out.  Two Christmases ago I wrote about driving with my brother to return a guitar to a guy in a band.  The guitar got left in the club they had played at in Little Rock and it wasn’t discovered missing until they were at home in Texas.  My brother saw an opportunity to help out this band that he liked and so he offered to pick up the guitar and drive it half way.

Well this same band (their name is Resident Hero) is back on tour and were driving from Mississippi to a town in northern Arkansas to play a show.  Since they had to drive on I-40 to get there, my brother saw another opportunity to help them out and so he offered up our house for the night.  They took him up on it and while I have no idea what they might have actually thought of the house or their sleeping accommodations, it beats sleeping in a smelly van right?  Plus I helped my brother ended up making breakfast for them in the morning and one guy did his laundry.  I didn’t really talk or hang out with them but they seemed pretty cool and I think they were grateful to get out of their van and stay in a house, even if it was only for one night.

The town they played in is about a 2 1/2-3 hour drive from our house and I told my brother I would go with him so he wouldn’t have to do the drive alone.  We got there and the show was pretty good and I was especially happy that they were one of the openers, so they were done by 9:30.  We listened to a lot of the next set and then talked to the lead singer for a little bit and headed out around 10:30.

About 14 miles outside of our town there’s a fast thumping sound and smoke coming from the front of the car.  Keep in mind this is a rental my brother had to get because of the car wrecks he was in last week.  We pull over and wouldn’t you know the front passenger side tire is not only flat, but has exploded leaving a 2 inch gash in the tire.  And there’s some kind of liquid leaking out from the tire.

We pull out the spare and my brother starts fiddling with the jack but neither one of us have actually had to change a tire.  I’ve seen it done but never had to do it myself.  Here it is, 1:00 in the morning.  We are on I-40 heading east about 14 miles from our town.  I don’t know what night time looks like where you live but down here in Arkansas it’s complete and total darkness.  You can barely see your hand in front of your face so we were using our cell phones as flashlights.  And I should say that we ended up only being 14 miles away from home but we really didn’t know exactly where we were at the time.

My brother was working on getting the jack on the car but it wasn’t looking promising at first.  So I found a road service number and gave them a call.  Their estimated time for arrival was sometime in the next 75 minutes.  Oh goodie.  By the time I finally got off the phone with them, my brother had gotten the jack on securely so I loosened the bolts.  Once the bolts were off, I called the road service people and canceled the service keeping my fingers crossed we would be able to get the spare on and not have to call them again.  It took us about an hour (maybe a little more) to get the tire changed.  I’m just glad we didn’t have to wait an additional 75 minutes.  I have no idea if it’s really on the way it’s supposed to be.  I would assume so since it didn’t fall off or explode but who knows.

It’s now 3:30 in the morning and I’m exhausted.  Oh man, did I mention that my mom got sick and I almost had to take her to the ER?  I didn’t?  Well, that happened too.  She probably won’t like that I put that in there but it adds to the drama craziness excitement that is my life sometimes.  By the way, I got her to her doctor’s office and she’s fine just really tired.  Here’s the recap:

Make breakfast for a rock band staying in our home – check

Almost took mom to the ER – check

Went on mini road trip with brother – check

Went to a rock concert with brother – check

Had to change an exploded tire on the interstate in the middle of the night – check

Let’s see…yep, that about sums up my day.  I’m going to be flying to Salt Lake City this weekend, can’t wait to see what madness happens there.  In the meantime I hope tomorrow is a complete and total bore.