Angela and I

Angela and I

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Music Review: In Color

Hey guys!  How is your week going?  Mine is chugging along.  It's my last week of American Stage Camp, then I switch gears and head to South Tampa Center for the Arts for the month of July.  But enough about me, let's get down to the business of this blog post...24 hours a day, IN COLOR!

I've been wanting to write down my thoughts on the newest Hanson EP for about a month now (since it's release day at H-Day 2017) and I think now that the newness has worn off, I can form more coherent sentences than just "klajsdflaskjdflaskjdflaskjdf" which is how I feel about most things.  IN COLOR is the 2017 Member's EP and features five songs.  We got to see a little sneak peek of each song during the Member's Live Streams, which makes hearing the finished product even sweeter.  This ranks as one one of my favorite EPs (which include Banditos, Loud, and Sound of Light).  Alright...let's dive in. 

1. Somebody That Wants To Love You 
On nights you would play
I'd wait up late
To meet you at the last drive through 
Head in the future
Heart in Oklahoma
That's the girl I always knew 
Okay, to say I like this song would be a massive understatement.  I loved this song from the moment I heard the mumbled lyrics on the live stream.  I LIVE for story songs (hello, Musical Theatre writer), and the story of this one gives me a lot of wonderful feelings of late nights in my hometown when I  was too young to worry about what came next and everything felt just a dream away.  It gives me a MAJOR John Mellencamp vibe, which I am completely fine with.  What can I say, I love 80's music and always will.  This is the only Taylor lead on the EP, so it's not surprising I love it. I also have this weird...theory, I guess you could call it (and this could absolutely just be a coincidence) but this EP feels like it's more specifically for the fans than any other one before it.  I feel like it was incredibly smart of the boys to write a song about a narrator who loves a hometown friend who made it big, just like we have loved them for so long.  We did love them with their hair down to their shoulders, when the world was much younger.  

2. Ghostwriter
If you're looking for a new way
and you're good with word play
I might have a job for you
Watching this stream made me feel like a CRAZY PERSON because I spent the whole time trying to figure out what the bass line reminded me of.  I had everyone working on it, and finally we came up with Lady Madonna, whew.  I didn't expect to like the song as much as I do.  There are a couple production issues (you guys HAVE to get an iso booth for your vocals, I'll pay for it myself sheesh), but I really like how the song itself turned out.  It's such an interesting thing to write a song about, and the lyrics are incredibly clever.  I have SO much respect for Zac as a lyricist, and this is a great example of that.  Oh and...okay I'm a vocal teacher so you can't expect me to write any review and not mention this kind of stuff.  Zac's PLACEMENT is ridiculously good.  He just floats up to that B flat like it's literally nothing.  THAT IS NOT NORMAL.  You can't TEACH THAT.  Okay, moving on. 

3. Reach out for My Hand 
You're a word weaver, swimming in the wet quick sand
You're a born achiever, but you're sinking where you stand 
This song definitely also has a Beatles vibe, much like the last track, but it also will always remind me of the movie "That Thing You Do" (which is kind of based off of the Beatles anyway, so whatever).  There is little I love more than tight, perfectly locked in harmonies, which is a hallmark of Hanson, and this song definitely delivers.  It's different than anything I've ever heard them do, and the retro sound paired with the clever lyrics make it a stand out for me.  

4. I Don't Want To Go Home 
It ain't no secret where we come from
so we wear our history like a badge of honor 
Who can say all the choices I'll make?
I have this strange habit of crying at the weirdest things, and this song makes the list.  The first time I heard the fully produced studio version I found myself with tears streaming down my face. There's a lot to that.  First of all, this song is cathartic.  The drums sound like stomping feet and Zac's full throated belt to the rafters can only be achieved by singing with reckless abandon.  Second of all, the song is for us and no one can tell me it isn't.  It perfectly captures what it's like to go to a Hanson show, and to be a part of this crazy fandom. We do wear our history like a badge of honor.  We wear pansy earrings and TTA era shirts and TOMS shoes. It's our collective happy place, where we all know every lyric.   We know that Taylor will ask us how we're feeling and that Ike will throw his picks and that they'll all fly off of the drums at the end.  We know we'll jump around for If Only and sing back up for With You In Your Dreams.  Third of all, I've met some pretty awesome people through this band.  I'm so lucky to have them.  

I'm seeing Hanson 9 times this year (it was 6 but then EPCOT was announced, whoops!!) and I know that at the end of every show I'll have the same thought.  "I don't want to go home." 

5. I Lift You Up 
Like planting seeds in the soil 
I'd water flowers with tears of joy
if crying eyes would break you home 
Okay...I have heard a lot of strong opinions about this song.  It's definitely the weakest on the EP, and it's very far down on my list of every Hanson song ever.  But let's start with the good. Lyrically, I think it's pretty strong.  There are definitely religious undertones (or just...tones), and for a lot of people that could be a turn off, so I get that.  But hey, I'm religious, so I don't particularly mind.  The bones of the song are good.  There are good lyrics and a pretty melody, with a beautiful vocal arrangement at the end.  Now, for the not so good.  I strongly dislike the production of this song.  Taylor's weird Lamaze breathing makes me roll my eyes, and if the whole thing was just stripped down and played on piano, it would be a huge improvement.  It's just too busy for that kind of a composition.  Also, its disappointing that after a power anthem on the previous track, with Zac achieving the most perfect spin on the highest notes (meaning they were perfectly placed and supported), he sings this song with barely any support.  I understand he's trying to sing softly, but you still have to breathe!!  Furthermore, I wish that the EP had ended on a high, since the entire thing (up until this point) is so uplifting and exciting.  I still think that ending it with I Was Born would not have been a bad choice.  

So there ya have it!  My thoughts and feelings on IN COLOR.  For the most part, I love it very much.  I Don't Want to Go Home is my favorite from the track list, with Somebody That Wants To Love You right on its heels. 

Peace, Love, and Algonquin for the good land,

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

When to Use a Meal Plan

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I'm certainly excited that it's already hump day.  It's been a while since I've done a #Recovery post but I've been meaning to write this blog post for about a week now. So I guess I'll just dive right in!

My name is KT and I don't have a completely healthy relationship with food.  I think we all know this, at this point.  I'm very open about my disorder and my recovery, and I love talking about it.  Talking about it and opening up is ultimately what healed me.  A common misconception is that recovery is a thing that happens and then you're done with it.  I've learned the hard way that that is absolutely not the case.  ED is like any addiction.  You have to deal with it for the rest of your life.  It gets easier.  You get better at it.  But some days  are harder than others.

Recently, I had a huge schedule shift.  For those of you who don't know, my disorder was centered largely around meal times.  I had a very intense schedule.  Breakfast couldn't be before 10am.  Lunch couldn't be before or after 2pm.  Dinner couldn't be before 8pm, and the later the better (the best was not eating at all).  If I had to eat any of these meals before the set times, I would either have a panic attack or not be able to stop thinking about it for the rest of the day (and often beyond).  I have so many memories of not eating with friends or family because our "schedules" didn't line up.  I wanted to eat with them. I just...couldn't. 

This isn't something I struggle with anymore, but when there is big change in my life (whether it's good or bad) I can feel the tug of my disorder.  It's small, but it's there, and I know that if left to my own devices, I will not make smart food choices.  I just won't.  I will use the schedule change as an excuse to skip meals, or not fuel myself properly.  And so, enter THE MEAL PLAN.

I don't think meal plans are always helpful.  Let me make this VERY clear...NEVER USE A MEAL PLAN AS A WAY TO RESTRICT.  RESTRICTION IS BAD IN ALL ITS FORMS.  But, there are those of us who, without a meal plan, will restrict.  So, when I know a big change is coming, I try to set one up.  I usually only need a week or so in order to get into a rhythm.  I've already dropped the one I was using at the beginning of the summer because I got used to the meal times and sizes and feel like I can do it without a written guide anymore.  But if I feel myself slipping, I'll definitely be using it again!

IMPORTANT -- I don't believe in counting calories, so none of my meal plans ever have ANY numbers.  Numbers are a trigger for me!!  I don't count, measure, or weigh myself or my food.  Meal plans are NOT DIET PLANS.  Meal plans are for those of us who don't necessarily have a good relationship with food and might need some guidance in order to be properly fueled so that we can continue to LIVE!!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fangirl: Book Review

Hey Friends!!  How was your week?  Mine was kind of crazy...I taught a class of 27 third through fifth graders the magic of theatre and my mom is here visiting!  I'm very happy that it is Saturday, and I can kick back and blog.

In my last post, I reviewed Grace and the Fever , a book about band fandom and one that I loved more than I even expected to.  Now, if you know me at all, you know that fandom is very important to me! However, you might not know that I have written a novel about it, and I am in the process of trying to get it published.  So even though I really wanted to read Grace because of the subject matter, I also had to make sure I wasn't unknowingly ripping off Zan's work. I am want to do, I fell into a rabbithole of fandom books. After reading Grace,  Goodreads told me to read Fangirl and Kill the Boy Band.  I thought to myself, "Might as well make sure I'm not unknowingly stealing anyone's fandom fiction ideas, right??"  So up first...FANGIRL!!

Okay, so to be honest this isn't the first time I have read this novel.  It came out in 2013 and I read it but...that was a time in my life where a lot of stuff was happening and it was really hard for me to focus on anything (especially books), so reading it this time kind of felt like it was new.  I just had a vague recollection of the course of the story and there were some parts I had no memory of at all (the brain is a weird, weird thing).

I think there is something about being a fan that is universal across all fandoms.  I would never say I was in the Harry Potter fandom.  I LOVE Harry Potter.  I have read the books countless times, I own all the movies, and I've been to the theme park.  I dressed up at midnight for releases.  I waited in line for the last book, and stayed up all night finishing it.  There will never be something like Harry Potter for me.  But...HP was not what I made friends through, or wrote fanfiction about, or cried my eyes out over.

That certainly doesn't mean I can't appreciate this story, which is, in my opinion, a love letter to the Harry Potter fandom.  The story follows Cath, a girl who is deeply committed to the Simon Snow fandom (a popular series of books and movies).

"Reading was too quiet - She needed to write."

I love this book's focus on fanfic.  I have a lot of feelings about fanfic, and if you would like to talk to me about it, I would be more than happy to.  To this day, fanfic is still my favorite hobby.  It brings me joy even in the darkest of moments, and it helps me 100% of the time I have writer's block.  I've been writing fanfic since before I can even remember.  Seriously.  I was unknowingly writing fanfiction from the time I learned how to spell.  Cath is a well known fanfic author in the Simon Snow fandom, and has thousands of people reading her stories.  She's grappling with trying to write original fiction while still keeping herself and her readers happy.  The story itself branches out and explores her time at college, relationships with friends and family, and her first love.  But at the core of all this is her deep well of passion for the characters of Simon Snow.

If you love  something so much it hurts, or you love something so much you googled fanfic about it because you didn't want the story to end, or you love something so much you stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking to your friends on internet forums dedicated to the thing, do yourself a favor and read Fangirl.  Even if you can't necessarily connect to Cath's fandom (which mirrors one of the biggest fandoms in history so maybe that's silly to say), you will definitely connect to the comfort and happiness she finds in it.

"Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can't quite keep up with gravity."