Have I Got A Story For You….

Happy Saturday, little darlin’s. Hope the long, cold, and lonely winter is winding down for you. I wanted to post an update here to let you know something: I grabbed a notebook this week, stuck a pen in the spiral, and jotted down thoughts and ideas every day. That hasn’t happened in a long while. It’s a good sign, though. It means I’ll be posting more content here. Working my writing juices into a tasty smoothie of fun. Ewwww, that sounds gross, doesn’t it? Maybe not the best metaphor, but I’ll go with it. I have to thank my buddy Kris for the motivation. He recently asked me to cohost the second season of his podcast, The Peaceful Pirate, and we started recording last weekend. Do yourself a favor and catch up on the first season now. You’ll learn that if you have a passion, you can do something with it. You’ll learn tips on how to do it too. I’m attempting to take his advice. Hence me and the notebook. This update is based on the first thing I scribbled in there….

Stories. Everyone has them. Lately, they’ve surrounded me, coming from friends and strangers. When chatting about podcasting and podcasts in general, several folks suggested The Moth, so I subscribed. It’s been a perfect accompaniment to my work commute. A collection of stories told by people from all walks of life. Some funny, some scary, they’re all over the place. But the coolest part is they’re all true. I’ve been in my car laughing, crying, and enraptured. I imagine I’m sitting in front of whoever is spinning their tale, in a cozy room with a fireplace. My favorite Moth story so far was from the late Taylor Negron. It’s a doozy. Check it out for yourself:

Not long after I became a fan of The Moth, my friend and fellow Mouthy Broad, Deb, founded a monthly storytelling showcase here in the Hampton Roads area. It’s called Tell Me More. It takes place at the wonderful Push Comedy Theater, and it’s super exciting to see how it’s taking off. The first event sold out! My friends and aquaintances have fantastic stories to tell. Check out Laura’s story about shitting herself.. Trust me, it’s awesome. Look around at the rest of the Tell Me More website to learn more about the events.

Finally, I had one more encounter with the telling of stories recently. I met Vee through another great friend. We hit it off immediately. She’s unique, lovely, talented, and strong. She recently competed in a story slam for the organization For Kids, and WON! It’s inspiring as hell – watch:

Pretty amazing, huh? Listening to all of these experiences has restored my faith in humanity. It helps to remind me that we’re all going through something, 24/7, 365 days a year.

 

 

 

Meri’s Top Ten Songs of 2014

Hello, legions of readers who have been dying for a post from me! *sarcasm* First of all, I apologize for neglecting this here World of mine. I’ve had no inspiration whatsoever. Everything I’ve considered writing about ended up just a “eh, no one cares about that mess” dismissal, and I went about my business of curling up in various blankets with various cats on my lap (currently Ollivander is on me, making it very difficult to accomplish anything).

Music has been berry berry good to me these past 12 months, so I wanted the comeback entry here to be related to all the songs that made me happy, emotional, dance, and impressed. LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!

10. Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon

I didn’t want to like this one. Lil Jon tends to annoy me most of the time, with his yelling and songs that grate my ears. But this Snake DJ feller eased my pain. I just want to stand up and boogie like a goober every time I hear this.

 

9. Handy – Weird Al Yankovic

Al’s Mandatory Fun album is stellar; there isn’t a non-brilliant song in the bunch. Handy, however is PERFECT parody-wise.

 

8. Fancy – Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX

So  let’s celebrate the tune Al parodied, shall we? I mean, this jam is so catchy, I don’t think I EVER turned it off when it came on. Between Iggy’s rap style and Charli’s super hook, it’s totally the song of the summer. Or fall. Or winter.

 

7. Flawless (Remix) – Beyonce & Nicki Minaj

Are you kidding me? Queen Bey is on a whole different level with this pop/hip hop/r&b thing now. No longer the squeaky clean diva. She gangsta now. When Nicki saunters on the stage in this video, which is where I first heard this version of the song, I knew shit was going to get real. And there was no disappointment.

 

6. Slippery Slopes – Jenny Lewis

There are so many great songs on Jenny’s latest album, The Voyager. But this one sticks with me the most. Its laid back telling of a tricky, drug fueled, possible threesome, along with the lovely nod-your-head beat. Good stuff.

 

5. Lonely Girl – Weezer

A wonderfully solid Weezer album made me excited about them again, and dammit if this tune isn’t pretty much one of their most perfectly Weezer-ish creations. I hope they tour near me this summer.

 

4. Birth In Reverse – St. Vincent

I wish I had discovered Annie sooner – she’s just oddball, immensely talented, and I really wanted her hair this year. I tried to achieve that look in November, but it didn’t work out. ANYWAY. This song is amazing. Love the off-kilter beat, the guitar riffs, and did I mention I love her hair in the video?

 

3. Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay) – Sky Ferreira

I could have picked at least three of the songs on Sky’s album, Night Time, My Time. But I wanted to have 10 different artists’ work on this list. I love the feel of her album; it’s like a movie soundtrack from the 80s. I relate to the lyrics of this song the most, so that’s why it’s on the list.

 

2. Every Breaking Wave – U2

I’m welling up with tears just listening to it right now. This is another in the “I could have picked a million songs off this album” category. I mean, U2 is my favorite band in the world, and they put out their best album since Achtung Baby in 2014. Forget the whole IT’S ON EVERYONE’S IPHONE thing. That really took away from how excellent Songs Of Innocence is. From start to finish. Every Breaking Wave was in my top five from the first listen, but when I saw this performance from the MTV EMA Awards, my heart exploded and it quickly became my most favorite on the album. I mean, Bono hasn’t done a raw, searing, heartbreaking execution like that since I DON’T KNOW WHEN. It reminded me of that Unforgettable Fire making of video, when he’s in the recording booth singing Pride (In The Name Of Love).

 

1. Chandelier – Sia

Basically, Maddie Ziegler’s dance routine in the video for this song is the representation of 2014 for me. The song is a representation of 2014 too. Thanks Sia Furler. 1000 Forms Of Fear was the best thing my ears received this year.

Quick Book Review – Divergent by Veronica Roth

I have to admit, my expectations were not high when I started reading this one. The idea of another “teenage girl in a dystopian shit show” story was not appealing to me. I wasn’t super impressed with Roth’s writing style, either. Like some other reviewers on here, the present tense storytelling really irked me. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised overall. It was well paced, the different factions were intriguing, and the unanswered questions were numerous enough to get me to read the next book, eventually. The ending came around so suddenly, though, due to the movie tie-in version given to me. There was so much bonus material, that took up about 40-50 pages, which deceived me into thinking I had a long ways to go. I didn’t realize the climax was the climax! Whoops. Guess I should have paid closer attention to the table of contents.

If you’re into it, check out the Divergent playlist made by the author. The taste is a bit questionable to me, but hey, I shouldn’t be too judge-y. I’ll listen to the songs.

I suppose I’ll have to check out the movie too, huh?

I Need A Favor – Help Me Help Raju, The Elephant Who Cried!!!

This is going to be quick and to the point, because time is short for this guy. I love elephants. Along with hippos, they’re my favorite animal. so large, majestic, intelligent, intimidating yet adorable, and precious. When I first heard about Raju, the elephant who cried, in a Buzzfeed article, I was incredibly moved. This poor creature suffered decades of torture and abuse, and he was finally being rescued. Sure, those tears were from pain, but I’m sure they were also from relief. Elephants can’t talk, but it is obvious they are social, loving beings, and I’m sure there was a feeling of something good happening in his heart.

So get this, apparently, the complete bastard who kept Raju in chains is trying to get him back – WHAT THE HELL? This can’t happen. I mean, NO. Watch this video and tell me you’d be ok with that (I don’t know what’s with the weird audio – maybe it was google translated or something?).

So do me a favor, folks. PLEASE. Check out This link – it has instructions on how to help stop this maniac from getting Raju back. Sign the petition. Email the government officials. Donate to the legal fund. Whatever you can. And most of all, share this sweet creature’s story. He touched my heart, and hopefully he’ll touch yours too. And others. I love animals a lot more than most humans, but I don’t care to preach about animal rights and stuff too often. But Raju means a lot to me. I’ve sponsored him, so every month, money comes out of my paycheck to help with his veterinary care, food, and such. That’s how much his plight spoke to me. If you could do the same, it would RULE, but if all you can do is spread the word, that is AWESOME too. He’s been through so much, and look at him now – he’s gaining weight and meeting chicks!

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Don’t let him return to a life of slavery and starvation.

 

 

 

What Has Made Me Happy This Week

You know what? This week has been incredibly depressing. Robin Williams, one of the most gifted and treasured actors on this planet passed away. He gave so much to this world, through comedy and the movies/shows he performed in. Not to mention the fact that he was also a really great human being who did a lot of nice things. In addition to losing a fantastic artist, the news gave us some horrible displays of humanity’s darkness. Racist, abusive police forces in small town America? Check. Clashes in the Middle East? Uh-huh. Some asshole MMA fighter beating the shit out of his girlfriend? Great. Corrupt politicians? Natch. It was too much to take!!!! So here are the things that kept a smile on my face and reminded me how much awesome there is on this ball of life we call Earth……

 

1. Daniel Radcliffe. The boy who was Harry Potter has grown up to be charming, funny, good looking, humble, and adorable. Listening to his episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast made me grin. The fact that he can name every starting quarterback in the NFL is weirdly impressive to me for some reason. I don’t get sports, but hey. I also watched this video of Dan surprising fans after a screening of his new film, What If  – it’s too cute.

Giggity, Daniel, giggity I say.

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2. Lee Pace. The tall drink of water that is Lee has been all over the place lately. On movie screens as the psycho Ronan in Guardians of the Galaxy, on the internet (he recently joined Twitter, yay!), and on AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. I finished the first season about an hour ago (I sure hope there’s a season two, y’all), and damn. It just got better and better, and the ending really left me wanting more. Sure, it’s a great drama about the 80s’ computer revolution, but Mr. Pace is dreamy as all get out.

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3. Andrew  W.K. WTF?! Meri, are you talking about the Party Hard guy? YES I AM. He’s the king of positive partying. We should all strive to be like him. His tweets are majestically uplifting, and he wants nothing in this world except super duper harmonius fun. How can that be wrong? Read his weekly advice column – This is a great one! And if you ever see him live (I did back in… 2001 or 2002?), it will turn you into a Tasmanian Devil of celebrating.

 

4. My friends, man, and cats. I got to eat pizza and chill with some of my pals this week. I brought home some veggie burgers and fries so me and my hard working honey could have a fun dinner and watch Twin Peaks episodes. I got lots of snuggles with Isobel & Selina, but mostly this turd (Ollivander):

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What’s kept you from turning to the Dark Side of the Force lately?

Current Music Obsession: Sia

I kept hearing songs featuring this loud, brave, gorgeous, and a bit sad voice. A random dance track from David Guetta. A tune off the last Hunger Games soundtrack. A hook from an Eminem song. A collaboration with singer/songwriter Greg Laswell. WHO IS THIS LADY? She’s the wonderful Sia Furler, who hails from Australia, and has written songs for Britney Spears, Rihanna, Katy Perry, and is a talented, fascinating goddess. Have you not seen the video for Chandelier yet? It’s haunting. The song is incredible….

 

Recently, Sia performed three songs on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, and they’re great. She prefers to perform with her back to the audience, and let the dancers/performance artists interpret the songs. I dig this. Elastic Heart is featured on The Hunger Games Catching Fire soundtrack, but I’m guessing it’ll be on her new album, 1000 Forms of Fear, too….

She also did Big Girls Cry & Chandelier, but since the performance of Chandelier is sort of similar to the video above, I’ll just post Big Girls Cry….

Now excuse me while I go listen to all of her previous albums and geek out and stuff. I will give a shout out to her cover of Madonna’s Oh Father – it’s great.

 

Got any good Sia related things I should check out? Let me know.

 

 

Catching Up, Being Thankful

Has it really been over a month since I posted anything here? Wow. I went through a weird, blah-tastic period where all I wanted to do on this laptop was stare at dumb internet crap instead of write. I was unmotivated and numb. No deep, underlying reason for it, I don’t think. I just wanted to do things, watch things, read things, listen to things, and not think about things. So there’s that.

But now it’s time to not only think about things, but WRITE ABOUT THINGS! Let’s catch up, shall we?

Towards the end of April, I interviewed a celebrity for the first time, on the phone. What they call a “phoner” in the entertainment business. I was nervous and not very confident about my questions, but comedian Brian Regan was super nice and was very pleasant to speak with. I am grateful to AltDaily for letting me do the interview, and to my mother, who inspired the theme/title. Read the article: http://www.altdaily.com/features/86-entertainment1/6785-moms-love-brian-regan-you-will-too – If you’re a resident of the 757, I highly suggest you become a loyal reader of AltDaily. Their intentions are pure, the content is great, and you’ll learn a lot. I also got free tickets to see Brian Regan, and the show was hilarious. He is truly one of the best stand ups ever to…. stand up.

In May, I finally cleaned out the desk I’ve had since I was eight. It was put on the curb, picked up by some random stranger who hopefully gave it to their kid to use. There was much nostalgia in that desk. Tons of photos, scraps of paper, ticket stubs, and mementos from the past bajillion years. A lot of the mementos related to U2, my all time favorite band and fangirl focus. I thought about the friends I made and all the amazing experiences I had thanks to those four dudes from Ireland. It was weird, because a week after collecting and organizing all of the nostalgic tidbits from my old desk, I suddenly lost one of those dear friends I made during those younger days. Her name was Lyn, and she was one in a million. We became pen pals in the late 80s/early 90s. Her U2 devotion knew no bounds. She was enthusiastic, kind, and didn’t let her physical limitations deter her from enjoying what she loved. We saw four U2 shows together, and through her I met other fantastic friends. We didn’t stay super close over the years, but I thought of her often, and thanks to Facebook, we kept in touch. In 2009 we reunited for a U2 concert in NC. Lyn’s on the left, I’m on the right, with Kim & Dianne between us.

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Look at us back in 1992!

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Finally, here’s Lyn with Bono in the Joshua Tree days. She’d met him numerous times over the years, but this was my favorite picture. She’ll be missed.

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There are some other things that have been going on lately, but I may write about them separately. Since I’m now sitting here nostalgic and teary eyed thinking about Lyn and our mutual love of music, I’ll end with what I experienced two nights ago: The dude and I got to see Elton John perform. Like the Springsteen show earlier this year, it was a last minute surprise, thanks to the dude’s company having a corporate box at the venue. No clients took the seats, so we got ’em! The show was glorious. Elton put on a fantastic performance; so many hits. We were floored. Check out the setlist: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/elton-john/2014/farm-bureau-live-virginia-beach-va-13c009f5.html. I have to say, hearing songs like Tiny Dancer, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Levon left me with shivers, but I do have a soft spot for 80s Elton. I kind of went batshit when I’m Still Standing started. But I learned to never take a sweeping musical genius like him for granted.

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Well, I really need to go brush my teeth, because it’s almost noon and that hasn’t happened yet. My mouth feels disgusting. I’ll close with this:  For someone like me, whose senior yearbook quote was “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” (thanks John Lennon!), I’m lucky to get cool opportunities. Interviewing a comedian and writing about it for a local magazine, meeting amazing people and having them in my heart forever, and unexpected, once in a lifetime concert experiences. Pretty fortunate for being a lazy girl, sitting in an inner tube, meandering down the river of life.

Quick Book Review – NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

My last book club selection (that I read anyway – yeah, I’ve been a bad member lately) was Doctor Sleep, by my favorite author of all time, Stephen King. I had had NOS4A2 on my to-read list for a while, so when it ended up on our book club future list, I skipped ahead and read it. Why? Well, firstly, Joe Hill happens to be Stephen’s son, and I’ve really enjoyed his last two novels, Heart Shaped Box and Horns. Secondly, there were connections to Doctor Sleep. I was intrigued. 

Victoria McQueen is special. She can create a psychic path, or inscape, in her head to help her find lost things. She hops on her bike and will always find a covered bridge that takes her where she needs to go. She’s not the only one with this talent that shows up in different ways. There’s Maggie, who can discover stuff with her bag of Scrabble tiles. And then there’s the monster known as Charlie Manx. He can stay young by kidnapping kids and transporting them to the terrifying Christmasland in his spooky Rolls Royce Wraith. These three come together in an intensely creepy journey. Holy crap, Christmasland is creepy. Oh, look, there’s a cute snowman! Why does it have an axe? AAAAGGGHHHH!!!! Thanks, Joe, for creating this wild saga. Vic was such a wonderfully flawed hero, as was her dude Lou. And Manx? Ewwwwwww.

Meet Me At Meri’s Place

Last weekend it was all about The Boss.  It was kind of prophetic that I ended up seeing him in concert, because if you look at a couple of entries ago, I posted a video of him performing My Hometown.  Also, a couple of weeks ago, I attempted Dancing In The Dark at karaoke.  We had no plans to attend his concert, because we’re broke, but the boyfriend got free tickets thanks to his amazing company the day before the show.  These weren’t ordinary tickets, either.  They were in the company’s private box, complete with food and drink service.  HOOOOOOO BOY!  The box was right in the middle too, so we had a fantastic view.

But let me back up a bit.  The day before the show, once I found out we were going, I had to dive into Bruce Springsteen’s massive catalog on Spotify.  I needed a refresher course, because as much as I admire and respect the guy, I don’t listen to his albums all that much.  It felt good.  The man is incredible.  And that band?  Yeah.  By the end of the work day, I felt I was ready to experience the Bruce…..  well, EXPERIENCE.  The guy & The E Street Band don’t just come on stage and sing a few tunes and leave.  Nuh uh.  I knew what I was getting into.

Ok, so it’s the day of the show.  I also attended our area’s first comic book convention, Tidewater Comic Con.  Us ladies from the Mouthy Broadcast podcast shared a table with the Playing Doctor duo, so I went to hang out, see some fellow nerds, and get our podcast out to the masses.  The con was PACKED to the gills.  A very good thing of course, but it was weird for me, for some reason.  I haven’t done the con thing in a while, and I guess my lack of food and water, natural tendency to get claustrophobic, and distracted mind didn’t help me get super into it.  I couldn’t wait to leave.  That being said, it was awesome seeing some friends, chatting with the geeks, watching the great cosplay, and passing out cards.

Once I got home, my dumb ass quickly sucked down a smoothie and stuffed a sandwich in my mouth hole.  That may not have been a wise idea.  One or the other would have been wiser.  But oh no.  Meri needed immediate satisfaction.  Well, guess who became extremely pukey feeling in the car, on the way to meeting our fellow concert goers?  Yeah, this chick.  Fortunately for me, our rendezvous point was my parents’ house.  And we had some time to kill.  Mothers know best, so mine quickly plop plopped some fizz fizz into a cup of water (oh, Alka-Seltzer you rock) and I sipped.  Then, the best thing happened:  Boongie, my folks’ 15 year old Maine Coon cat, decided to take a dump.  The smell wafted to my nose, and that was it.  TAKE ME DOWN TO THE OL BARF CITY WHERE THE SMOOTHIE PUKES OUT AND THE SMELLS ARE STINKY.  Glorious relief.  I was starting to worry, I mean, who wants to see The Boss in a state of nausea?  Gross!  So that was taken care of, and we were ready to rock.

It was a beautiful night.  The weather was perfect; cool and breezy.  We hung out with two other couples, one we’ve known for ages, and two of their friends.  The husband ended up being my world history teacher from 9th grade, which was hilarious.  We drink tons of wine, ate chips & hummus, and were completely blown away by the energy and awesomeness that was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  Hey look – there’s Conan O’Brien’s former band leader on the drums!  And check out the Rage Against The Machine dude playing guitar!  Good times.  Bruce is 64, but you wouldn’t know it.  He was running, jumping, crowd surfing, dancing, and being badass like any young rock star.  It was magical.  Bonus cute factor of this little girl getting picked to sing Waitin’ On A Sunny Day……

So that’s a pretty interesting day.  Hang out the with comic book folk, vomit, then rock out with a legend.

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