A Case of Winter Snark: Five-Step Recovery Program

For two weeks I have battled a case of winter snark. Despite an appearance of happiness, peace and goodwill my inner voice continues to have more snark as the winter days linger on. Last night, the snark would not shut up. I was trying to fall asleep. It kept listing one complaint after another. Finally, I demanded silence.

While I am not anywhere close to being snark-free, I stopped living in denial last night. I admitted to having winter snark and signed myself up for a self-imposed, five-step recovery program.

1. Listen to my favorite music when and wherever possible. Blink 182, Foo Fighters, Korn, Rob Zombie and  Journey are among the artists who help take me to happier places.

2. Girlfriend time puts winter snark in its place: out in the cold where it belongs. Without fuel, the snark does not have energy to thrive.

3. Exercise is my number-one defense against any kind of snark: winter, cleaning, marital, parenting, alcohol shortage, etc. Fitness is a natural outlet for all negativity to escape. Too bad this doesn’t work while I’m driving. Sign language isn’t enough.

4. Writing is my second line of defense. Again, it is another method I use to relieve stress. Once I write it, it’s no longer a burden. I may still need to resolve a problem. But, I no longer feel it clouding my thoughts. Somehow, I achieve clarity on the direction I should take.

5. Attack action item list, which is always growing. After crossing items off, I felt accomplishment, not dread from excuses for not “doing.”

Related post …

Seven Silent Monsters

School Picture Day: Third Grade

Issa is three weeks into her third-grade year and today is — drum roll, please — picture day! Thanks to Facebook and my former third-grade classmate, Maribeth (third row on the right), I have my class composite from my 1979-1980 school year.

During my third-grade year, the following notable events took place. Isn’t Wikipedia great? Minus, the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, do you really think I remembered this stuff?

Again, thanks to Wikipedia, I now recall the year some of my favorite films and songs premiered. Favorite films included Rocky II, Apocalypse Now, Alien, The Muppet Movie, The Black Stallion and The Black Hole, Meatballs, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, 9 to 5, Stir Crazy, Airplane!, and The Blues Brothers.

My Top 12 playlist from these two years includes

  • Heart of Glass – Blondie
  • Call Me – Blondie
  • Hot Stuff – Donna Summer
  • Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) – Pink Floyd
  • It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me – Billy Joel
  • Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
  • Back in Black – AC/DC
  • Fame – Irene Cara
  • Xanadu – Olivia Newton-John
  • Brass in Pocket – Pretenders
  • Heartbreaker – Pat Benatar
  • Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — Come Together

Hot summer fun limited me to a mere post this week. My apologies. In honor of members from my big, beautiful family gathering —  at a beautiful lake in the middle of Michigan — to eat, drink, and party.

He shoot Coca Cola
He say I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is
You got to be free
Come together, right now
Over me

Paul McCartney and John Lennon

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday

Time is never time at all
You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth
And our lives are forever changed
We will never be the same
The more you change the less you feel
Believe, believe in me, believe
That life can change, that you’re not stuck in vain
We’re not the same, we’re different tonight
Tonight, so bright
Tonight

Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins

One selection from many I love from Smashing Pumpkins. It is among those on my MP3, which is always with me on runs and walks.

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday

Purple Haze was in my brain,
lately things don’t seem the same,
actin’ funny but I don’t know why
‘scuse me while I kiss the sky.

— Jimi Hendrix

I don’t know about you. But, for me, summer just wouldn’t sound the same without listening to legendary guitar riffs from Jimi Hendrix. His lyrics and melodies always make it easier to wait for some delicious ribs to smoke up all hot and tasty on the grill.

Enjoy your time soaking up the sunshine with family and friends as the U.S.A approaches its celebration of independence on July 4. Temps. north of the “D” are approaching 100 this weekend, which calls for plenty of Hendrix tunes, ice-cold Bell’s Oberon and something cool to splash in.

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — School’s Out

My timing is way off. Plus, I owe you an apology for not writing my Bonus Post in honor of Lyric Status Friday last week. But, the lyrics playing in my head tonight are synonymous with all the young minds that are now free from the confines of school for a couple months. I can identify no matter how old I am and how distant those days seem to be.

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks

Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes

School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces

Alice Cooper

BTW, you really should see Rock of Ages this weekend. If you came of age in the ’80s or were paying attention to what a tremendous decade it was, treat yourself to some fun with Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand.

Previous bonus posts from Lyric Status Friday …

Be Good to Yourself — Journey

It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me — Billy Joel

We Are Young — Fun

Beautiful Day — U2

Outshined — Soundgarden

Crazy Train — Ozzy Osbourne 

Times Like These — Foo Fighters

See It: Rock of Ages

Loved this movie. Stand-out performances, soundtrack, and comedy make it work. Photo/poster credit: IMDb

Last night one of my girlfriends and I escaped our families for a spell. After enjoying a peaceful dinner without interruptions or requests for more drinks or food, we went to see Rock of Ages in the IMAX at our local AMC 30 Theatres.

Peer and press reviews told us to beware: it’s a mega cheese fest. So, along with the four others in the audience, we sat back and were transported back in time to the ’80s — the decade of big hair, manufactured “boy” bands, and heavy metal vs. rigid church folk.

While the film was a mega cheese fest, it was a hilarious look at what made the ’80s so decadent. Also, the soundtrack includes hits from bands (Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Def Leppard, Poison, Guns ‘N Roses, Motley Crue, Journey, etc.) that carried the look, sound and antics all have come to associate with that era. Finally, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand and Paul Giamatti gave stand-out performances. Without giving too much away the duet Baldwin and Brand perform was dead-on, hilarious; and one of many scenes some reviewers just didn’t “get”. Audience members with minimal expectations, a desire to be entertained, and a history with the ’80s should come away from this film with a hankering to see it a second time (like me).

My commentary and links to other Rock of Ages reviews …

Steve Ouellette’s movie review for the Press-Republican, calls the original tracks from many of the musicians covered (Def Leppard, Poison, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, etc.) to be pretty terrible. All I can say is that I was singing right along with the movie. Perhaps my ability to be objective is tainted from being a proud and long-time fan of all the said talents. Further, Ouellette suggests renting the movie, Rock Star, as an alternative. Quite frankly, the only element of Rock Star I liked was Brian Vander Ark’s turn as Ricki Bell. Vander Ark was lead vocals and principal songwriter for The Verve Pipe during the years I spent at Western Michigan University. My Western Herald peers and I attended many of their concerts; and some are fortunate to continue following this band as it continues to evolve.

Amy Biancolli, SF Gate (Home of San Francisco Chronicle) and Lisa Giles-Keddie (europe.real.com), came away with the same feelings I did.  I thoroughly Cruise’s Stacie Jaxx. Say what you may. But, Cruise is a talent at playing characters with over-the-top, egotistical personas. His Jaxx kept reminding me of his Lestat in Interview with a Vampire. Also, I identified with these reviewers’ appreciation for what the movie was … a parody of “bygone era.” I sang along to all the hits covered in the movie and got a belly-ache laughing through the duet Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand perform.

Related articles

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — Be Good to Yourself

When you can’t give no more
They want it all but you gotta say no
I’m turnin’ off the noise that makes me crazy
Lookin’ back with no regrets
To forgive is to forget
I want a little piece of mind to turn to

Be good to yourself when, nobody else will
Oh be good to yourself
You’re walkin’ a high wire, caught in a cross fire
Oh be good to yourself

Be good to yourself when, nobody else will

— By Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain, Neal Shon, Journey

What can I say? My Journey Greatest Hits CD is always at the ready whenever I drive anywhere. All of their songs put me in a better place when I listen. Be Good to Yourself felt like a great selection for today’s post because of the countless young people celebrating various milestones in their academic journeys; and because of the countdown to summer vacation with my two cutie-pies.

Previous Bonus Posts …

It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me  (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

We Are Young (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me

What’s the matter with the car I’m driving?
“Can’t you tell that it’s out of style?”
Should I get a set of while wall tires?
“Are you gonna cruise the miracle mile?
Nowadays you can’t be too sentimental
Your best bet’s a true baby blue Continental.”
Hot funk, cool punk, even if it’s old junk
It’s still rock and roll to me

Billy Joel

Call Me (Blondie song)
Call Me (Blondie song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This and Blondie’s Call Me were two of the first 45 rpm records I owned. That was the summer after finishing third grade. A girlfriend hosted a sleepover birthday party at her home; and all guests were requested to bring a few 45s so that we could pretend to be contestants on Dance Fever.

Image Credit: Retroland, retroland.com

Remember that show? My sister and I were so enamored with that show. We weren’t groupies. But, we held dance contests on nights when our parents hosted late-night bridge or poker parties. We designed costumes, choreographed dances, boogied and scored performances.

Related previous posts …

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — We Are Young

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — We Are Young

I love this Friday tradition my cousin, Joe encouraged me to start a few weeks ago. There is nothing like waking up and realizing it’s Friday. I don’t know about you. But, even though I am 40 and have two school-aged children, Friday mornings still make me smile because it’s almost time for some weekend fun.

Tonight

We are young

So let’s set the world on fire

We can burn brighter

Than the sun

— Nathaniel Joseph Ruess,  Andrew Dost, Jack Michael Antonoff, and Jeffrey Bhasker

These lyrics move me because in 17 days it will be time to say good-bye to another school-year. Each day, my children amaze me with what they are able to learn and accomplish. I know they have a very bright future ahead of them. Also, a number of my neighbors have students graduating elementary, junior high, and high school. All these young people are simply amazing. I can’t wait to see what they contribute to the world.

Previous related posts from kateschannel.wordpress.com

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — Beautiful Day

College Life Replays: Print Journalism Lesson #2 — A Riot Mixing Grain with Grapes