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How Foo Fighters Save Me

My brain has two emotional parts. They’re hard to explain on their own so I just call them Kurt and Dave. You see where I’m going with this, right?

Foo Fighters are one of my favorite bands. They’re really interesting when you think about. Not grunge like leader Dave Grohl’s former group Nirvana, yet harder rock than “pop-rock” played on Top 40 radio today. They’re almost a rarity. Maybe that’s part of the appeal.

But they’re also in danger of being compared to Nirvana. And that’s silly. They aren’t even really Nirvana’s younger brother. Nicer? Sure. The difference in the bands can be traced back to their respective leaders, though. Kurt was the moody frontman of Nirvana with songs of deep self-loathing and depression. Dave was just the happy-go-lucky drummer in the background. In fact, he claims that during the era of Nirvana he could have walked into any public space and not been recognized.

Nirvana was Kurt’s band. And when he took his own life Dave stopped playing music for a while. His friend was dead and his group was over. That’s something that’s hard to come back from, understandably. Eventually, though, Dave did come back. He recorded an album and formed his own band (yes, in that order). And although Foo Fighters could have been a carbon copy of Nirvana; it wasn’t. Because Dave and Kurt were not destined to make the same music.

Why the brief music history lesson? Because I find it odd being a fan of both Foo Fighters and Nirvana. For one specific reason: Kurt wrote about failures. Dave writes about hope.

In my recent personal turmoil, I’ve listened to a lot of different music to make me feel better over the last few weeks. Most of it has been dark, like Nirvana. Read the rest of this entry

You Can’t Save a Person Who Doesn’t Want to be Saved

You can’t save a person who doesn’t want to be saved.

No matter how much you want to.

And no matter how much he needs the saving.

Because in the end, you will be the one who gets hurt. And he knows that.

He won’t let you save him because he’s trying to protect you.

And as awful as it may feel to be rejected in that way, it’s for the best.

You can’t make him want to fix himself.

And you certainly can’t fix his issues for him.

Even if his broken pieces make him seem hot.

Because we love a person with demons. Read the rest of this entry

This is How I Disappear

It’s crazy in this lifetime how often your initial gut feeling about someone can be right. For example, I could have predicted back in April as I was sitting in a bar talking to you that I would be writing this about you now.

From the moment you stole my phone that night and told me to stop drunkenly texting another guy I was after and talk to you instead, I knew you were going to be the one to really break my heart. I could have told you right then and there how this was going to go: I’d let you pursue me, I’d start to like you back, I’d start to have real feelings for you, and when it started to show that I cared, that I was invested, you would disappear.

At first I did everything to resist you. When you started trying to talk to me on Facebook and I gave you seemingly vague responses? I was trying not to encourage anything on purpose because I knew if I started talking to you I would fall for you. But I don’t think it was a secret to anyone that I asked our mutual friends about you all the time. I’d be a dirty liar if I said I didn’t ask them to invite you to go places with us. Just so I could see you again.

And when we did finally see each other again at the beginning of the summer I was surprised by how sweet and genuinely nervous you were around me. I liked that I made you nervous. It meant that you were as into me as I was into you. I was relieved when you stole my number from our friends and started texting me. I was excited when you asked me to go to your friend’s wedding as your date. We hardly knew anything about each other then, but for some reason I trusted you.

You were easy to trust because you were easy to talk to. And you were easy to talk to because you were so honest about everything. I liked that we talked about what was happening between us, because it really wasn’t a secret. I liked that I never had to second guess if you liked me or not. I just knew. And you knew.

You have no idea how much I appreciated you doing things just to make me happy. Like taking me to a movie for our first date that you definitely didn’t want to see. Or cleaning my shoes off when they got muddy. Or letting me put drinks on your tab at the bar when I lost a dice game and had to buy everyone shots. And that time you just decided to drop everything and come visit me on the 4th of July. I wish I could tell you now how much that meant to me and how much fun I had doing all of those things with you. It’s the little things that girls remember. Read the rest of this entry

Emmys 2016

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-7-14-39-pmYou know the drill. Here are my picks for my favorite Emmy categories:

Best Drama Series
The Americans 
How it took THIS long for “The Americans” to get a single Emmy nomination is beyond me. It’s suspenseful, compelling, and well-acted. It’s hard for a drama to continue to get better over seasons if all plots are exhausted after season one. This show avoids that troupe like a pro.

Best Comedy Series
As much as I would love to see “Master of None” win this one, “Veep” is like “The Americans” in the sense that it continues to be great, even after the first few seasons. It’s rapid insults and hidden humor combined with freakishly relatable commentary on the political system make it simply the best. Plus queen JLD. Read the rest of this entry

Concerts With Mom

As far back as I can remember, my mom and I have had a special bond. During high school when high school drama reared its ugly head, my mom and I became close. Like Lorelai/Rory levels of close. Now we tell each other everything. Well, maybe not everything. (There are some kid things that you still hide from your parents, you know?) And ever since then it’s been easy for me and everyone else in my life to point out all the ways I’m similar to my mother.

For starters, we share the same hatred of what we like to call “organized group activities.” We mock baby showers and turn our noses up at college welcome weekends because no one has time for that crap. We share similar tastes in cars and desserts. We take pride in our education and both read constantly. We also have the same colored eyes, if that counts for anything.

We also disagree upon a lot of major things. I get angry when she doesn’t go to the doctor and works far too hard at her job. She gets angry about my taste in men and my tendency to wear Converse to family events.

The best thing I got from my mother, however, is a love of music. When I was little, my mom’s vast collection of CDs and records were fascinating to me. How had she gathered them all? I thought she was the coolest person in the world. I still do.

But that music collection came with one catch, as did having extremely strict, Catholic parents: My mom never let me listen to Britney Spears when I was little. Everybody at school loved her and were going to her concerts, but my mom shielded me from her and her famous belly button because she was worried that I would later become a woman with loose morals. Instead, she handed me her Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Feetwood Mac, and Elton John albums and simply told me, “Here, these are better.”

Suddenly, I was let into my mother’s world. I was listing to the music that made her seem so mysterious to me. At the time, I was still upset that she wouldn’t let me listen to the great pop re-imagining of 1999 (and I still tell her that Aerosmith could have done the same damage on me as Britney), but what she did give me was a sense of cool.

No matter where I’ve been in my life, my obsession over rock music has what’s made me seem cool to other people. It’s been something I can talk about with others. When I started my new job in the spring, my coworkers seemed to think I was some badass alien in blonde hair-blue eyed form that wrote killer press releases during the week and frequented hipster bars on weekends (which I sometimes do).

I owe my persona to my mom. She can’t get mad at me now when I wear band shirts to Christmas dinner because she solidified my fashion when she forced Bad Company upon me. I also blame my empty pockets on her, because I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of money on concert tickets this summer alone.

This past week my mom came to visit me in Des Moines to see one of our very favorite bands, Heart. I bought the tickets, a treat I’ve been waiting to give her for a long time. After all the years of her buying me Bon Jovi tickets for my birthdays, I was finally able to give back the favor. Now, we had to sit through Cheap Trick as an opener (the second time we’ve suffered through them as an opener, actually), and had to watch Joan Jett, who was just OK (I’m more of a Runaways fan myself), but when Ann and Nancy finally came onstage, everything felt right with the world.

My mom made me listen to Heart when I was a kid not just because it was good music, but because it was a band run by two strong, extremely talented women. And Ann and Nancy Wilson always reminded me of my mother. They were smart, they wrote good music, they were beautiful, and they never let men stand in their way. They were their own trend setters. And my mom always taught me to do the same.

Rock music is one of my favorite things, and if my mom hadn’t forced me to love it all those years ago I wouldn’t be the me of today. Just another thing she can hold over me for the rest of my life, like mothers do.

Suicide Squad: Not Bad, But Not Great

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Have we had enough yet? Did we really need the latest DC Comics adaption of “Suicide Squad,” an obscure comic that, let’s be honest, most of the world had never paid attention to until Margot Robbie put on those hot pants?

The problem with “Suicide Squad” isn’t the feminist thing, nor the whole nonsensical plot. Nope, it’s the idea that somewhere out in the depths of Hollywood one brave soul will someday be able to recreate “The Dark Knight” in terms of story and making a lot of money.

Doesn’t anyone ever remember that lightening doesn’t strike twice? Catering to the nerd culture isn’t going to work if you want to make a comic adaption the rest of us want to see. But it doesn’t really work when you alienate the very fans that want it in the first place.

Of course, like most people, I don’t know much about the “Suicide Squad” comics. Read the rest of this entry

Ghostbusters: A Reasonable Verdict

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I’ll admit it; I’m not the biggest fan of the original “Ghostbusters.” It’s not that I don’t think it’s funny or spooky or a total rarity in and of itself. It’s just, I don’t know, not my favorite form of comedy.

Of course, the original “Ghostbusters” came out in 1984. Some of the jokes and the effects don’t hold up anymore. That happens with any film as time goes on. Since I was never that into Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd vacuuming up ghosts, I was intrigued by a 2016 version featuring an all-female cast. The rest of the world, though, wasn’t so into it.

I felt defensive and protective over the new busters. I told myself the new movie would be funny. Paul Feig is a good director. It’s cast is incredibly talented. Internet trolls and media critics be damned.

All of those things are still true, even after I’ve seen the film. But now I know where the reboot’s true weakness lives. Read the rest of this entry