Yeah, I’m still in a mood. Another video. Sorry, not sorry.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“You owe me money. I’m gonna get it all” – “You Owe Me Money” (Covert)
Blogging, Food, Foodie, Kristen Daukas, Music, NaBloPoMo, Nick Badgio, Podcasting, Sipping NC: The Art of Drinking, The Beer Dads, The Less Desirables, The Less Desirables Network, The Man Who Ate the Town
That’s what I just let out when I realized that today is the 1,827th blog post I’ve written since November 1, 2014. Perhaps more because I think there was at least one day, perhaps two, that I wrote more than one for a day.
On November 1, 2014, Kristen Daukas and Nick Badgio and I agreed to write a blog post every day for 30 days. All of November. I liked it and kept on doing it. I figured I’d go to the end of the year. I went a bit further than the end of that year. I’m going to repost the first post of the NaBloPoMo posts that happened on 1 November that year.
So we know that I’m a bit erratic or even sporadic when it comes to writing these blog posts. Some of you may think that it’s good that you don’t hear from my blabbing self that often, some complain that I don’t do it enough. Sometimes I have things to say, sometimes I don’t.
So, I’ve recently agreed to, along with Kristen Daukas and Nick Badgio, thus far, to participate in this thing called NaBloPoMo which is some fangdangled way to say National Blog Posting Month. The idea behind this insanity is that bloggers post every day for the month of November.
A-Blog-Post-A-Day-For-A-Month. Sheesh, the things I get myself into.
Eugene sometimes says that I get too into lists, like the Rolling Stone Top 500 (see my many posts about that lunacy); that’s a commitment. Then I get the honeymoon stories, which I have gotten good reviews for, and will continue to do those. So, the trick will be to do what I need to do in bulk. Kind of get ahead, if you will and keep them in the pipeline. Maybe, something in my life will be interesting enough to create a post here and there.
So, you, dear reader, will be either the beneficiary or the target of turmoil for my month-long ramblings. Of course, I could just let everyone down and “not find the time” or just forget. So, today, November 1 is nombre de jour (day #1) and let the madness begin!
That was 1826 days ago. I have thought about giving up the “daily” aspect of it. I think somewhere along the line I wrote about that dilemma. But, I can’t stand the thought of not having a post. My writing would go all the poop. It’s hard to fill each day. It’s hard to keep up the pace that I do. Some days it doesn’t happen. I’ll be honest. I go and backfill the spaces sometimes. I’ve gotten much busier so I’ve had less time to write but somehow, I pull through.
I’ve written a lot about music – things and albums that were celebrating some kind of anniversary or that I find interesting. I’ve written about lists. I’ve written about movies. I’ve written about food. I’ve written a lot about the podcasts that I do. I’ve written about my family. I’ve written a good bit about my son. I’ve written a great bit about my wife. I’ve written mostly about me. Or have I?
Again, this was never meant to be taken as 100% gospel or to denote that I knew what I was talking about or was even telling what really happened. I set out to do this blog written from a character’s perspective and in many ways I have done that. However, I feel I let that line blur a bit and it’s more real-life than character-driven and I don’t know how I feel about that. I want to be honest or at least be convincing. Sometimes those don’t go hand-in-hand. I want to try and bring the character back out a bit. That’s why I sign everything on here as “Scorp” and not Tim. I never try to actually hide that I’m Tim, nor that The BCPF is Stephanie or 3B is Trey. I just enjoy the code names. But, it started as an outlet for me to be creative and not necessarily straight-shooting.
Kristen told me once when I struggled to describe my blog, that it was a “lifestyle” blog. I can see that. I talk about randomness but cohesively sorted topics sometimes. But, it’s about all the things I mentioned earlier and it’s not just a music blog, a food blog (I have The Man Who Ate the Town for that), a self-help blog (Beer Dads), alcohol blog (Sipping NC then and maybe its return is imminent). It’s my life. It’s my lifestyle. So, in that, it is a lifestyle blog.
To you, Dear Reader, thank you for reading and putting up with this mess every day for the past 1,826 days. I mean, if I didn’t have comments/”likes”/follows on my blog, what would be the point of me doing it? Just to read myself talking? I appreciate your time. Here’s to the next 5 years.
Heck, I don’t even know if National Blog Posting Month is still a thing. I went back and looked at the Twitter account for BlogHer and it hasn’t moved since 2016. The website for it has events but doesn’t mention NaBloPoMo. So, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter because I don’t do it for them. I do it for me.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp (Tim) out!
““A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource.” – Jorge Luis Borges, Twenty Conversations with Borges, Including a Selection of Poems : Interviews by Roberto Alifano, 1981–1983
I used to love Halloween. I mean, really love it. I called it my favorite holiday. According to which definition of “holiday” you use, it may or may not be an actual holiday.
Wikipedia describes a holiday in the US: the word is used exclusively to refer to the nationally, religiously or culturally observed day(s) of rest or celebration, or the events themselves.
Merriam-Webster says: a day on which one is exempt from work; specifically: a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event.
Usually, we don’t shut down businesses for Halloween.
When I was a kid, there was nothing like it. Especially because we lived back in a hollow in West Virginia with no street lights on the road (only in folks’ yards and on houses). It was safe and we could roam about and be silly. There was this weird contest between my mother and my friends and me about who could scare the other party the most. She won more often than not. There was one time when she had borrowed this ridiculous mask that my uncle had and hid in the woods along the road. We all came through and she jumped out. We were all screaming like little girls and I was on the ground yelling that I wanted my mommy. No lie. Good times, those.
But, as I got older, I stopped caring about it gradually as time went on. And, now as a full-on adult, and yeah, I’ll say it, middle-aged, it’s really turned into a big ol’ nuisance. It’s an amateur drinking holiday. It brings out the wackos. It’s just not that fun for me anymore. 3B isn’t into a lot of the stuff so I can’t do what my mom did, plus, I’m afraid I’d be shot or something these days.
I don’t like jack o’ lanterns.
Sure, there are the movies, right? Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Or, the classics: Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, The Blob, Night of the Living Dead. Or the newbies: The Grudge (or more specifically the superior Japanese version Ju-On), The Ring, Insidious, Paranormal Activity and on and on and on. I still love those. But, I can see those now at any time because of streaming and/or owning them.
Then there are the kids. I love my son and my nephews, but really, I don’t like kids. I haven’t liked kids for a while. They get on my nerves. There are exceptions but mostly, nah. We are lucky enough to not have kids in our neighborhood and we are far enough off the road that no one comes back here and just in case, we leave the lights off because lights off mean “closed for business” to Trick-or-Treaters. I don’t want them here.
So, if you’re going out tonight to do Halloween things, knock yourself out! Have fun. Have a ball. Eat, drink, be merry. But, be safe. If you’re going out with your kids tricking and treating, then have fun, be safe. If you’re watching “scary” films, turn the light off, grab your favorite beverage and your favorite person and watch away. If you like Halloween and everything there is about it. I hope it’s a great, fun and safe one. If you’re like me, turn off the lights, watch the football game and relish in the fact that it’s Friday Eve.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“It’s Halloween; everyone’s entitled to one good scare.” – Brackett from Halloween
I have to say that I am a huge Steelers fan. I love my team. I will always love my team. But I was so disappointed and sickened from that ridiculous showing last night. Yeah, we are without Antonio Brown and I’m pretty sure there should be a tampering investigation into the Patriots/AB scenario, but they didn’t really even show up.
I mean the receivers were getting no separation and when they did, Ben was either over-throwing them or they weren’t catching what he was sending. The defense was stopping no one and everything Brady threw was caught. Everything the Patriots ran at the Steelers gained yards. Very little was for a loss. But, on the Steelers side, they were stopped on almost everything. THREE points. THREE DANGED POINTS!!!
It was a ridiculous, stupid showing. We shouldn’t have even shown up. That’s awful.
Luckily, it was the first game and there’s still plenty of time for them to straighten up their act. Let’s hope they do. Mike Tomlin has got to get everyone in gear. I’m still a fan. I still love my team. But, stop that crap!!
Until tomorrow, still peeved…
“It won’t define us if we don’t let it.” – Mike Tomlin
Again, I know this was promised to be the “Haul” post from Sunday but that will happen tomorrow, bar any other breaking bore-fests.
So, the “big game,” “NFL Championship” Super Bowl, whatever you want to call it, supposedly happened last night. Well, it did happen, but really, unless you’re a Suckriots fan, do you really care? Don’t get me wrong, the fact that Tom Terrific and company won should have had this Steelers fan seething since they now have six trophies like the Steelers do. Truth is, I don’t even care.
The BCPF said, “you’re kind of subdued.” And she was right. When the game started and the Rams were dismantling that team from Boston-ish, I got excited at every turn. But, then the tables were turned and the Rams had the ball, they couldn’t produce any offense at all. The Rams, to my recollection, never got to the Red Zone (that area from the 20-yard line to the goal line). On the other hand, Tom’s Team only made it there once. And, they scored on that opportunity.
If you’re a defensive-minded fan, as I generally am, then this should have been a fantastic game. The defenses ruled everything about this game. Both of them. But, when the “highest-powered offense” in the league can’t do anything but 3-and-outs then no matter how great your defense is, they can’t keep that pace up all game long. And, that’s what happened. The same thing the Chiefs ran into in the AFC Championship game. If you can’t rest your D then you’re going to eventually fall to Tom and Bill.
I think it is funny, looking back, that everyone was predicting a 3x-2x game but it scored only 16 points, total. The lowest scoring Super Bowl in history beating out the 14-7 Dolphins-Redskins “classic” we call Super Bowl VII.
Tom looked normal for the whole game, for once. Goff, on the other hand, looked completely out of his element as the white jerseys gave him a hard time the whole game. I think the Rams need to address their O-line in the offseason because they certainly let him down. He had moments, of course, but overall, he showed his age and inexperience.
I am glad that TB didn’t get the MVP because he certainly wasn’t deserving of it. Yes, he fed Jules the ball for Jules to win the MVP, but if it wasn’t for Edelman, Tom wouldn’t have had what stats he did. Yeah, there was a couple of Tide Pods catches but, meh.
But, really, do we have to watch that team in the Super Bowl again? It’s really not even fun watching the same crap over and over.
Again, I didn’t care that they won. I figured they would anyway and the game was such a downer that I just wanted it to be over. The game sucked, the ads sucked, the halftime slop sucked. Why don’t they just give up on that stupid halftime show? We will always be disappointed that it doesn’t meet the “Prince” standard.
The only thing I enjoyed was the food and the beer. The food I got to share with my son, wife, and nephew. The beer, I had like 10 bottles and never even buzzed. I enjoyed it, though. Wings (from Publix of all places), guacamole (I made), tater tot cheeseburgers (3B and I made) and little pigs in the blanket (3B and I). It was a good night for that.
Anywhat! Tomorrow will be the haul and congrats to the New England team for winning the Snoozer Bowl. Whatever…
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“This is hard to watch.” – Tony Romo
Blogging, Coffee Park, Finnigan's Wake Irish Pub & Kitchen, Food, Foodie, Foothills Brewing, Footnote, Local WSNC, Mr. Barbecue, Shopping, Small Business, West End Coffee House, WSNC, WSNC Business, WSNC Food, WSNC Foodie, WSNC Local, Zesto Burgers and Ice Cream
I just wanted to leave a quick (is that possible from me?) word about this town again. I know I went on a tear and ripped it a new one for traffic problems earlier this week. But, as I said on that post, I still love my city dearly and today, I saw more of why.
There was some condescending post from someone in some official capacity that was directed at businesses downtown who are struggling that says that perhaps these business owners should take some class at the local community college to learn how to start a business or how to make their existing business better as if they don’t know how to operate a business, already. The idea was that the businesses downtown are just whining about the closure of Biz 40 and whatever.
Well, to that person who wrote that garbage, screw you, pal!
These businesses were thriving before the closure. And, I don’t blame the road closure. I blame scare tactics, whether on purpose or inadvertently from media and officials about how bad it is to be downtown now that Biz 40 is out of commission.
Granted the closure of multiple bridges all at the same time has cut a few arteries into town but you can still maneuver. Come from Peters Creek or go a little further east to Cherry or even 52 to get into town.
There are people who will complain just because they already hate the town about how bad the traffic is now that there are only a few arteries into town. Suck it up, furball, this is what progress looks like. That road was built at a time when we were just past covered wagons and it needs to accommodate 100,000 cars a week. It needed to be gone. If you already don’t want to come downtown, there’s nothing that we can tell you or do that would change your mind. We’re not looking to.
Who we are talking to is the people that have just been talked into being scared of being downtown. If you let that nonsense set in, you’re going to set this town back 15 years to what it was when no one wanted to come downtown. It will go back to being a “suburb without a city” that it was in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. You can get to it. Just give yourself 20 minutes more to get there. Be patient. We all have to go on those same roads and none of us want to traverse the traffic any more than you do, but we who love downtown for the friends (personal, interpersonal and figurative) we have grown to know. To us, it’s worth the hassle. It will be over soon.
There are plenty of downtown businesses that need your support. It’s not Biz 40s fault, it’s the naysayers. Don’t listen to them.
Tuesday I was at Finnigan’s Wake. Wednesday I was at Zesto Burgers. Yesterday, I visited Coffee Park (Arts), Zesto Burgers (no, it’s not downtown but it’s independently owned in town). Today, I went to Footnote Coffee at Foothills, West End Coffeehouse, and Mr. Barbecue. What businesses did you support this week? The ones you did visit, they appreciate it and I appreciate it because when you support them, they’re there when I want/need to go there.
I know all of that is food/beverage related and The BCPF and I going to Xcaret tonight with friends downtown, but it’s not all about food places. Retail, services and other industry downtown need your support. They support each other but they need you.
The camaraderie between the “allies” and businesses downtown has made me smile and it’s uplifting in a somewhat troubling time.
If you’ve not been downtown WSNC (or close proximity to it) lately, take a bit of time to go explore. You may find that it’s not as difficult to traverse as you’ve thought/been told. Andy, you may find some really cool things you didn’t know was there. Tomorrow is Saturday, take a drive, shop, support, enjoy!
Second time this week that my soapbox has been out from under the bed. I apologize, or really sorry (not sorry). And, I know, too, that it was not quick. Sorry (not sorry) for that, too!
Until tomorrow, where I’ll hopefully see you out and about…
“There is not a one-size-fits-all solution.” – Jim Moody
Well, the first step of getting 3B on the track to compliance with his speeding ticket has been accomplished. That first step is getting him registered for the “Alive at 25” course at FTCC. But, getting that done took a lot more steps than is really needed.
Since he is only 16, we had to turn in a minor release form. Okay, I say, I’m his parent so I should just have to give permission. Nope. I had to have him fill out the release with his signature. I then had to sign it in front of a Notary Public to verify my signature. Okay, good enough, right? Wrong! I then had to go to his high school and have them sign off on this course. I was perturbed at that as I don’t feel it’s the school’s business what he is doing, as far as driving goes, away from school. If he had been arrested, yeah, okay, but he wasn’t. Whatevs. I got it done.
I have to say, really the hardest part was getting my signature notarized. I, myself, am a Notary Public and I’m used to witnessing a lot of things, but the only signature I can’t notarize is my own, so I had to find an NP.
3B and I met at Zesto Burgers & Ice Cream to have lunch and give him time to fill his out. On the hill across from Zesto is a BB&T. They’re good friends with Algenon from Zesto and he said they’d take care of me. I walked in and they were super nice, but I was told the policy is that they can only notarize things for BB&T customers. Well, that’s inconvenient, but I get it and all this needs to be a little inconvenient for everyone. Figuring I had to go to the bank that I am a client, I asked the BB&T manager about the closest Suntrust. He suggested the Ogburn Station branch. I haven’t been on that side of town in a while, so okay.
As I was headed for Suntrust, I got to thinking… hey. When you’re a Notary Public, you’re an appointed agent of the state in which you are a resident, not an agent for any institution. And, in that, as long as there is no legal warrants or precedence to dissuade you from witnessing a signature, you do it, regardless of who they may or may not do business with. As far as I know, me not being a client doesn’t constitute a disqualification from “witness.”
Oh well. The awesome lady at Suntrust agreed with me and she didn’t charge me for the service, which could have been “professional courtesy” since I, too, am a Notary Public. Or, she just may not charge for her services. I usually don’t. I mean, I can only charge a minimal nominal fee anyway. More hassle than helpful at that point. Thanks to K Love regardless of the reason.
And, I got him signed up for the class which happens on Saturday. And it’s probably much earlier than he wants it to be for a Saturday. Here’s hoping the inconvenience is a good deterrent for future incidents he may have like this. Inconvenience on his part and on ours. It may not matter, but here’s hoping.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Car chases usually don’t involve major criminals – they’re usually guys afraid of getting another traffic ticket.” – Dennis Farina
As much as I love this city of mine, the grand ol’ WSNC, I worry that I’m starting to become a curmudgeon like my bestest buddy, Eugene. Why you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.
I understand that we’ve known the Business 40 shutdown has been coming for the last decade (or so it seems). And, frankly, I’m not complaining that that road is out of commission for the next 20 months or so. I’m okay with that. What I am not okay with is the Camel Citizens that have seemingly lost their collective driving minds since it happened.
It doesn’t help that the city has done little-to-nothing to help the traffic with the endless mess of construction, either on the streets or on things around streets that will close without warning to make the whole “plan your alternate routes now” we were spewed from City Planning/DOT. It doesn’t matter how we plan our route, we won’t know until we’re driving on them, which roads may be closed for any myriad of reasons.
I have tried and tried to take up for the City for all of this for years, but it’s getting harder and harder. Now, as annoyed as I am, I can still traverse the roads when something is askew. Most other drivers – not all, but most – have, again, lost their danged minds.
Then when they work on roads, they will leave gaping holes in the pavement for long periods of time. We know when the weather is wintery and crappy it does extra damage to the roads. But, yet, they’ll put in some plumbing or something to a business and then leave it with just the crusher run rock in the hole and that stuff isn’t meant to withstand long periods of exposure. It creates mini craters in the road.
Or, they will dig something up and patch the road where they were working with asphalt, but don’t fix a hole that has been in the road for a year or more when it’s less than 10 feet from the spot they were working on. I understand the politics and ways and means and cost and all that, but it wouldn’t take three shovels full of the black stuff to fill that hole, too.
The worst is when they will mill a street, repave the street where it is pristine and beautiful and then dig up the new asphalt to fix some mysterious problem under the road and then patch the hole with inferior blacktop and it sinks and the new pristine pavement is just as crappy as older in-need streets around town. I don’t understand why they couldn’t fix the problem before they paved the street. Surely, all new problems can’t arise only where there’s new pavement?
And, another thing, and this is something that I know Eugene has been complaining about as long as I’ve known him. The danged traffic lights. Not the outlying/suburban lights so much but the ones downtown.
I know with the technology available today, there must be a way to put the lights in this town on a better timer system that we are with now. During the day, I get having the lights last longer. But, after 6pm when everyone has “packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes, (like) contestants in a suicidal race” (thanks Sting) and gone home, why must we sit at a light for 2 minutes when there is absolutely nothing coming from the other direction? Or, be green until someone gets close to it? It’s like there is some sensor just waiting to stop you. I mean, it’s green. Green. Green. Green. Green. I get close. It turns red. So, I stop. And nothing is coming from the other direction. What the heck is that all about? Why did I have to stop? It makes no sense.
So, yeah, I guess I am becoming Eugene. But, really, the city is doing itself a disservice and it wouldn’t take much to fix the problem. Also, can we have a better warning system, be it online, social media or whatever to let you know what random street is going to be closed at any given time? I’m not talking about Waze or whatever, I am talking about someone to actually alert citizens to their screwups. Get it right, WSNC. Get it right.
Okay, soap box back under the bed.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Everybody likes driving through scenic, winding roads. It’s hard to find people who like sitting in traffic in cities.” – Karl Iagnemma
A Daisy a Day Florists, a/perture Cinema, Airtype, Alkali Hair Studio, Alma Mexicana, BeYou360, Black Mountain Chocolate, Bookmarks, Broad Branch Distillery, Brookstown Inn, Burke Street Pizza, Cafe Arthurs, Camel City BBQ Factory, Camel Pawn Shop, Camino Bakery, Campus Gas, Cin Cin's, Coffee Park, Computer and Technology Services (CATS), Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse, Crafted; The Art of the Taco, Dogwood Hops & Crops and The Trophy Room, Dr. Renea's, Earl's WS, Ed Dean with Cruise Planners, Fair Witness, Fearless WS, Fiddlin' Fish, Footnote, Fortified Futures, Hair Bomb, Happie Food, Hutch & Harris, Image360, Ink It Promotional Products, Jeffrey Adams, Krankies, May Way Dumplings, Monstercade, Mozelle's Southern Bistro, Mr. Barbecue, Old Winston Social Club, Penny Path Cafe, Reboot, Rec Billiards, River's Edge, Ronnie's Country Store, Sally Gupton Photography, Seamless Living, Sipping NC: The Art of Drinking, SixFour Web Design, Solutions Afoot, Southside Beer Garden, Stallone Frazier Photography, Stell Brew, SunnySide Mercantile, Sunshine Beverage, Sweet Aromaz, Sweet Potatoes, The B-String, The Breathing Room, The Flour Box, The Less Desirables, The Man Who Ate the Town, The Olio, The Porch, The Quiet Pint, The Ramkat, The Tavern at Old Salem, The Tin Can, TimmyVO, Train to Relex Yoga, Triad Speech Consultants, Twin City Hive, Uncle Buzzy's, Vibes Up Winston-Salem, West End Cafe, West End Coffee House, Wise Man Brewing, WSNC
You know, Dear Reader, I have clout. That’s a funny word, “clout.” Not Klout, the social media analytics tool that measures your social media importance. I mean real clout. According to one dictionary’s definition, clout is “influence or power, especially in politics or business.”
Now, I’m not bragging on that, that’s a heavy cross to bear, but I know people, people know me. I speak about things, I write a somewhat influential food blog/podcast. People tell me things so I can tell others. That has been built up from The Less Desirables to my time producing/co-hosting Sipping NC, my writings, and so on.
My point, again, is not to brag. My point is people entrust me with information with the intention of spreading it around. With this, I will admit that I get a lot of concessions. I get some “freebies.” I get invited to things because of this “clout.”
Many of the things that I “push” are things that are provided by sponsors of one of my podcasts. I understand that. You understand that. I make no bones about the “official sponsors” that I promote or advertise. Those things are posted about are things that are bartered, traded, gifted or whatever. But, they get that all the time and I will absolutely continue to do that, in abundance.
But, there are a lot of companies out there that are worthy of talking about, even beyond my sponsors or trade partners. These local businesses need to be noticed, need your support and need to be on your “must stop” list.
A Daisy a Day Florists, Airtype, Alma Mexicana, Bookmarks, Brookstown Inn, Camel City BBQ Factory, Mr. Barbecue, Sally Gupton Photography, West End Coffee House, Camino Bakery, Jeffrey Adams, Hutch & Harris, Fearless WS, Footnote, Camel Pawn Shop, Alkali Hair Studio, West End Cafe, Computer and Technology Services (CATS), Fortified Futures, Vibes Up Winston-Salem, River’s Edge, Seamless Living, Dr. Renea’s, Happie Food, Image360, Ink It Promotional Products, Train to Relex Yoga, The Breathing Room, The Porch, The Olio, The Tin Can, BeYou360, TimmyVO, Ed Dean with Cruise Planners, Solutions Afoot, SixFour Web Design, Stallone Frazier Photography, SunnySide Mercantile, Twin City Hive, Black Mountain Chocolate, Sunshine Beverage, Broad Branch Distillery, The Ramkat, Earl’s WS, Wise Man Brewing, Fiddlin’ Fish, Triad Speech Consultants, Crafted The Art of the Taco, Reboot, Dogwood Hops & Crops and The Trophy Room, Sweet Aromaz, The Flour Box, The Tavern at Old Salem, Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse, Krankies, Fair Witness, a/perture cinema, Sweet Potatoes, Rec Billiards, Mozelle’s Southern Bistro, Campus Gas, ANY of the artists’ shops or galleries on Trade Street, Ronnie’s Country Store, Monstercade, Southside Beer Garden, Old Winston Social Club, Burke Street Pizza, Uncle Buzzy’s, Cin Cin’s, The Quiet Pint, May Way Dumplings, Penny Path Cafe, Cafe Arthurs, Stell Brew, The B-String, Hair Bomb, Coffee Park (all locations) and many, many more.
The point is, all of these businesses are locally owned (and/or operated) and deserve some love. Sure, I take pride in my sponsors and will do everything to promote them, not just because they’re my sponsors but because they have supported me. I’m not going to mention any of them in this post because, for this post, it’s completely unsolicited recommendations. Every one of these businesses is run by local folks who care about their customers and deserve your attention. Not one of these businesses asked me to say anything. I just think this is the weekend and Christmas is coming up. Gift certificates, stocking stuffers, trinkets, dinners, lunches, beers, spirits. Each one of them can help you fulfill your needs and you’ll help keep them in business. I don’t usually say please, but please show them some love and support. They deserve it.
Until tomorrow, when you may see me in a few of these businesses…
“What local businesses SHARE with corporations is a certain expectation of increased profits in the month of December, which many count on to carry them through bleak months like brutal January and devastating February.” – Dana Moody
AC/DC, Ace Frehley, Aerosmith, Alive!, Animalize, Anton Fig, Asylum, Bon Jovi, Bruce Fairbairn, Bruce Kulick, Carnival of Souls, Cinderella, Crazy Nights, Destroyer, Donnie Iris, Dressed to Kill, Gene Simmons, Hot in the Shade, Kevin Valentine, KISS, Lick It Up, Love Gun, Monster, Music, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, Psycho Circus, Rant, Rolling Stone, Sonic Boom, Tommy Thayer, Tupac
The month of September is a huge month for KISS fans, even if they don’t know it. Why you may ask? Because the month of September is the anniversary month for the releases of TEN KISS albums. I’ve talked about Alive!, Animalize, Asylum, Paul, Gene, Ace, Peter, Lick It Up and Crazy Nights. Here’s the last one for September. It’s one of great debate, I’m sure. I am conflicted with it myself. And, I’m doing it a day early because Saturdays are scheduled for something else.
Heavens Sake, the band that I was in and still the proudest of (we were greatly influenced by KISS), was still happening in 1998. It was in and out but it was happening. I had seen MTV’s “Unplugged” featuring KISS, along with a reunion of the original members while at drummer Bob’s apartment. We saw KISS actually reunited in makeup on the Grammys, introduced by Tupac. They had a reunion tour and we went. So, it was inevitable that there would be an album. This was the “reunion” album, Psycho Circus, in 1998 on September 22.
I say that in quotations because Peter really only played on Ace’s “Into the Void.” And, current KISS “Spaceman” Tommy Thayer played leads on all but four tunes. And, Bruce Kulick, former KISS member, played bass on the title track and “Dreamin'” and played the backward guitar track on “Within” and rhythm guitar on “Dreamin’,” as well. The drums, this time, weren’t played by Anton Fig in Peter’s stead, this time it was Kevin Valentine (who played on Revenge and Hot in the Shade, as well), known from Donnie Iris & the Cruisers and he was a touring drummer with Cinderella for a bit. Valentine also is an Emmy award-winning composer.
Whilst it was supposed to be a “return of KISS,” even in sound and feel it wasn’t old KISS. There were a lot of aspects of Carnival of Souls, the grunge-metal hybrid they were working on before getting the wise idea of “putting the band back together,” still on here. “Within” is the prime example of that, and in fact was demoed for that album. They had stuff that really sounded like most of the 80s-era stuff, especially Crazy Nights and Hot in the Shade. Again, this was a reunion album in concept only.
When you go out and play American football with all the rules, the same team, the same players, and call your team the New York Yankees, it’s still American football. You can call it a return to the “old KISS” but when the same two people are in charge of the songwriting and the same players are in the studio, it’s still the “new KISS.” Now, all that being said, I’m glad.
I loved the new KISS. I loved the old KISS. I still love KISS. As I said, up until Hot in the Shade, they couldn’t do any wrong, and, even with a few hiccups since that album, I still love them. It’s like that uncle that you know does dumb stuff but you still love him. The band evolved. They grew. They regressed. They moved forward. They moved backward. They adapted and that’s probably their biggest sin, here. I don’t think it would have been possible to return to Destroyer or Love Gun. I don’t think they forgot how to play and write like that, I just think it wasn’t them. If you listen to Sonic Boom or Monster (more on those next month), it’s not far from the same sound as this album.
I think they loved the idea of a KISS reunion but didn’t love being reunited. In a Rolling Stone interview in 2009, Paul said, “We tried to do a Kiss album, and it was an ill-fated attempt because there was no real band. For a band to make a great album, it has to share a common purpose…and we didn’t have it.” It was also revealed that Ace and Peter were trying to negotiate more money out of the “partnership.” You don’t negotiate money with Gene and Paul, not anymore. They feel they’ve survived without Ace and Peter, they kept the name going – regardless of the circumstances, and I think they knew that it was only a matter of time before it all came to an end.
In a very tongue-in-cheek attempt to return to some semblance of the old KISS sound, what do they do? They hire Bruce Fairbairn who was known for Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and New Jersey albums, Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation, Pump and Get a Grip, and AC/DC’s The Razor’s Edge. Now, all of those are fine and decent albums but do any of them scream what KISS would have sounded like as “old KISS?” All of those are the slickly-produced, sugary popped, the 80s/early 90s hair band mess. Which, I am quite fond of, actually. But, most folks aren’t when it comes to a KISS reunion.
People were disappointed. I wasn’t. Is it my favorite KISS album? Absolutely not. Is it top 10? Absolutely not. Is it top 20? Well, considering there are only 20 studio albums, it kind of has to be, right? It ranks higher than does either Sonic Boom, Monster, Hot in the Shade, Ace or Peter’s solos, and the gasper for this whole thing, Dressed to Kill. Yeah, I’ve really always been so-so about that one. Live with it. I do. This was the last good KISS record to me.
Contrary to what my blog always sounds like, I’m not anti-Ace or anti-Peter, I just don’t care. They squandered their chance and it’s okay that they milk what they can from what they had: sober, not sober, whining, moaning, happy, in, out… whatever. But, I’m really indifferent about their involvement in the band. I felt a little down when they didn’t all play together on stage for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but I’m kind of glad at the same time. Upon the announcement of the “End of the Road” tour that is coming to be the actual retirement tour (we’ll see), people are calling for Ace and Peter to be part of it. Nah. They don’t deserve it in my eyes. Plus, even on the reunion and “farewell” tours, Peter couldn’t keep up and Ace was Ace. Tommy does the same licks, doesn’t mess them up and still has feeling in his playing. Just let it go. If you’re the “F.You without Peter and Ace,” then go back and listen to the old stuff and relish what you had but shut the heck up. Stop living in the past. Paul and Gene aren’t going to change their minds and they don’t care if you don’t give them money. You’re just grandstanding at that point.
My favorite tunes on this album are the title track, “We Are One,” “Dreamin'” (which got Paul and Bruce sued for copyright infringement from Alice Cooper, he won, they settled out of court) and “Journey of 1,000 Years.” I could have done without “You Wanted the Best” because I’m not a fan of “cheerleading” songs and that’s all it was. “Into the Void” was okay. I do actually like “Within,” but then again, I liked COS, too. The rest are okay, too. I like it. Most don’t. I get it, but oh well.
Tomorrow will be 20 years since this came out. To me, it’s still the “new KISS album.” It’s hard to count Monster and ESPECIALLY Sonic Boom. I just listened to Psycho Circus again for good measure.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“I’ve been waiting here to be your guide. So come, reveal the secrets that you keep inside. Step up! No one leaves until the night is done. The amplifier starts to hum. The carnival has just begun. You’re in the psycho circus. And I say welcome to the show.” – “Psycho Circus” (Stanley/Cuomo)
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