Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Musician to be Proud Of

Today Gavin DeGraw's new album "Free" drops and I must say that it's quite remarkable. His intent was to record it as an indie record so he only spent about 2 weeks in the studio. It's always great to listen to him talk about the recording process and what he wants to achieve. As you may remember, he also spent some time in Uganda as a part of his work with Nothing but Nets. To hear him talk about his time there shows what a true humanitarian he really is. The man's got a good heart, and he makes me proud to be a fan.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tomorrow's the Big Day!!!!

Tomorrow my man Gavin DeGraw officially releases his new album "Free". I've already heard all of the songs on iLike and they are positively inspiring! The man has such a beautiful voice and this set of songs, along with the way they were recorded, showcases it. "Free" is music in its purest form. No bells and whistles. No catering to the corporate machine. It's just raw, real, and heartfelt. Those are the words that Gavin's diehard fans would use to describe him, so it's no wonder he chose to make such an album for us. Gavin, once again you've touched my heart in ways that no other living musician has in a very long time. You're a class act that really knows what music is about!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What are People Teaching Their Children?

There are so many people that believe that racism is a relic of the past, but if you live in the Deep South, you know better. My niece, who lives in Georgia, is in the 5th grade and has been called a "nigger" more times in this school year than I was called the whole time I was in elementary school. The election of Barack Obama was seen as a step forward, but we seem to be moving backward. My niece's class is doing a project and she was put in a group with 2 other girls. While riding the bus home, she asked 1 of the girls if she wanted to come over to her house to work on the project. The girl's response was "I don't want to come over to your house because you and your grandparents are nothing but black niggers." Now what kind of response is that to an invitation to come over and work on a school project?!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sterilization at Puberty

Taking away someone's ability to choose is usually very much of a bad thing, but sometimes I think there are special circumstances. When a person takes out their anger on their daughter by calling her retarded, I think that shows that he never should've had the child in the first place. She's had a rough life and he has no right to insult her. He deserves to be insulted by her since he's been shirking his duties as a father almost since the day the child was born. Don't even get me started on her mother. This is someone who put her own children in a household with a physically abusive man and then turned to drugs and alcohol. Luckily, her children don't love with her anymore, but she continues to try to do whatever she can to embarrass, insult and demean them. Now tell me, should people like this really be able to procreate? Had they each been sterilized at puberty, then there would be little girls who may have been born to more loving and responsible parents. Just something to think about.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lending a Helping Hand

I don't have a lot of money, but I do try to make charitable contributions whenever I can. Sometimes we all might wonder if our $10 or $25 is enough, but if every person out there gave $10 or $25, that would add up to a lot of money. Two of the charities that I like to contribute to are directly related to my love of Gavin DeGraw. He's a big supporter of Nothing but Nets and the Wounded Warrior Project. Like myself, Gavin's other fans have taken an interest in those charities. We've gone so far as to set up a website http://www.theleasticando.net/ to make donations to a designated charity in Gavin's name each year. The Wounded Warrior Project is this year's designated charity. In one of my earlier blogs I have information about Nothing but Nets. Another charity I like to contribute to is called I'm Tired of.... For a contribution of $10 you can get a bracelet that says I'm Tired of...Cancer, Animal Cruelty, Alzheimer's, Diabetes, Child Abuse, Breast Cancer, World Hunger, AIDS, Global Warming, Autism, The Economy, or Heart Disease. The proceeds from the sale of each bracelet benefits the cause that you've chosen. Check them out at http://www.imtiredonline.com/. I'm sure that either you or someone you know is affected by one of the problems that I'm Tired of...represents. Hell, I know we're all tired of the economy. Please do your part to help make this world one that we can be proud of!

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Day of Spring

Today is the official first day of Spring. With it, Spring brings renewal and a new beginning. I hope that everyone sees the start of this new season as an opportunity to shake off the dust and start something new. I plan to pick up my guitar again so that I can continue learning to play. I also want to start doing yoga again because I love it and miss it. New beginnings are always fun because they give you something to look forward to. I challenge you to find something to look forward to. Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Joys of Being an Admin

As I'm sure many of you know, being an administrative assistant is a thankless job. Most of the people that I work with are okay, but there's one woman that I refer to as the Queen of Unreasonable Requests. Any request that she makes needs to be done yesterday. I'm having lunch, but whatever she wants takes precedence over that. I do it for her so that it can be sent out via courier ASAP and she tells me that there's something else she needs to look at, so I don't get it back until 30 minutes later. That kind of thing is bad, but the worst is when there's a problem with the printer or the copy machine. Yesterday, she was printing something on the color printer that was legal size. Suddenly she comes to me and says there's a problem with it and asks if I can fix it and then bring her the printout. I go to the color printer and the display says to load legal paper in tray number 1. Yeah, that's a real problem! She doesn't have time to load the paper and wait for her stupid 4 page document, so she has me do it. I know that my job is to assist in an administrative capacity, but that's just ridiculous!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Power of Good Music

As a Gavin DeGraw fan I've met people from all over the world through his fan club. They are some of the nicest ladies I've ever encountered. Not only are we able to bond over the music, but over life experiences, in general. We are all different ages and come from many different backgrounds, but our interactions with each other are a testament to the fact that as human beings, we are all very much alike. We support each other. We share in each other's triumphs and sorrows. We do our best to help each other. Maybe if all of the world powers could find a common love of some type of music, this might be a more peaceful world.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What are We Paying Them For?

The rock I'm banging my head against

I've been battling a sinus infection for almost 2 months now. I went to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor), he took a culture and saw nothing. Because of that, he tried to say that I don't have a sinus infection. Meanwhile, I'm still feeling sinus pain and pressure, accompanied by discolored mucus. After I let him know that, he ordered a CT scan. The scan showed that almost all of my sinuses are 80% blocked. My doctor consulted with a surgeon and the surgeon recommended an antibiotic and a nasal spray. He also said that I should follow up with him in 3 weeks. For almost a week now I've been trying to make that follow-up appointment, but the surgeon's office is dragging their heels. All of a sudden the surgeon wants to know why my doctor is referring me to him. Hello! You were the one who suggested the antibiotics and the nasal spray and said that I should follow up with you. WTF! I know doctors shouldn't be expected to remember every little thing that they do, but that's what patient charts are for. Read it and then you'll know what's going on. I finally got tired of the runaround and made an appointment with another otolaryngologist for a second opinion and hopefully, a bit more indvidualized attention.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grown-up in a Kid's Body

My 11-year old niece has had a very tough life. Her mom is an alcoholic and drug addict and her dad (my younger brother) has never known what it means to step up, be a man, and take care of his child. Because of her tough life, she's had to grow up very fast. Having a conversation with her is like having a conversation with an adult, most of the time. Because of that fact, it's easy to forget that she's only 11. Although she understands a lot of the inner workings of adult life and can converse about them intelligently, she is still just a child who often still does childlike things. One of the things that her mother taught her was to be deceptive and keep things from people. Because of some things that have happened, she now lives with my parents and has attempted to keep things from my mom. Of course all kids lie, but it's never good to hide things. My mother is 61 and has been taking care of children since she was 8 (she's one of 12 children). So she's pretty much seen it all and knows every trick in the book. My niece is a good kid who's very smart, but I just hope that she doesn't let the wrong stuff she learned during the first part of her life hamper her from growing up to be a good adult. I'm trying my best to make sure that she doesn't end up another statistic.

Friday, March 13, 2009

That's What We Want


The video above shows Gavin DeGraw talking about his approach for the new album. He mentions that fact that he wants to sound less produced. His voice is one that sounds best in its rawest form. Any production beyond the bare minimum does a disservice to him and to his fans. Although we pretty much love everything that he does, we love him when he's pared down to his essence more than anything else. All of his true fans are really happy that he's giving us what we want with the album "Free".

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It Doesn't Take Much

A person's day can be made or ruined by the turn of a simple phrase. A lot of times things are said in an off-hand way without regard to how they affect the person who is being spoken to. That usually results in hurt feelings and sometimes bias against that person because of whatever race they belong to. Race has nothing at all to do with a person's bad choice of words, but sometimes people fall into the trap of stereotyping based on wrongdoing that was caused to them. I've been guilty of generalizing about a group after a member of that group has hurt my feelings. That's the anger and the hurt talking. No group can be judged based on the actions of one member of that group. That's not fair. Unfortunately, very few things in life are fair.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sheer Genius!

A single from Gavin DeGraw's new album "Free" has been released. It's called "Stay" and I think it might be his most open, vulnerable recording yet. On their own, the lyrics, themselves would be heartwrenching, but when the plaintive quality of his voice is added, it hits you squarely in your heart. I get the feeling that "Free" is going to be the album that Gavin was born to make. Whether it's critically acclaimed or not means nothing to me, because it's not about that. It's about whether or not music can reach deep down and touch my soul. If you love music in its purest form, you've gotta check this song out. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Get Tickets for Gavin DeGraw's Spring Tour


Health Concerns

It seems like everyone I know is having some type of health problem. They're all waiting for test results and keeping their fingers crossed as they hope for the best. About a week ago I was waiting for test results. What I thought was a sinus infection never got completely better so I had to have a CT scan. That scan shows that I have a lot of blockage in my sinuses. That explains the pain and pressure I've been feeling for a month and a half. In the beginning it was constant, intense pain, but now it's intermittent. I don't know which is worse. It makes me feel like the big, stone head in the picture. Anyway, there's one more treatment my doctor would like to try before we even consider surgery. When I go to my appointment tomorrow, I'll be having one of those "fingers crossed" moments because it's always best to avoid surgery, if you can. For 33 years I've lived without surgery or broken bones, so I'd like to keep it that way. Here's hoping....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Drama, Drama Everywhere

My next door neighbors are notorious for disturbing the peace. Any time that they go in or out of their apartment, they slam the door. They also walk really heavily with shoes on (the floors are hardwood) and talk very loudly. The walls are thin, so we pretty much hear everything that they say. At no time was that more evident than at 6:35 on Saturday morning. Apparently the girlfriend didn't get home until 5:00 that morning and the boyfriend found evidence that another man is involved. To say that all hell broke loose is putting it mildly! There was lots of yelling and swearing by the boyfriend and lots of begging from the girlfriend. It came in waves. For a few minutes there would be silence, then the next thing you know he's blow up again. The boyfriend packed a few things and left, but he came back the next day. I guarantee there will be more drama, and there will definitely be more door slamming. I told my boyfriend I'm glad we're not like that.
Argument aside, I wonder if it's just natural for them to slam doors and walk loudly at all hours of the day or night. It's not like we live in an actual apartment building. We live in a house that has been converted into apartments. Also, I know hardwood floors make noise, but damn, do you need to walking with your shoes on at 6:30 in the morning on a weekend? As time goes by, people are becoming more and more inconsiderate. It's enough to make you want to bust 'em in the face!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thank God it's Friday!

My Family

Every week most of us work toward this day so that we can have another 2 days off. The expression Thank God it's Friday (TGIF) is used often and by many. Is there anything else you can think of to thank God for. In this instance the word "God" is used as a catch-all word to encompass all spiritual beings. Not everyone believes in God, per se, but they do believe in a higher spritual being.

Those of us that have a job to go to every day should thank God for that, because there are so many who don't. Are your parents still alive? Another reason to be thankful. If they love you and raised you like they should, that's even more of a reason to be thankful. Can you get out of bed every day and walk out your front door without assistance? Ah, one more thing to be thankful for.

It's easy for us to look at what our lives are missing. We spend so much time doing so, that we forget about the things we do actually have. We're a society that has no problem focusing on the negative. How many feel-good stories do you see when you watch the news? Not nearly enough. There are good people and good things out there in the world, but they're overshadowed by the not so good. I challenge anyone who reads this to think about the good things in their life and see how much happier they feel.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Walking the Walk

It looks like maybe every other blog post is going to be about Gavin, but that's not necessarily a bad thing! He's a huge supporter of the charity Nothing But Nets which provides repellant treated bed nets to African refugee camps to prevent malaria. It's not enough for Gavin to support this cause by raising money, he also plans to hand deliver the nets that his fundraising efforts have paid for as evidenced by a bulletin posted on MySpace:

"This Saturday, Gavin will be departing for Uganda to spend a week going to refuge camps to hand deliver the Malaria bed nets to those in need! Please stay tuned for pictures, videos, and very special blogs directly from each camp that he visits!"

Now that's what I call walking the walk. It's easy to talk the talk by saying that you support certain causes, only going so far as to mail a check on a regular basis. It takes real humanitarian spirit to get down in the trenches, so to speak, and actually look the people that you're helping in the eye. That's how you know that you're really making a difference. Gavin, I applaud you for being the kind of person that knows that first-hand experience of others' hardships make you a more compassionate and giving person. I also applaud your parents for instilling such values in you. You've made your fans very proud. Just when we think that we couldn't possibly love you any more than we already do, you prove us wrong by opening your own heart just a little more!

Nothing But Nets Banner

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Do My Kitties Really Hate Each Other?

I live with my boyfriend and each of us brought a cat into the relationship. His cat, Smoke, is almost 14 and my cat, Topaz is almost 6. I figure it's the difference in age that makes them not get along very well. I also figure that since one is a boy and the other is a girl, there might be some antagonism there. Smoke is the more mellow of the two. I'm not sure if that's because of his advanced age or because his breed is a mellow one in general. When Topaz is around, he's not bothered either way. On the other hand, when Topaz sees Smoke, she immediately hisses at him and runs away. If he tries to eat at the same time that she does, she'll hiss and just let him have the food. Occasionally, I do hear sounds of yowling and see fur flying. They're like a step-brother and step-sister that just really don't get along. I think that Smoke would love her if she let him, but Topaz ain't havin' it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What's going on with Gavin

For those of you who may not know, Gavin DeGraw is releasing a new album on March 31st called "Free". It's going to mainly be a collection of fan favorites from his shows with a cover or 2 thrown in. To promote the album, he'll also be doing the "Where it Began" Tour, which is a way for him to get back to his roots. Below you'll find tour dates and a pic of the album cover.

Tour Banner