Thursday, September 27, 2007

CCR- Credence Clearwater Revisited- Awesome show last night

FINALLY!!! Working in radio for many years, I've been able to see many concerts and meet some cool people and of course have some of those "what happened on the bus, stays on the bus" moments with some of country music's finest. However, since radio I have not been to many shows. After last night, I realize that live music is what I love. At any rate-- I have been wanting to see CCR for a long time. Forever, really. And the 'new' CCR kicks major ass.

I will add a mini-review to this post later today, but wanted to get these pics up. The only thing that kind of sucked was that I have this massive cold and my throat is super sore, so I could not scream or sing along (off key, of course) and that was a bummer.

By the way, I look like total crap in this picture (I REMOVED THE DANG PICTURE)- I was giving directions to the tour manager, Wayne while I was posing for the picture and I think he snapped it while I was saying something- but what are ya gonna do? I'll blame it on my cold.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Andee of Wilkes Beacon Writes About Blogging, Interviews Yours Truly

I love Andee Scarantino. Watch out media- she graduates soon. Actually, watch out WORLD!

At any rate, the editor-in-chief of my favorite college newspaper, the Wilkes University Beacon wrote about blogging this week. Check out the story. She interviewed me for it, so you get to see my thoughts and reasons for writing things like, this post for instance!

Good Samaritans... They Still Exist

I know that I am a good Samaritan, as much as I can be and when I have time. I felt terrible the other day when I drove past one of those boot drives and had no cash- which is usually the case with me since they invented the VISA check card.

At any rate, this blog comes a little late. Things have been busy. But, I have to write a little about my Thursday morning. On my way home Wednesday, I was not paying too much attention to the gas gauge. It beeps an warns be when there is 32 miles left to drive. I was already passed the last gas station when the beep went off and the orange light came on. I was too tired from the gym to turn around. I could make it to the station in the morning.

I had two choices when the morning came. To drive two miles to the Red Rock gas station which is out of the way and is probably the only gas station in the county that does not have pay at the pump. So, I opted to drive the seven to the Pump-n-Pantry.

When I was about a mile from my destination, the car died. And there is barely a shoulder. So, I parked in a ditch and called Dave, who really could do nothing for me since we freakin' live in the middle of nowhere and he was already at work. So, I started to walk. There is really no shoulder like I said, so I was walking in the dew-filled grass- I was soaked up to the knee cap. Cars were whizzing by and no one was stopping. I took of my sweatshirt and right after I did that, someone stopped. I must have looked like a bum before.

"A little early to be pickin' up cans," he said.

I laughed and hopped in his van, not even second-guessing that I was getting in a stranger's van. It was a company van, Stone Stackers in Sweet Valley. I told him what happened. He drove me to his place of employment which was a stone's throw away and got a gas can from a shed. Then, he drove me back to my car.

He put some gas into my tank, but my Yukon would still not start- it was on an angle.So- this kind man pushed by behemoth truck onto the highway. Then, it started. I zooomed off before it could die again. He followed me to the PnP, where I filled my tank. After all that, I was only seven minutes late to work. I had left early because I knew I needed gas. (I was just a little wet from my ordeal when I go there...)

So- I am thankful that I live in an area where everyone seems to have a work truck and gas can. ; ) I have not run out of gas in years, but this reminds me how I can't let things like this slip. Although I could always argue that I was doing an experiment on samaritanship.

And, if anyone needs landscaping work, call Stone Stackers in Sweet Valley. They have nice guys working there.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I work for one of the fastest growing companies in America! Inc 500! Plus, CCR interview!

Woo hoo. I know I just started at Solid Cactus, so I am not a part of its success (yet) but I am damn proud to work there. We were just named to the Inc. 500 at #255 for "Fastest Growing Private Companies in America."

That's a HUGE accomplishment considering just how many private companies there really are in America. So kudos to our owners, officers and everyone who helped make this distinction!

The company had special Inc. 500 t-shirts made and we had a company photo and then a slew of us went out to Fuse to celebrate, all donning the t-shirts. It was a good time! Here is the whole company (I am on the bottom row, third from the left):

CCR- Credence Clearwater Revisited
For those of you who know me, you know that I love CCR. So, I was thrilled when I got an e-mail out of the blue from the band's publicist, Wendy asking me if I could do an interview with one of the members for their upcoming show at the Bloomsburg Fair. My editor okayed it and I spoke with the original drummer Cosmo (Doug Clifford). That was a big highlight for me. I've been fortunate to be able to interview lots of cool people, but this is the first person from my fave era of music and one of my life-long favorite bands that I have interviewed. Look for the story in this Weds.'s Weekender.

Doug was very open and extremely cool to talk to. I didn't want to bring up anything about Fogerty.... For those that don't know- this new CCR (with the R meaning revisited, not revival) is made up of two original CCR members and three new guys-- but all the same hits! They also have an album out: Recollection.

Credence Clearwater Revisited will be at the Bloomsburg Fair on Weds. Sept. 26. Check them out.

BONUS MATERIAL: A Funny Dream About CCR Music
In other CCR news-- and this is something that I did not Doug in my interview-- a few years ago I was overplaying my CCR Chronicle: 20 Greatest Hits CD and I guess it went into my dreams. I had this dream that there was a Flintstones Musical and Fred and the gang had headset microphones on and they were singing to the tune of "Up and Around the Bend" only it went like this:

The Flintstones Are Back Again/We're Coming Up and Around the Bed (yes, as in Bedrock!)

and then instead of "Doo Doo Doo, Doo Dooo Doo, Do, Do Do Doooo...." it was

YabbaDoo/YabbaDoo/Yabba Do Do

Yeah. I did that. In my head. In my sleep. Yeah. If you think I'm nuts when I am awake, you should see my dreams... Incase you forget how the song goes- here is a link to a video.

Monday, September 10, 2007

FINALLY! Graduation- 11 Years Later

I need not tell the whole story again- so here's the nutshell version. I graduated Wilkes University with my Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in sociology... 11 year after I graduated high school.

Dave, my mom and my grandmother attended. I didn't have the biggest crowd in the joint- but it was quite special. My mom bought a "Wilkes Mom" shirt and wore it to the graduation which was a cool surprise.

I was also glad that by the time I finally took the challenge exam for the lingering computer science class-- the ONLY thing that stood between me and the degree for a year- the summer graduation was about here. That meant a quick and painless ceremony!

I think a part of me didn't want the college experience to end, so I think that's why I put off taking that exam for so long. But if I did not put it off, I would not be with the creative writing group I am with in the MA in Creative Writing program-- so I believe things happen for a reason!

I am glad to still be a part of Wilkes in the MA program-- it's like I can never leave this great learning community!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Augusten Burroughs Rocks, and my Writing Retreat

I had an aweome Labor Day weekend! This post is a little late, I know. At any rate, I headed to Elwood City, a little north of Pittsburgh to hang out with some new friends I met at the MA in Creative Writing program at Wilkes. Michael and his wife, Mary Anne were wonderful hosts. Their house and property was just lovely and there was plenty of room for all of us!

Over the weekender, we all were able to read each other's works, do some creative writing stuff with prompts and were able to discuss our classes and ideas. We also watched a foreign film, Like Water for Chocolate and discussed it. What a beautiful film! The words were lovely!

The whole weekend was wondefully inspiring and it made me miss my other classmates who did not come out to Mike's-- we all posted on the message boards for our group and posted pics to show them what they missed! After I returned from the 8-day residency at Wilkes, I was so pumped. I have to admit that I have fallen behind on work and readings for the classes, so being around my classmates for the weekend has been renergizing! It was great to see Michael, Angie, Justice, Rocks and meet Rocks' finacee' Diana. In addition to writing, we also had loads of fun and ate well!!

AUDIO BOOKS- Augusten Burroughs Rocks

So since I was making the five-hour trip by myself, I decided to pick up some audio books- one for the way there and one for the way home. I only listened to one audio book in the past, so I was exicted. I ended up buying Running With Scissors, a memoir by Augusten Burroughs. I read his only novel, Sellevision and also have-- but never read- his second memoir, Possible Side Effects. I could have drove clear to Ohio because I was having so much fun listening to the book, which was read by Augusten. I HIGHLY reccommend the book or audio book to anyone looking for entertainment. It's the crazy, true story of Augusten's childhood-- about his parent's divorce and his spending lots of time with his mother's shrink and his family. The book was laugh-out-loud funny.

When I got home, I went to Augusten's website and found an announcement that he and his publisher had won a lawsuit against the family Burroughs wrote about- in the book he gave them a fake name, The Finches and also gave each family member a fake name. This kind of pissed me off that they sued-- I mean, in the grand scheme of things- who cares about the family. Who is gonna know? Except for the people who live in the same town, no one is ultimately going to care. How can anyone then- who had a remotely 'interesting' upbrining write a memoir without getting into trouble-- but that is a whole other blog topic!
Although Augusten did describe them as quite odd and perhaps slobs- the impression I got was that he was also fascinated by them, and developed great friendships with the daughters-- and while Augusten didn't come out and say it in the book, I got the impression that the family really did save his life. I did not get the impression that Augusten was mocking them in any way shape or form.

I did find an article on this suit-- and the only interview thus far with the real family at:

And then, for more info on Augusten-
The other audio book I got I am still listening to- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon. The book is from England and is read by a Brit- and is just incredible to listen to! This story is great and I can't wait to see how it ends. One thing we have been learning about in my fiction class is 'the unreliable narrator'- when a book is written in the first person- but there is something wrong with the narrator. This book is from the perspective of a 15-year-old with Aspeberger's Syndrome-- it is just so fascinating to hear a story from this boy. The story is a 'murder mystery' of Christopher trying to find out who murdered his neighbor's dog- but in during this investigation, he begins to discover things about his family. A good read so far! And I hear I have to get the physical book as it is illustrated with the pictures I am hearing the narrator describe.

I met Lauren Weisberger- Author of the Devil Wears Prada

Writing and publishing a novel seems a little more within reach after attending a night with Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada.

Nikki invited me to the event and I am so glad we went. Both aspiring novelists, it was so wonderful to hear Lauren speak. Lauren is only 30- and Prada was practically an accident. She told us how after her assistant job at Vogue, she worked at Departures, a travel magazine. There, she got a little too creative with her short travel pieces so her editor suggested that she enroll in a creative writing class after work. That's where she began to write about her experience at Vogue magazine. Her teacher was impressed and said she should find an agent.

That was very inspiring to me. The whole nigh just rocked- Lauren was so down to Earth and seemed very humble. She was pretty honest with the Q&A-- and like many writers I've read about recently- she really has no structure to her writing life. That is also inspiring to me as I don't do well with structure. She tries to write when she can and has no real set time or place to do so- although she says she can't deal with coffee shops. One thing I thought was cool was that she belongs to a writing room in NYC- but has yet to go. (Kind of like a gym membership!) But, she still pays on it each month to say that she writes at this room. She prefers her living room.
My one suggestion would have been to have someone younger, or at least hipper- interview Lauren in the conversation Q&A format of an event (which was better than a lecture...)-- Lauren would go off about something cool and the librarian who was interviewing her would just say, "Interesting." and move on to the next question. Nikki and I just looked at each other.... But, the event was sponsored by the Lackawanna County Library System so I guess it made some sense...
I actually have to admit that I did not read Prada yet (or see the movie)- I did read her second book, Everyone Worth Knowing which I adored. If you are in PR or want to be or used to be, you can appreciate this novel! I bought Prada that night and had Lauren autograph it to me at the signing. Nikki and I were a bit disappointed that she was not allowing photos-- but since there were hundreds of people in line I could understand. Thank goodness we were close to the front and didn't have to wait very long.
One tidit of info that I did not know until I read Lauren's bio was that she was born in Scranton and lived in Clarks Summit until she was 11 and then went to school in Allentown and did not leave NEPA until college- so that is also very inspiring-- people in NEPA or other small towns CAN hit it bit!