Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Record Review: Jóhann Jóhannsson

Sakes alive! Why oh why has it taken me so long to post new material for the pollution of the internet? Could it be because I have been battling a stubborn kidney stone (or possibly battling evil invaders for the good of our planet - you decide!), maybe trying to move into my own place one agonizing and slow step at a time, or possibly because I'm in love? Who's to say, right? RIGHT?

But it's the LAST DAY OF THE YEAR! So I thought the LEAST I could do is post a link to a review I wrote for the Metro Times a couple o' weeks ago. Timely! The new Jóhann Jóhannsson = Henry Ford is such a weirdo, now listen to some pretty music inspired by his weirdness. Here's a more intelligent (I like to think) review.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Music writing: New Grenada

The Metro Times has a feature this week I wrote about New Grenada. They're having their record release party this Friday at PJ's Lager House. I am very, very much looking forward to it. You should read the article, then write down in your little Franklin Day Planner all the show details that come at the end. Also, how cute are those kids and that dog? So cute is the answer. So cute.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Music writing: Amanda Palmer

Good Monday morning to those of you who managed to survive another Thanksgiving holiday season without either succumbing to alcohol poisoning, getting in the cross fire of a Toys R' Us shoot out, or dying a humiliating family-squabble-related death after a fight with your cousin in the front yard results in you slipping and knocking your skull against the deep fryer you cooked the turkey in. I am proud of you! Did you go to Kohl's at 4am on Friday? Do you realize that making a trip to Kohl's at 4am is tantamount to mental illness? I hope you found some great bargains on sweat pants and pajamas, because those will be comfortable to lounge around in when they lock you in your padded room.

My point is (clearly) that I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend. Because that celebratory mood doesn't just automatically lift come Monday morning, you're probably still itching to get a little more celebrating in. Well, I suggest you do so with melodrama and flare by going to see Amanda Palmer tomorrow night at the Magic Bag. Between the Lines was nice enough to let me do a little interview piece with her, and you can read that here. Her new album is really great and her stage show on this tour features a wildly energetic theater troupe or some such from Australia. So you KNOW they are awesome - because people from Australia are crazy. I will see you there...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A letter to the C.E.O. of CVS, Mr. Thomas Ryan

I just wrote and mailed the following letter. In the tradition of sharing that Thanksgiving is sometimes known for, I am posting it for your enrichment. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

November 26, 2008

Mr. Thomas Ryan, CEO
Corporate Headquarters
One CVS Drive
Woonsocket, RI 02895

Dear Mr. Ryan:

Hello. My name is Laura Witkowski and I am frequent CVS shopper. Although I cannot completely pinpoint why your store is far superior to Rite Aid or Walgreens, I always find myself regretting a trip to one of your competitors and wishing I would have just taken the extra minute or so to locate a CVS store. One time, I had a dog that was on a psychotropic medication, and the pharmacy at Rite Aid misread the dosage and refilled it with a much lower dose. I didn't realize this until the poor dog, over the next week or so, started to get gradually worse and revert back to his unstable ways. It took us several more weeks to get him back up to speed. Thanks a lot Rite Aid!

But psychotropic medication mishap memories are not the reason I am writing to you today. It is actually because of chocolate: CVS brand Milk Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels to be exact. I think it is important to say upfront that my purchase of said product was driven by a combination of having a bad day at work and noticing that CVS has the uncanny ability to play the absolute last song I would want to hear at that moment every time I am in the store. It's eerie really. So as I'm sure you can relate, I'm having a bad day, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" starts drifting out of the CVS sound system, and next thing I know I'm forgoing that planned Luna bar purchase for a bag of CVS brand Milk Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels and a copy of the latest issue of Psychology Today to see if I can get any insight as to what in the hell is wrong with me. We’ve all been there right?

Now, it might just be some sort of sign that I should not let emotional moments of weakness dictate my lunch choices, but when I got back to my desk and opened the chocolate pretzels I found them to be stale. Well, really more moldy than stale – because considering my current mental state, I probably would have just eaten them anyway should it be a mere issue of freshness. But, even though I don’t have any severe mold allergies that I know of, I do know that mold can kill you, or at least make you very sick. Plus, it really does take away from the overall taste of the snack product as the maker intended. So I decided not to eat them.

I will take them back to the store after work today – because as you yourself wrote on the back of the bag (I am assuming it is a direct quote due to its italicized nature and the fact that your actual signature is underneath the words) the product “carries the CVS money back guarantee.” But I thought you should know about this incident. I know that you can’t possibly keep track of every CVS brand product and personally control every factor that could negatively impact the performance or taste of said products – but the fact that you try is commendable. I think you make a similar promise (though without the phrase, “I know you’ll enjoy the great taste”) on the back of my CVS brand body wash. I picture you in a big office in Woonsocket, Rhode Island (the best city name ever perhaps!) personally testing and tasting each and every product and diligently taking notes and reporting back your experiences to those who are busily making these things. I also picture these product makers looking like Oompa Loompas, but that’s probably inaccurate. But then again, you are in a town called Woonsocket, so who knows what is possible!

In closing, despite my bad experience and your knack for having (by my standards) the most terrible in store music of any store I frequent, I will continue to be a loyal CVS customer. Partly this is out of convenience, but it is also out of loyalty. In these tough economic times, loyalty is pretty important, right? Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend.


Laura Witkowski

PS – Is it inappropriate for me to request an autograph? I would appreciate that.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let me clear my throat: An open letter to coughing opera patrons

Dear coughing opera patrons:

Good evening! How are you doing? Are you feeling better than you were the other evening when you were at the opera? You’re fine? Really? Hmm… I guess I was confused about your health due to all your incessant coughing during the duration of Madame Butterfly. I would love to believe that it was a total fluke – that, because everybody who likes opera knows each other and goes to the same fancy cocktail parties, that one person got a cold and (bam!) next thing you know the whole audience for Saturday night’s performance has a little tickle in their throat. But this is not limited to Saturday’s performance of Madame Butterfly. This happens every time I have ever been to the opera - there seems to be this rash of coughers and it doesn’t matter what the season. Why is that? I demand to know!

I hate to be blunt, but is it because you are old? Now, I know it might seem that I harp on old people a lot – but it’s not really like that! You see, I have been told on several occasions that I like things that old people like: mash potatoes, The Golden Girls, Burt Bacharach, opera, voting... See? I can relate to your elderly pleasures! But is it a matter of fact that once you get old, you just cough? A lot? In public at completely inappropriate times during gut wrenchingly, emotionally anguished arias? Is that why you are always trying to give me a Werther’s? Because you eat them all the time in order to keep your cough at bay? Because I like candy, but that is not, in my opinion, a treat. So no thank you.

If it is not age, then maybe it is because you are actually allergic to opera? That may be a hard allergy to prove, but there is federal money being spent as we speak to get to the bottom of far less pressing matters – stem cells and what not. Maybe there is some test that can be done to prove that when certain notes are hit, your coughing reflex is just activated and you cannot help it! Then people like me, who are apparently immune from this threat and/or simply able to keep from coughing for three, full, consecutive hours can enjoy the performance without having to wonder about these things as sad, sad Cio-Cio San waits for a very, very, very long time for a man who will never come back for her. Then in the final death scene, when robust non-coughers like me want to get lost in the moment and wrap themselves up in the emotional tragedy that is Cio-Cio San’s suicide, they would not have “I bet she just couldn’t take the coughing anymore” pop in their head and ruin the moment. Maybe Eli Lilly will soon come out with an anti-coughing pill or elixir for just this purpose. It could be called “opera-tussin.” I think I will write them next.

In the mean time, if you truly cannot, no matter what, keep from coughing for the whole duration of an opera performance, ask yourself, “Is this really for me? Am I really enjoying this?” Because, if you are coughing that much, I can only guess that the time you are not coughing is just time during which all you can think about is trying not to cough because you do not want to draw attention to yourself via all this hacking but you do not know how to make it stop! This is an example of a “cough-shame-spiral.” I do not want you to be in this spiral any more than I want to listen to your coughing. But I also cannot in good conscience tell you to stay home as live performances clearly count on attendance to survive! Oh, what a quandary! I do not know the answers. But I do know that it is not Werther’s. Switch to something stronger – but something that doesn’t come in a crinkly wrapper! Do not make me write another letter.

Thank you,

Monday, November 17, 2008

Looking for closure and resolution with some of my organs

Dear Appendix –

Hello. I know you’re probably surprised to hear from me. It’s been what, almost two years? Wow. So much has happened in that time, but I won’t get into all of that right now. I just want you to know that I wish we could've parted on better terms. When you so abruptly decided you wanted out, I admit I was totally caught off guard. I didn't even know you were unhappy with me, let alone about to burst. One minute we’re at a fancy party eating Brie and socializing, and the next thing I know I’m politely trying to excuse myself without drawing attention to what was going on between us. I harbored a lot of anger over your inability to express yourself, and the communication breakdown that I put squarely at your feet. But I also recognize now that I was taking you for granted. I never even took the time to actually learn about your basic functions. In fact, surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School just last year announced that they’re pretty sure your actual function has been found. But I guess it’s too late for that information to help us, huh? I’m sorry about that. I really am. Despite how painful (and ultimately expensive) the separation was, I want you to know that I've processed that pain and that I've reached a healing point. Sure, there are scars, but I'm in a good place now. I hope you are too appendix... I hope you are too...

Your former partner (host? I don’t really know… you were always so weird about labels),

Dear Kidneys –

Hey guys, what’s up? What’s going on back there? You’ve been awfully quiet over the past 6 months or so… I would love to believe that the reason is entirely benign. But as they used to tell us in Kidneys Anonymous, “Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.” So, have you really kicked the habit, or are you about to go off the wagon again with the whole stone thing soon? Man, I would love to believe you when you say, “Seriously Laura, we’re totally done with that shit, ok? We’re like clean and spiritual and stuff and into charkas or whatever-the-fuck.” I’m sorry, I’m sorry – I realize that my mocking your past forays into bullshit fads instead of maybe actually dealing with your stone addiction might come off as a little flippant and frankly, that’s not a good way to communicate. Let me strike that. Because really kidneys, the bottom line is we’re going to be stuck with each other from now until the grave. Unlike some other people’s kidneys, even if I get into a horrendous automobile crash and the only thing left for my mangled body is the hope of organ harvest, ain’t nobody gonna want you two broke-ass, degenerate kidneys. Ok? So you may as well resign yourselves to this fact and shape up your act. I want to trust you again kidneys – I want to believe that you won’t ever again leave me flat on my back, writhing in agony just so you can pass a little stone. I suggest we start going to KA again. It might really help us. Just think about it ok? Think about it.

Until the end,

Dear Liver –

I will get right to the point liver: I’m worried about you. I’m worried that, despite lack of malice or intent on my part, that I’ve done irreparable damage to you. You’re so strong and stoic – it’s hard for me to get a good read on your actual state. But with this letter, I’m breaking the silence and hoping to open up a dialogue between us. Now, I know many people might think my concern is just overly anxious – after all, I hardly drink very much. But cirrhosis via alcoholism is only one of the ways I could screw up your life (and ultimately mine).

I’m more concerned about all the ibuprofen. I mean, I eat it like candy and you never complain. Let’s face it – those kidneys have not helped the situation with their penchant for pain causing. But despite my inclination to do so, I know I can’t blame it squarely on those degenerates. Simply put, when my body hurts, I take some pain medicine. I want you to know that I do take the prescribed dosage, and I even looked on the internet to make sure I wasn’t killing you. Google Answers said, “There is an increased risk of gastrointestinal problems, but long-term use of ibuprofen does not seem to have any important effects on the liver...” Though I would love to have a deeper conversation with you over what counts as an “important effect,” I did take some comfort in this news and hope you do as well. Now, that hydrocodone stuff is another story, and although I know that long term use could mess you up, rest assured that I don’t take it nearly often enough to badly damage you. I am pretty sure of this.

Well, I hope this check-in will prove useful for us. I feel good about it. I want us to just touch base more, you know? Don’t be afraid to speak up and let me know what’s on your mind. Thanks for all your hard work excreting toxins from my body all these years. It makes me feel anxious and guilty that I am unsure if you’d be useful or wanted as a donated organ. But I will keep my fingers crossed that you would be eagerly harvested from my body should it ever come to that.


PS – Don’t you think it’s weird, considering your job that people like to eat the livers of other animals? I just don’t really get that, do you??

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Record Review: Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs

Before I totally forget, I thought I'd post a link to my Holly Golightly review from last week's Metro Times. For shame that it's taken me this long to post it - but considering the exceptional length of my last post, I am sure you have been too exhausted over the last few days to care what I have to say anyhow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We won't vote Conservative, because we never have... or: Everybody's (poll) workin' for the weekend

So Election Day has come and gone, can you believe it? Last Tuesday will forever be remembered as a historic day – one of hope and triumph for Democrats and an unmistakable sign of End Times for the Far-Right who will now start hoarding canned goods and building Muslim-proof fallout shelters in their back yards. So depending on which way you voted, you’re either just getting over your Obama related mother-of-a-celebration hangover, or your shoulders are really sore from shoveling (by the way, I am fairly certain most cities require a permit for larger-scale building projects, and a personal fall out shelter would count. If you are too mistrusting to even want your local government involved in your life, I hope you at least called MISS DIG first). Either way, thank you for voting, for without YOU, I would not have had a reason to work the polls this election and you would not be reading this firsthand account of my experience.

Tuesday morning I woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:30. I was told to report to my polling precinct at 6:00 so that everything could be set up and ready at 7:00 when the polls opened. I sleepily got ready and put on clothes with the “dress nice” decree from Election School in mind: black dress pants, a burgundy button-down shirt, and my black Doc Marten boots which might not count as “dress shoes,” but sore feet were not going to impede my ability to be involved in the political process. I had entertained the thought of walking since the polls are so close to where I live, but considering the fact I might be there for the rest of my life depending on how many people turned out, the environment would have to take a back seat to my need for a half hour more of precious, precious sleep. So like a real American, I hopped in my car and drove the few blocks to the polling place.

I got there at about 6:10 a.m. and was let into the building (a former elementary school now second-chance high school, I think) by the janitor. I will admit I was nervous. I had never done this before, and I sure didn’t feel adequately trained for the occasion. However, I comforted myself with the knowledge that I would be working with seasoned poll workers who would guide me along. I was new, sure, but willing and able to do my part for Democracy! To my superiors request of “jump” I would only answer “how high?” and before I knew it I would be part of a well-oiled voting machine!

When I walked into the gym, a petite older woman missing most of her bottom teeth greeted me. It seemed like she had just been running. She also had an entire donut hanging out of her mouth. She quickly took a bite of the donut and set the rest of it down on the table next to her without bothering with a napkin or plate. Her nametag indicated her name was Pam. After telling her who I was, she welcomed me, gave me my nametag and pointed to a larger woman with white hair and said she was who I needed to see about “what you’ll be doing today.”

This woman (Stephanie) was one of two chairs at my polling station. She seemed to be pretty perky for so early in the morning, but also a tad scattered. Each polling station had to have two chairs, one from each major party. The other chair, Vivian, was an older African-American woman who, incredibly, was the Republican. My first impression of her was that she was kind of crabby. The other volunteers that day were:

Sunny – a very small older woman who was wearing a black sweater with enough light colored animal hair on it to make it appear patterned. I was later informed that her shirt also appeared to be heavily Kool-Aid stained. When Vivian saw Sandy first thing in the morning, she greeted her with, “Sandy! No – we’ve got to get you out of that sweater – you’re covered in dog fur!” Sandy looked despondent yet never did remove the sweater, and was still wearing it fifteen hours later when we were done. During that entire stretch of time, I saw her get up only twice – and both times to make the short 3 yard walk to a trash can to throw away several feet long ribbons of “I Voted” sticker backing.

Rose– an even keeled 83-year-old who I ended up working with most of the day. She had a box of Kleenex with her, which she told me she brought because, “I never know when my sinuses are going to drain” and told me I was welcome to use her Kleenex whenever I wanted.

Mickey – an older man who liked to tell really bad jokes and who I witnessed saying to a voter who asked a question about straight ticket voting, “Don’t vote straight ticket! Your vote could flip! I saw it on the Internet!” He and I went in together for pizza later in the night. I paid for my portion with a roll of dimes.

Melody – a 30-year-old woman with coke-bottle glasses wearing a matching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ball cap and hooded sweatshirt. I am guessing that, to her, “dress nice” translated as “make sure your cartoon apparel is tastefully matching.” I found out later, she also had a TMNT vanity license plate. She told me that she was Stephanie’s daughter, and that she was volunteering “kind of last minute” because one of the ladies who was supposed to work Election Day had a “mental breakdown” and was in the hospital.

Tyrone and Emily – two high school students who were both exceptional and we were lucky to have them for the precious hours we did.

So about five minutes before 7 a.m. I asked Vivian about when I should actually vote – although I had asked the folks at City Hall about getting an absentee ballot, I was told that, since I was working in my own precinct, I could just vote in person. Although I tried to explain that, seeing as I would be busy working the polls it might be easier for me to just get it out of the way ahead of time, they didn’t seem to think that was a good enough reason. So Vivian looked at the clock and said, “Hurry up and vote before we let people in.” By this time, the line to get in was all the way down the hallway, and people were starting to get restless. I wasn’t crazy about this voting under pressure scenario, but what could I do? I grabbed my ballot and filled in the little bubbles as fast as I could.

I then put my ballot into the machine using the “secrecy sleeve” as instructed, but instead of accepting it and pulling it in ala a dollar bill into a vending machine, the machine beeped and rejected my ballot, giving me an error message of some kind. I motioned to Vivian and she came over to the machine. I explained what happened and she asked me, “Well, did you fill it out right?” Now, I don’t want to imply that I am a genius, but in our precinct we had over 1100 ballots cast. Of that number, only TWO people “spoiled” their ballot or “messed it up badly enough to need a new one” (this doesn’t count the one person who’s baby actually threw up in the voting booth and literally spoiled a ballot for what may very well be a historical first. I really hope I can find an Election Historian who can verify this for me). So even though I was rushed through the process, I was pretty sure that my ballot was fine. I finally just took it back to my assigned workstation with me and hid it under my chair, hoping I would find the time to look it over and recast it.

When the machine also rejected the first voter’s finished ballot, I felt vindicated. Of course that also meant that we were in a predicament considering the biggest piece of equipment in the place was not working. I had not been prepared in Election School for the possibility of a complete mutiny should our station, right at the start, have to shut down due to technical difficulties. Crisis was thankfully averted when Stephanie realized that the key used to start the machine had not been turned all the way. “Well, did you fill it out right?” Shut up, Vivian.

So here’s the basic set up in the assembly-line style voter procedures: Station #1 was where voters filled out their name and address on an “application to vote,” a little slip of paper about the size of a magazine subscription card. At Station #2 voters showed their ID and were looked up in the Precinct list to make sure they were actually listed. Station #3 had two people, one with an “A-L” list of Precinct voters, and one with an “M-Z” list. At this station, voters gave their application to vote, and that voter was then looked up in the book. The voter name was then highlighted, and a corresponding sticker next to their entry that also had their name on it, was taken out of the book and, along with the application to vote, was passed on to Station #4. At Station #4, the ballot number and voter number were assigned, recorded into a book next to the voter’s name sticker, and the ballot and voter number were written on their application to vote. This now completed application to vote was then passed along to Station #5 where the application was checked against the number on the ballot before the voter would be handed said ballot and told to choose any open voting booth. After the person voted, they took their ballot to Station #6 where the stub was removed, and they were instructed in the ways of feeding their ballot into the machine. After they managed to do this successfully, they stopped by Station #7 and exchanged their application to vote for an “I Voted” sticker. If this sounds unnecessarily complicated to you, then it is obvious that you hate Democracy and should move to Amsterdam where they love Socialist heathens like you.

So where was I in this line up? I spent the better part of 15 hours highlighting voter names and peeling stickers out of the “M-Z” book with Rose doing the same for “A-L.” Really, if somebody wanted to take a look at the above process and make some quick changes to streamline, I have no doubt that my sticker-peeling, highlighting ass would be the first one downsized. Nonetheless, I did my job as quickly and efficiently as I could and really had few issues.

Stephanie, the Democratic chair, was right next to me at Station #4, so should any questions arise, she could answer them. One such instance came up when a man pointed to his wife’s name in my book and said, “My wife passed away a little while ago. How do I get her name off the voter list?” I, of course, was not taught this in Election School, but seeing as I wanted to help offered that he could contact the City Clerk when he had a moment and they should be able to easily accommodate this request. Stephanie, overhearing this part of the conversation looks up and says, “He needs his wife taken off the list? Okay – just circle it in the book and write DIED.” Thankfully the pained expression on the man’s face was fleeting – as we were very busy – and he was shuffled along to the next station to get his ballot.

So it went the whole day long – look the name up, highlight it, take the sticker out of the book, pass it down… Most everybody was really nice and thanked us for our service. To this Stephanie would reply, “Oh, we’re getting paid for this!” which I found mortifying. Because, considering how hodge-podge our operation was, the types of hang ups, mistakes and lack of information was pretty forgivable should we just be a group of bumbling volunteers. But once it’s known we are receiving actual cash dollars to be that disorganized, that’s when people become judgmental and irritated. Also, after working a 15 hour day with barely a 15 minute break the whole time, I totally earned my $7.40 an hour, damn it.

After the last voter had finally left, my last task of the day was to go through all the write-in ballots and see if any of them were legitimate. Most people don’t realize this, but in order to be a valid write-in candidate, you have to actually file a Declaration of Intent with the appropriate officials before a certain deadline. This is, I guess, what keeps us from the possibility that election results could, for instance, force Detroit Piston Tayshaun Prince off the basketball court and into the Oakland County Commissioner’s office as one of my Precinct’s voters apparently wanted. The only valid write-ins were two people I had not heard of for President (and Ron Paul was NOT on the list as a valid write in, which I am sure will make the two people who voted for him in my Precinct riot or at least refuse to ever take their fucking Ron Paul signs down) and one person I had never heard of for the OCC Board of Trustees or some other such thing nobody cares about.

By the time I got home, I was completely exhausted. While the rest of the country was glued to the TV watching the results come in for this historic election, I was unconscious by 10:30pm. A friend I have not talked to in forever called me at 11:15 to share her excitement, and when, jerked out of a deep sleep, I incoherently answered the phone she said, “Whoo hoo! Obama did it! We finally have… hey wait, um, were you asleep?”

How old people do poll work is beyond me. I think it proves that elderly pollworkers indeed have secret powers, and that I must continue on down the pollworking path so that I can learn what they are. My experience has made clear that, despite their best intentions, Democracy must be pried from the exclusive hands of the elderly. Indeed, the civic duty wealth needs to be spread around regardless of what that dumb ass “Joe the Plumber” has to say about it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

But where the President is never black, female or gay… or: On the eve of my debut as a pollworker

For four years, I’ve been thinking about what I could do to “make a difference” on Election Day 2008. The day that George W. Bush was declared the winner of the 2004 election was a very sad day for me. I had just one month before moved across the country to the “red state” of North Carolina, hadn’t really had a chance to make any friends in my new home, and was still several months away from being let in on the fact that my marriage was failing. Sure Kerry had run a lackluster campaign, was from the liberal homosexual-marrying state of Massachusetts and (worst of all!) looked “French.” But considering all my other life circumstances, his loss still came as quite a blow. I vowed that in 2008, I’d find my political-volunteerism niche, roll up my sleeves, and work hard for democracy.

So as soon as Barack Obama was the official nominee, I contacted the local campaign HQ to let them know that I would love to volunteer – phone calls, canvassing neighborhoods, delivering home cooked “Oba-meals” to the elderly (this was my idea which I couldn’t wait to pitch to them) – whatever they needed! Apparently the Obama campaign needed no additional help, as nobody ever got back with me. I was a little disheartened by this, but then I got an e-mail from Pollworkers For Democracy asking me to consider being a pollworker. I was immediately struck by the notion. Working the polls would allow me to get an insiders view of the process, work hard for my community, AND learn skills that apparently only old people know. If patriotism means anything, it is having the courage to learn the secret abilities of ancient election workers before they perish. Because when they die, they’ll be taking their secret knowledge with them, and leaving as their legacy the nomination of Betty White as president for life forever, the end. Plus being a pollworker meant I could make jokes about working at a strip club (Ha! Get it? It’s funny!).

Unlike the Obama campaign, the City of Ferndale responded to my request, and ultimately hired me as an election worker. Now, I say hired, because being an election worker is a paid position. I was informed via a letter notifying me of my appointment that: “Compensation for Election workers is $7.40 per hour.” In other words, the outcome of every election rests on the shoulders of (mostly very old) people making less than a Shift Manager at Taco Bell. God Bless America.

In addition to my hours spent at the polls on Election Day, I was also informed that I would need to attend a four-hour training session dubbed “Election School” prior to the big day. The importance of said session was explained thusly: “Because the training class is very important for the success of this election, if you do not attend Election School, you will not be able to work.” The letter went on to say that I would be paid $5.00 for attendance at Election School. Considering all the sessions were scheduled for 9am to 12pm or 1pm to 4pm, those willing and able to work the polls had to either be unemployed or stupid enough to miss half a day of work to make five dollars. (I hope I’m not the only one who feels uneasy about this situation.)

After notifying my boss that I would need to take half a day off, I started to wonder what Election School would be like. The cynic in me expected it to take place in a cafeteria-like room, led by a frazzled, overworked city employee, and populated by a sea of sexa, septa, and octogenarians in holiday themed sweaters, orthopedic walk-for-life footwear and the strained facial expression of somebody who can only hear every third word or so clearly. Also knitting. Somebody would be knitting. But on the other hand, I was just being stereotypical, right?

The day of Election School I walked into a cafeteria-like room at the local community center and was greeted by a frazzled city worker who was trying to get photocopied Election Day information into the hands of about 18 people. By the most conservative of estimates, at least 11 of those people were sexa, septa, or octogenarians – three of which had on Halloween themed sweaters (one was a vest), most wore orthopedic walk-for-life footwear and all wore the strained facial expression of somebody who can only hear every third word or so clearly. And yes, a lady was knitting. I never knew my inner cynic could be so eerily, prophetically correct.

As a newbie, I grabbed a seat, dutifully opened my notebook and poised my pencil to start taking notes. After all, I had never done this before and there was a lot of information to parse in the course of four hours! I must keep up and learn the Election Day secret powers! Not only will I need to learn the whole darn process, but what about challengers, protesters, new voting equipment, ID requirements… so much to learn! But I was ready. As I waited for something of substance to be stated so I could write it down, I started to read over the “Opening and Closing the Polls” checklist we had been handed. Automarks… stubbs… tabulators… PCMCIA card slot seals… so much new and totally confusing terminology! What in the hell does this all mean? How do old people understand these words and I don’t?

Over the course of our four hour training, I never got much in the way of definitions or explanations for these odd sounding whosits and whatsits. The one thing I did learn was (and I quote) “The automark will take ballots of any orientation, but bottom end first is best because the bottom is smooth.” (Democracy is kinky!) By listening closely to the woman leading the training, and subsequently to the questions and concerns voiced by the seasoned veterans amongst my group, I did learn some very valuable tips and got to better understand the priorities of the average election worker. For instance, we were told to “dress nice” and that we were “not to wear sandals.” Should an illiterate person be bold enough to attempt voting, “illiteracy counts as a disability, so that person would be allowed to bring their own help as long as said helper isn’t their employer or labor union leader.” Challengers were allowed into the polling place, but with stipulations – they can only challenge with “good reason, not all willy-nilly.” On several occasions, complicated questions were answered with some version of, “I don’t think we need to get into that,” or “That’ll just confuse the voters.”

The training ended with our facilitator saying, “I’m sure it’s all clear as mud at this point” and then asking if we had any final questions. Yes, I thought, I have several, but let’s start with, “Can we have an Election School do over please?” I decided this question wouldn’t go over too well with a woman who had already jokingly asked one of the more vocal Election School participants if she could “go ahead and teach the next session so I can have a three martini lunch.” So I remained silent. Two other hands shot up though – the first question coming from somebody concerned about how busy we’d be and if we’d “be allowed to have snacks at the table.” Apparently her only concern about the expected record voter turn out related to how many granola bars she should pack. Yes, she was told, you can have snacks – just be discrete. The second question came from one of the appointed Chairs. Surely this would be a worthwhile question that would give me a bit of needed insight before I headed out the door. “Since we’re using the voter name stickers this year instead of writing them in the voter log, will we still be using highlighters?” I didn’t even bother to wait around for the answer – after all, I needed to run to the grocery store to stock up on granola bars so I would be ready for Democracy-In-Action. Look out Election Day – here I come!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Record Reviews: Of Montreal and Electric Six

Tomorrow is Halloween! Do you know what you are going to be? You have had all year to think about and plan it, so please do not tell me you are going to make a rush for one of those fly-by-night Halloween stores so you can grab a whore-in-a-bag costume. But even if that is your sad choice, I hope you are planning to do something fun seeing as Satan's birthday (unofficial) falls on a Friday night this year. I will be at The Crofoot for what is shaping up to be a music geek's Halloween fantasy show. You should highly consider it.

Speaking of costumes, those kids in Of Montreal sure like to wear 'em all the time. But when your music sounds like a psychedelic bag of candy mixed with a handful of prescription pills, you are allowed. Their last album, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? was brilliant. I don't usually get "stuck" on a record seeing as I'm always trying to hear everything that was released in any given week, plus all the other music from the beginning of history that I missed out on by not being born yet or by being a stupid baby at the time of its release (thanks OCD!). But if there was a Hissing Fauna support group, I would've joined. Suffice to say, I was VERY excited about Skeletal Lamping but also recognized that it could be downright dangerous should it actually manage to meet or indeed surpass Hissing in greatness. But although Skeletal Lamping is a really good album, it won't be putting me in the nut house anytime soon. Whew. Detour has my review.

Also in this week's Metro Times is my review of the new Electric Six album Flashy. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if you could get a glimpse into the future - nothing huge like when you'll die or when McDonald's will bring back the McRib, but just odd little slivers of future information that would be hard to put into context. For instance, if five years ago you told me someday I would be modestly compensated for a written piece in which I use the word "cock-rockable," I think I would've been alarmed. I'm just saying, you never know what the future is going to bring.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wonder Twins Review: New Kids on the Block @ The Palace, Saturday Oct. 25

It's the show we were born to review! Okay, that might be a stretch... But one thing is for sure - seeing Danny, Donnie, Joe, Jon and Jordan again was a strange and kind of cathartic experience. I remember during our formative years (the bad years of that period, as we fondly refer to them) camping out for tickets to a show that was to take place on our birthday only to end up with tickets behind the stage in a section that was totally empty besides our little group which consisted of the two of us, my mom and some equally obsessed friends. We were the NKOTB devout - whenever had we done to deserve such crappy tickets? Twenty years later here we are in a fancy executive suite right next to the stage... If only we were still as obsessed and filled with anticipation - no, I take that back. Thank god we are not those girls.

Tomorrow we'll be going to Jolie Holland at The Pike Room in Pontiac, which should be a great show... After that there is no telling when I'll get D'Anne out of her sweat pants and to another show... So you'll just have to hang tight - or hang tough (zing!).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wonder Twins Review: Mates of State, Javelins @ The Magic Stick Sunday Oct. 19

D'Anne and I went to another show recently, and now you can read all about it. I actually talked to somebody in real life who is outside of the realm of people I know, and she knew about and claimed to enjoy The Wonder Twins Reviews from The Metro Times "Music Blahg." That was pretty awesome. Anyway, here's our breakdown from the Mates of State/Javelins show if you haven't read it already. You may have already seen it, as I have been crazy busy in real life, getting ready to start a new job (awesome!), find a place to live and all that stressful, life changing stuff. But I'll try to pick up the pace soon enough people. Just bear with me. Notice I didn't ask you to "bare with me" as that would be an invitation to undress, and I just need you to know that such an invitation will not be forthcoming. Thank you for understanding.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Record Reviews: Jolie Holland and Ten Kens

For the last Obama/McCain debate, I bring you two reviews to read when the debate gets too terribly intense and you need a breather. But be sure you don't look away for too long - you will be sorry if you avert your attention at the very moment that John McCain loses his mind and does a mocking "Stepin Fetchit shuffle" instead of responding to a question about his economic policies and falls off the stage and breaks his hip.* Yes, you'll be able to see it on You Tube the next day set to the tune of "Chocolate Rain," but you will rob yourself of the opportunity to tell your children, "I saw that historical moment live on the television." So just keep that in mind.

Tiny Mix Tapes has my review of the new Jolie Holland. I like this review, because I managed to use both the phrase "Vagina Americans" and "Vagina Canadian." That has been a personal record review goal of mine for some time now. Ms. Holland is coming to Pontiac on Tuesday October 28th, by the way. She's playing the Pike Room, which means a super intimate setting in which to see her. I am excited. You should come out. This last sentence is a plea to both concert goers and closeted homosexuals.

Detour has my review of the debut by Ten Kens which led to me fulfilling yet another one of my record review goals: finding some way to mention Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in the context of an indie rock review. I feel that even though Ten Kens are Canadian (Penis Canadians, sorry) this should still count as successful inclusion.

So, so many shows this weekend and into next week. If you are still unsure as to if you want to go out tomorrow, let me assist you. Yes. You do. Also, more specifically, you want to go see Jennifer O'Connor and The New Year at The Pike Room in Pontiac. It should be a very, very good show... School of Seven Bells w/ Deastro on Friday, Deerhoof Saturday, Mates of State w/ Javelins Sunday, Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour Monday... that's just a small sampling. Wow. Go have some fun soon or it is your own fault.

*I will have you know that I wrote the above portion before I read the news that Nancy Reagan recently fell and fractured her pelvis. I wish Nancy Reagan a speedy recovery, and will even refrain from trying to figure out how to make a "just say no" joke. That is disrespectful. Grow up.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Record Reviews: Deerhoof, Lambchop, Stereolab

Oh, my it's been a little bit since I last posted. But I will not waste your time by pretending this has negatively impacted your life. Sure, I could make up some story about how busy and awesome my life is, or even tell you I was in a coma, but those things are only partly true - even the coma.

But alas, those reviews don't write themselves, so here I am. Though considering some of the garbage PR companies send along with promos, they COULD write themselves and be very terrible. Now, some of the PR companies out there I've interacted with are awesome (what up Four Paws Media??) and clearly deserve cash dollars in exchange for their services, some are questionable even on the basic level of literacy and should be ashamed to charge any band money for sending out the hyperbolic, typographical-error-filled bullshit they pass off as "PR." So there's that.

Thankfully, all three of these reviews feature bands who have good PR folk in their corner. Deerhoof seems pretty good at making PR easy though, what with their "here's some sheet music go play our song" stunt and the awesome "hey why don't you guys vote on the nonprofit you want us to donate dollars from our online sales to?" idea. I do so love this band and was highly anticipating Offend Maggie, creative PR or not. Detour has my review.

Lambchop and I go back a long, long way - basically thanks to my friend Meghan who turned me onto them back in high school with 1994's I Hope You're Sitting Down. This album was also apparently called Jack's Tulips, but I don't have that part in my happy memories bank. When she got married a handful of years ago, her and her husband chose the Lambchop track "Theöne" as "their song." I never knew a song could mention "Gomer Pyle" and still be so achingly romantic. But leave it to Lambchop. Anyway, my fondness for them has only grown over the years, and their newest album OH (Ohio) is really great. Tiny Mix Tapes has my review.

Finally, though I wrote it back in the "olden days" of August when it was originally released, The Metro Times ran my review of Stereolab's Chemical Chords this week to coincide with their Detroit area appearance last evening. I was unable to attend the show, but I hope it was as fun as their new album is.

Tomorrow I'm going to Northern Lights Lounge for the first time in a long time - I really like that venue. Even better that Prussia, Mick Bassett & The Marthas and Croff Family Band (that's what it's called, right?) are all playing. Since I am most likely going by my own self, if you're there say "hey" or buy me a Miller High Life or something. I was just informed yesterday that Miller High Life is "a total lesbian beer." I love this seeing as I do not like it, and most all the indie rocker boys I know drink it. They are drinking lesbian elixir. And I am not. No wonder they get more girls than me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Record Reviews: Brightblack Morning Light and Friendly Foes

Brightblack Morning Light... I have a hard time saying that name right - kind of like the tongue-twister "rubber baby buggy bumpers." Although I never had a problem with "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" I will admit to not really knowing the answer to this question, but if I had to venture a guess, I would say that only a little amount of wood would be chucked, because wood chucks are fairly small. Then again, Wikipedia tells me that they are about 4 and a half to 9 pounds, BUT that in areas with fewer natural predators and large quantities of alfalfa, woodchucks (which is just an alias for a groundhog - did you know?) can grow to 30 pounds. Nature is so wacky. Can you tell I did not get a lot of sleep last night? Maybe if I would've put on BML's Motion To Rejoin, I would not be saying this, as I would have quickly fallen into a psychedelic hazy dream state. Anyway, Detour has my review here.

And although you can certainly learn everything you ever needed to know about Friendly Foes here, Metro Times has my review of their debut Born Radical in this week's issue, which you can also read on the internets. I would be lying if I said anything less than I love this album. I also love candy. Since the Chinese have made me suspicious of candy for the time being, I am supplementing my candy intake with repeated listens of Born Radical. I think my dentist will be happy with this news.

I'm heading to the city of Pontiac tonight to see Born Ruffians, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Plants And Animals and Rahim (not to be confused with "Rakim" as in "Eric B. &..."). My date is a slender bearded drummer and he is picking me up at 8ish. Should the show start at 8pm as it says it will on the Crofoot webisite, we'll most likely miss most of the first band. For that reason, I hope it is not Plants And Animals, as I have heard lots of good stuff about them and didn't even realize they were on the bill until today. I obviously don't want it to be TAN! either, and Born Ruffians are headlining... So I guess that means I hope I miss Rahim - which sounds mean. But it is not meant to be. When push comes to shove, I always choose Canadians over New Yorkers. That's just the way I roll.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Record Reviews: Ohtis and Monkey

Tiny Mix Tapes recently posted two reviews of mine - the first one being the second release from the band Ohtis. Their new album is called If This Country Had A Heart That's Where I Was Born and it is just as catchy and clever as the title suggests. I was first introduced to Ohtis thanks to Prussia who brought them up to Detroit a couple of times - first for their CD release party and then for Summer Smash. Ohtis is actually responsible for my favorite Summer Smash memory: Early afternoon on Saturday while we were still getting things ready for the day, Ohtis and Prussia rolled in as they were playing earlier sets. They started unloading and I went about checking stuff and prepping before folks started arriving. A little while later I walked out into the backyard of The CAID to find Sam Swinson of Ohtis and their touring bass player (I sadly can't remember his name) inside an empty garbage can in their underwear holding a running garden hose. I am guessing the expression on my face said, "What in the world are you doing?" as they looked at me and said all innocently, "Is this OK?" Apparently they'd been on the road for awhile and were desperate for a shower. :) I thought the whole thing was hilarious, particularly when I went in and told the rest of the folks that Ohtis was taking a group shower in a trash can in the back yard - thanks to the security cameras, we were able to back up the footage and everybody saw for themselves that I wasn't making up stories (for once).

My other review is of the new Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett project Monkey. I used to love Damon Albarn, but that was back in the 90's when Blur vs. Oasis could be counted on as the cover story for every other issue of Q and NME. For me there was never a second thought - Blur hands down! I still love Parklife and think that The Great Escape, despite its many detractors and the blatant slagging of my husband Morrissey, is a fine record. But I never really got that into Gorillaz. That said, I was pretty geeked about the idea of Mr. Albarn working on a Chinese opera related project - which is what Journey To The West is. Alas, it didn't quite live up to my expectations, but if you are willing to take me to London to see an actual production of the show, I will gladly accompany you and give it a second chance.

Wonder Twins Review: Friendly Foes CD release @ The Berkley Front Friday Sept. 26

Friendly Foes managed to equal the fantastic-ness that is their new album Born Radical, with an equally fantastic CD release party. From what I could tell, fun was had by all and cupcakes were consumed. Mmmm... cupcakes. The Metro Times "Music Blahg" for some reason allows us to report in our own serious, hard hitting, non-partisan way about various Detroit music events, and so for your reading pleasure, here's our take on the evening. Do not forget to pay proper homage to D'Anne's Foes Blingee either - it's pretty sweet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Record Reviews: Mason Proper and Tindersticks

The other day on my way to work I was listening to the new Mason Proper record in preparation for my review, and I started to think about the whole Freemason thing - mostly about how little I understand about the organization as a whole, and about that Simpsons episode where Homer joins "the Stonecutters" and they sing that song about how their secret organization is behind everything, including Steve Guttenberg 's stardom. Before my mind was able to drift to Police Academy, I saw a billboard that featured a younger man and an older man with the phrase, "Michigan Masons: Share the Secret." What? This supposed secret society is actively recruiting through billboards? Are they hard up for members? Did that whole shooting the guy in the face thing really cause that much of a drop in those willing to be initiated and possibly also shot in the face? The Michigan Mason's even have a web site, which I am not going to link to here, for fear that I might suddenly disappear in the night. But suffice to say it seems all innocuous and normal. That makes it way creepier to me. But what I WILL link to, is my review of the new Mason Proper album found in this week's Metro Times.

Moving on, Tindersticks have long been one of my favorite bands, and their new album The Hungry Saw is finally out here in the states. So, so good. I reviewed it for Detour. I saw them at 7th House, a venue in Pontiac that the young people most likely don't recall, many years ago and it was one of the best live shows I've ever seen. Elliott Smith opened the show - his album Either/Or had just come out and not that many people knew who he was at that point. It was impossible to guess that a couple of years later he'd be on stage with Celine Dion and Trisha Yearwood looking uncomfortable and out of place during the Oscars. Looking back that was probably a sign of the impending apocalypse... I am fairly certain another such sign was when I caught a moment of Martha Stewart's show a couple of years ago and her guest was Maya Angelou. You know, now that I think about it, I bet the Freemasons know a thing or two about both of these incidents... Damn you, Freemasons!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Record Reviews: The Oscillating Fan Club and Calexico

This week's Metro Times, along with having yet another must read Jack Lessenberry piece about Sarah Palin, has my review of Feverish Dreams As Told By the Oscillating Fan Club. Speaking of feverish dreams, I had a dream last night that my sister and I worked at the Detroit Film Theater, when out of nowhere, BAM! this wrecking ball comes through the window sending debris and glass flying and people scrambling and running for cover. I ran outside to see a group of art students shouting at and trying to block the path of what appears to be a Segway scooter with a giant makeshift (yet clearly effective) wrecking ball componenet attached to it. The driver of this contraption is threatening to run the students over if they don't let him "finish his descruction." He is sporting a shiny blond mullet and black spandex shorts with yellow stripes down the sides. That is all I remember. I think this counts as a feverish dream because I woke up all sweaty and freaked out.

Still dreamy, but much less feverish, is the new Calexico. Detour has my review. They are coming back to the area - Thursday November 20th at the Crofoot to be exact. I missed them where they were here for Cityfest, so I'm glad they are coming back. Plus the sound in the Crofoot ballroom is great, and they're the type of band I'd rather see in a real venue than in a crowded outdoor festival setting where people are eating BBQ pig on a stick. But that's just me.

Oxford Collapse, Love As Laughter and New Grenada at the Pike Room tonight, DIY fest in Ferndale Saturday and Sunday, PLUS the make up date for the People's Art Festival at Russell Industrial Center on Sunday, not to mention you can get your freak on at Noir Leather's Silver Anniversary Bash at the Crofoot Saturday night... Kinks (like, the proclivities, not the band), crafts, and music filled weekend!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Record Reviews: Okkervil River and Damien Jurado

Detour has two more of my reviews up. Damien Jurado's excellent new one Caught In The Trees is a continuation of the sad bastard music he has so perfected. If you like to cry for fun (like I do), check it out. The new Okkervil River is great - a bit more subtle than last year's The Stage Names but equally strong. "On Tour With Zykos" is one of my favorite songs of the year. This song is also the reason I now know who Zykos is. And it turns out they are really good. In a similar vein, "Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed on the Roof of the Chelsea Hotel, 1979" wins the prize for best song ever about Jobriath. I honestly don't know if there are any other songs about him. I am surprised that Morrissey doesn't have one, seeing as he is the whole reason I've ever even heard of Jobriath.

As a matter of fact, I became a Morrissey fan the same way Morrissey became a fan of Jobriath. As a maladjusted, shy youngester with music as his only true friend, Morrissey was browsing at a record store when he saw an album cover that just struck him. He had never heard of the artist before but felt compelled to get it. It was Jobriath's self titled debut. Morrissey obviously became a big fan seeing he penned the gushing liner notes to the Jobriath retrospective that came out a few years ago. Similarly, when I was browsing at the record store while still in junior high I saw the cover to Kill Uncle and something about it just stuck with me. I had no idea who he was, but a few days later, this skater kid a few years ahead of me who wore a Misfits shirt at least twice a week passed me in the hall, and I saw that same mysterious man from the album cover gazing back from his T-shirt. So I went back and bought a Morrissey album. They didn't have the Kill Uncle one I had seen, but seeing as I was going in blind, I figured I'd just get what they had. I got Bona Drag. A week later I went back and bought The Smiths Meat Is Murder. Still today I love everything the man has done. This is why I think Morrissey and I are destined to be best friends. Right? Right.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wonder Twins Movie Review: Battle In Seattle

The Wonder Twins Review: Battle In Seattle

My sister D’Anne, also a freelancer, occasionally gets unsolicited review copies of movies in the mail for her consideration. Tonight, we watched the new Woody Harrelson/Charlize Theron movie Battle In Seattle, a film so important, DHL sent it next day delivery. How did we feel about our viewing experience? Well, in order to cleanse ourselves of the incident, we decided to debrief with our first Wonder Twins movie review....

D'Anne: Do you remember when the WTO protests happened in Seattle?
Laura: I do now.
D: Meaning you’d forgotten?
L: No, meaning I did not realize the bulk of the responsibility for the protests fell on the shoulders of Andre 3000.
D: Um...
L: This was a documentary, right?
D: No. A documentary might have actually been good.
L: Why did you make us watch this movie?
D: Because I got it for free in the mail. When I first heard about it I thought it was going to be a documentary. Then I learned that Charlize Theron was in it. And Woody Harrelson. And Norah Jones...
L: It wasn’t Norah Jones. It was Michelle Rodriguez.
D: Oh. Well, I thought I read that in the PR info. And then even after realizing it wasn’t her I couldn’t bring myself to believe it.
L: You were in Norah Jones denial. Regardless, any movie based on a recent political left-leaning event starring Charlize Theron and Woody Harrelson should raise immediate red flags.
D: Yes. As should any movie touting an “ensemble cast.”
L: Yes. Oh! Unless it is Steel Magnolias. Moving on, what did you learn about the World Trade Organization from this film?
D: That people in cardboard turtle hats don’t like it. That tear gas stings your eyes. And that the governor of Washington is Asian.
L: I learned that the protests leveled against the WTO showed, on a macro level, that there is a lot of homegrown grassroots opposition against it. I also learned that, on a micro level, these same homegrown people have such emotionally vapid, bullshit filled conversations that although the police clearly went overboard, I myself wanted to smack them. The feeling of wanting to smack some of those people welled up in me many times during the film.
D: Yes. The film inspired violence. In the audience. Against the movie. Especially when Andre 3000 tried to get the bus full of arrested protestors to join him in a rendition of “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” I’ve never before wanted to be arrested, but I wish I had been on that bus to kick him in the nuts.
L: If there’s any song that would incite people to violence, it would be that particular song.
D: Amen.
L: Let’s try to sum this movie up.
D: Okay. You first.
L: Charlize Theron was in Seattle during the World Trade Organization protests and the World Trade Organization, um, what would you call it? A meeting? A conference? A gathering? A powwow...
D: A powwow, yes...
L: All right. She was unaware of the powwow or the protests because she lives inside a mall where she sells expensive bags and expensive things to expensive people. She’s also, it turns out, five months pregnant, which means that she’s very excited about bringing a new life into this world because it will expand her worldview to include Baby Gap...
D: ...which provides her with an excuse to ditch work to shop with her co-worker friend.
L: Yes. That is probably as close as she has ever come to sticking it to the man.
D: True. The man, i.e. Woody Harrelson, stuck it to her. Seeing that she’s pregnant and all.
L: You are dirty. Maybe you should mention that bald Woody Harrelson is her husband in the movie.
D: You just did.
L: He knows about the scary world outside of the mall, because he is an officer of the law. I found it very creepy that he looked exactly the same as he did in Natural Born Killers and yet he was playing a cop.
D: Yes. A cop who hits hippie kids with nightsticks.
L: Anyway, the WTO police standoff got so heated that the people inside the mall were forced to stop shopping and were shoved out into the streets.
D: The part where they were forced to stop shopping was really intense. But since they had never been outside before, they had no idea where to go. And Charlize Theron got lost in the crowd of protesters.
L: In a horribly, unfortunate twist of fate (that nobody could’ve ever, ever predicted), pregnant Charlize Theron is hit with a nightstick in the belly. By a police officer.
D: Which sours her against her husband who is a police officer and all. So she goes and hides out at her mom’s.
L: And cries a lot.
D: Remember in Monster when she cried a lot and got all puffy in the face?
L: I didn’t see the movie so I don’t understand what that means.
D: You are dumb.
L: You are dumb. And I don’t think it is appropriate to be referring to a lesbian serial killer here. Charlize Theron is much more than that.
D: Anyway, what else happens in the Seattle movie? I can’t stomach much more of this.
L: Me either. There were bullhorns. There were arrests. There were a lot of hippies who looked like they smelled bad. There were poignant moments when the police officers looked into the faces of children and saw the future in their eyes before opening up a can of whoop ass on their parents with nightsticks and tear gas.
D: Stuart Townsend should be ashamed of this script. It’s sad that he made the people he’s trying to glorify with this movie look like such idiots.
L: I don’t really know about idiots so much as just self-righteous. It just gives peaceful protesters a bad name. People should rightfully be outraged about and reminded of what happened there, but this isn’t the vehicle that is going to cause that to happen.
D: No it isn’t. All this movie is going to outrage folks about is the $9 they forked over to see it. I recommend those who really want to see it wait until it’s on Lifetime.
L: Or when it is on DVD packaged as a “Charlize Theron: Based On A True Story” budget two-pack with Monster.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Record Reviews: Chad VanGaalen, The Shaky Hands, Kimya Dawson

Continuing down the path of music review madness, here's two more Detour reviews: Chad VanGaalen and The Shaky Hands. The Chad VanGaalen post also features a bonus video for the song "Molten Light." The song alone was bone chilling and now with added visuals, look out Creeps-ville! Mr. VanGaalen himself did all the animation and, creepiness aside, it is really stunning. The Shaky Hands album is pretty good stuff, though I do not have any animated videos to add. Maybe somebody should get on that and make them a cool video. Maybe Chad VanGaalen should do it.

Also, today marks my debut as a writer for Tiny Mix Tapes! I'm a big fan of the site, so it's really fun for me to be writing stuff for them now. You can read my review of the new Kimya Dawson album Alphabutt there. Alphabutt is a children's record, and although I questioned whether I was really the right person to be reviewing anything children related, I think it turned out okay. :) For the record, I don't hate kids or anything like that, but I do typically hate when children sing. Organized kids singing - like choirs and slickly produced children's music - not the type of unencumbered singing kids do to amuse themselves, that I usually find amusing and occasionally adorable. I once listened to a little girl sitting behind me on a plane ride sing the most impassioned, epic song to herself about static electricity. The words were, "Static electricity, static electricity, STA-tic elec-TRICITY, STAAAA-tic EEEEE-lec-TRICITYYYYYYY..." After a few minutes I turned around to take a peek at her and the look of pure intensity on her face was awesome. It was the kind of look that rock stars make to show they "really mean it," whereas kids make that face because they really do. It was also then clear to me why her song had gone on so very long: her father was totally head back, mouth open, drooling, oblivious to the world, asleep. That was years ago, and yet the static electricity song still occasionally pops in my head. It's funny to think I may very well remember that moment long past the point where the girl herself does. Oh, our funny little world...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Limerick Record Reviews Vol. 1

Oh, yes. I figured it was high time I created a new segment in which I take recent releases and relay my feelings about them in limerick form! Now, I am not a poet (this lady is for real), but I do write a mean limerick (it is not bragging when it is the truth). So I figured I would combine my obsession with music and my love of limerick writing, ala this new occasional installment. So please enjoy...

The Ugly Suit – The Ugly Suit (Quarterstick)

Yes, they’re called The Ugly Suit
But despite such a name, they’re quite cute
Like Wilco meets So-Cal
Though Oklahoma’s their locale
And the music’s pretty (not ugly) to boot!

Emiliana Torrini - Me And Armini (Rough Trade)

Oh yes, Emiliana’s a treat
Hip, with a downtempo beat
Like Bjork mixed with pesto
Add synths, stir, and presto!
Mood music to turn up the heat

Wovenhand – Ten Stones (Sounds Familyre)

On Ten Stones Wovenhand sheds light
On the darkness of humanity’s plight
His mercy-drenched redemption
Will grab your attention
And indie-Jesus will save you tonight

The Broken West – Now Or Heaven (Merge Records)

Their name is The Broken West
They play influences close to their chest
But when the cards are dealt
It confirms what I felt
They like Spoon and Cheap Trick the best

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Record Reviews: The New Year and Invincible

The New Year's third record is out today, and I am very excited about this. The album is creatively titled The New Year. Seeing as albums one and two were called Newness Ends and The End Is Near respectively, I was holding out for something more post-apocalyptic. Maybe Nothing Is New And You Are All Dead By Nuclear Warfare or something. Detour has my review, and seeing as the album is one I'm currently nuts about, I will this accept this self-titled nonsense.

The New Year will also be playing a show at The Pike Room in Pontiac with Jennifer O'Connor on Thursday October 16th. I am very excited about this show. I've been smitten with Ms. O'Connor since her 2006 Matador debut Over The Mountains, Across The Valley and Back To The Stars which was one of my top ten favorites of that year. Her new album Here With Me is one of my favorites so far this year... Between her and the brothers Kadane, it should be a fantastic show. Suffice to say, I would love to see you there!

Also for your reading pleasure: Between The Lines, Michigan's largest homosexual weekly, has my write up of local hip hop star-in-the-making Invincible's new album Shapeshifters. I hope to get a chance to check her out live sometime soon. She is currently gallivanting around Europe with Roxanne Shante from what I gather. This is good for Europe, bad for me. But I'm sure she'll be back soon.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wonder Twins Review: The Silent Years CD release @ The Magic Bag in Ferndale, Saturday Sept. 6

Once again in a short manner of time I have convinced D'Anne to accompany me to a show, and so once again we bring you a Wonder Twins review of that performance. If you were at The Silent Years CD release party, you already know it was a fantastic evening. But did you also know that D'Anne wants to have Deastro's babies? You do now, and more will be revealed to you by following the provided link to The Metro Times "Music Blahg."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Record Reviews: The Silent Years and The Music Tapes

Readith yee my review of the new kick ass record The Globe by The Silent Years for The Metro Times. Then get out your little planner and write (in pen) that you'll be going to their CD release party this Saturday evening at The Magic Bag in Ferndale. Deastro, Manna & Quail and These United States will also be there. The cost is $10 which includes a copy of the new CD. It is worth it, no? Of course, this Saturday is also Dally In The Alley, so you should basically spend the entire afternoon and early evening there, before heading to The Magic Bag, essentially stuffing your mind with awesome live Detroit music all the live long day.

Also up today on the Detour site is my review of the new Music Tapes album by former Neutral Milk Hotel member Julian Koster. It is called Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes. Many wonder if they have found the next In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. The answer can best be expressed in the following hypothetical conversation between you and me:

You: The new Music Tapes album has finally arrived! It is so amazing! It is the next In The Aeroplane Over The Sea!
Me: (slaps you in the face) Listen to me... listen. There will never be another In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Do you hear me? (slaps you again) Never. Just accept that!
You: But Julian Koster is a genius and used to be in Neutral Milk...
Me: (interrupts you by slapping you again) Yes, and his album is terrific - but you are living in a fantasy world. Stop trying to fool yourself! You are lucky you got ONE In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - you're just being musically greedy.
You: I guess you're right...
Me: (slaps you again) Oh, wait - did you say I'm right? I'm sorry about that last slap then.
You: That's okay I...
Me: (another slap) All right, my bad - now it's just kind of a reflex...

As an added bonus, Mr. Koster will be bringing his Music Tapes madness to The Pike Room in Pontiac for the "Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour" on October 20th. I hope it is all the holidays combined into one celebration or at least half Halloween and half X-mas. Either way it should be fantastic.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wonder Twins Review: The Silver Jews @ The Crofoot in Pontiac, Sunday Aug. 31

Despite the fact that illness knocked me on my ass most of this beautiful holiday weekend, I DID force myself to venture out to The Crofoot with my sister D'Anne for The Silver Jews show Sunday night. Despite primarily being a "stay at home lesbian," D'Anne occasionally accompanies me to various musical outings and we then write about it. The Metro Times then posts our rantings on their "Music Blahg" for all to see. So hop on over there and enjoy The Wonder Twins Silver Jews Recap.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Record Reviews: Love Meets Lust and Matthew Sweet

Happy Day of Labor everybody! To celebrate, you may want to read some record reviews - after all, it is a Labor Day tradition. The Metro Times has my review of local electro boys Love Meets Lust. They'll bring out your inner Depeche Mode fan for sure. Then head over to Detour and read the "Power Pop Day" decree which includes my review of Mathew Sweet's 10th album Sunshine Lies. Then you might want to consider going outside because that is what I would do if I wasn't getting over bronchitis.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah Palin’s Facebook page updates

Sarah says, “Vote Palin(ME!)/McCain ‘08”

Condi Rice wrote: "Go Sarah! Get Busy! It's Your Birthday!"

Sarah posted a video:
Fox News Anchor; Sarah Palin Has Foreign Policy Experience Because Her State Is Close To Russia

Sarah added new photos to “OMG I’m the VP Choice (Ohio Speech)”

George W. wrote: “Go get ‘em Barracuda!”

Juneau Christian Center wrote: “Godspeed Sarah – the Lord wants you to be president!”

Sarah became a fan of “Juneau Christian Center”

Sarah has been to Ireland before!

Sarah wrote on Mitt Romney’s wall: “Super suck it!”

Sarah wrote on Tim Pawlenty’s wall: “Suck it!”

Aug 29
James Dobson wrote: “I wept when I heard the news! So did Jesus Sarah – so did Jesus!”

Sarah can’t wait to break the glass ceiling with God’s hammer!

Sarah says “OMG, OMG, it’s me! It’s ME!!!

Sarah commented on John McCain’s picture, “So presidential!!”

Sarah wrote on John McCain’s wall: “Happy BIRTH-day, Mister (next) President… <3”

Sarah knows what the Vice President does – seriously!

Sarah poked Hillary Rodham Clinton

Aug 28
Sarah thinks John McCain is a Maverick

Sarah became a fan of Northern Exposure

Aug 27
Ted Stevens tagged Sarah in a photo.
Tagged in: “Alaskan Politician’s Besides Ted Stevens Who Are Mired In Controversy”

Sarah joined “Hockey Moms Against Gay Marriage”

Sarah is now friends with Ann Coulter

Aug 26
Sarah became a fan of “Let’s Drill the ANWR!”

Sarah joined “Parents who aren’t liberal hippies but have kids with weird names.”

Aug 25
Sarah is now friends with Geraldine Ferraro

Aug 24
Sarah is now friends with Rudy Giuliani

Sarah tagged herself in a photo
Tagged in: Track’s b-day bash
Comment: “LOL – Okay, I DO kinda look like Tina Fey here!”

Aug 22
Sarah joined “Pro-Lifers for the Death Penalty”

Sarah joined “Feminists For Life”

Sarah became a fan of Life Goes On

Sarah is climbing the Word Twist ladder!

Aug 20
Sarah became a fan of eBay

Sarah sent a Polar Bear to Rep. Dirk Kempthorne using “We’re Not Endangered!”

Aug 15
Sarah joined the group “VP 101”

Sarah is now friends with John McCain

Sarah became a fan of The NRA

Sarah added The Drudge Report News Updates application

Sarah is in the mood for Mooseburgers!

Aug 14
Sarah sent a “Pro-Life-O-Gram” to Todd Palin

Sarah became a fan of “Focus On The Family”

Sarah added the “BEAR(pelt) HUG” application

Monday, August 25, 2008

Record Reviews: Death Vessel and Juliana Hatfield

Detour has two new reviews of mine - one for one of my favorite albums I've heard this year, and one for one of my not-so-favorite albums. I remember getting into a little exchange with my friend Meghan back in high school in which I proclaimed that I didn't like Juliana Hatfield. Although the whole conversation is foggy, I do remember a certain amount of incredulousness hurled my way in response. So when I heard Ms. Hatfield had a new record out, I thought I'd give her another chance - be all open-minded and maybe see what I'd been missing. I tried, but How To Walk Away offers me no chance at redemption. Death Vessel, on the other hand, was a super pleasant surprise, seeing as I didn't know what to expect when I popped it in. Yes, his voice is somewhat lady-like, but it just kind of adds to his charm. He's coming to Detroit on Friday, so if you have not already been wooed to The Crofoot complex with the promise of free-ness, let me know and maybe you can be my Death Vessel date.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Record Reviews: Prussia and Suarasama

Although both albums sound all foreign and stuff, in fact, one is and one is home grown. The home team being Prussia - I review their new album Dear Emily, Best Wishes, Molly in The Metro Times. You can catch the boys live this weekend at Summer Smash 2008 as well... Detour has my review of the away team, Suarasama - who really are from far away and stuff. They are North Sumatran to be exact. I'm sorry if you're not sure where that is - the public school system has failed you.

Hope to see you this weekend for Summer Smash - I'm really excited about the line up and think it'll be a great time. Thanks to everybody who has worked so hard to make this happen, and to all the bands for their generosity and willingness to play - I appreciate your support and enthusiasm.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Record Review: Zach Hill

Can an album actually sound like its cover? I never contemplated this until now. Detour has my review of Zach Hill's Astrological Straits. Plus it includes a video bonus prize. Run Norwegian death metal dude - run!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Get In Shape Girl!

Tue, Aug 5, 2008 at 10:26 AM
Subject: Re: re: Looking for a workout buddy - w4m - 29 (Detroit)
Charles -

Thank you for responding to my craigslist ad.  While I appreciate your enthusiasm, I think there has been some sort of misunderstanding.  I really am just looking for "a workout buddy." I truly was not aware that this might be misconstrued as some sort of euphemism. As I mentioned in my ad, I am new to town and, like a lot of people, I have a hard time motivating myself to go work out.  With a work out buddy, I figure we could motivate each other. I don't however, think you and I are on the same page regarding our definition of "motivate each other."  Thanks and best of luck in your search.

Tue, Aug 5, 2008 at 1:39 PM
Subject: Re: Just what I'm looking for

Stan -

Okay, I'll admit you had me going for a second.  I really thought to myself, "Wow, this guy's actually legit and not some weirdo with no intention of exercising with me." You got my hopes up by starting your response off with, "Wow, I've been looking for a work out buddy too - I think this could be a great fit." But alas, you quickly started to slide into weirdo territory. "I WANT TO BE YOUR THIIIIIGHMASTER!!!!!" was what gave you away. My friends all warned me that I shouldn't bother to even place this ad and I really wanted to prove them wrong. I don't know that I'm going to be successful in that.

Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 2:39 AM
Subject: Re: Craigslist

Mat -

I once knew a guy named "Mat." His mom was a junkie who never graduated from junior high. The story goes that when the nurse at the hospital gently tried to suggest that, perhaps she might choose for her son's legal name "Matthew," and she could call him "Matt" with the more common "two t spelling" for short, his mother whipped a switchblade from under her breast and cut the woman's cheek. If that's similar to your situation and how you also ended up one "t" shy of a legitimate name, I'm sorry. But it doesn't give you any excuse to be so pushy and rude.  No I'm not sending you a "picture in my work out clothes" or "one without!!!!"

Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 11:04 AM
Subject: Re: W@@@Z UP?!

MaXXX (is that how you really spell your name?) -

Wow, it seems like I have really barked up the wrong tree in my search for a work out buddy.  Your e mail doesn't even mention exercise at all.  In fact, it is comprised of so many strange symbols and short hand, that I don't really understand it. I don't really appreciate the expletives though, even with %&$@ in place if the actual words. Please don't contact me again.

Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 2:50 PM
Subject: Re: IM HOT

Sexy Beestman - 

Are you aware that you have responded to an ad placed in the "Strictly Platonic" section?  It seems like you would have more luck in the "Casual Encounters" category.  Unlike me, who is having no luck at all, and has probably gained weight over the last couple of days as I stress eat to attempt to forget just how many assholes have responded to my ad.

Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 5:20 PM
Subject: Re: I got your workout right here

All Nite Long -

For the sake of my psyche, I am going to do my best to believe that you've signed your response "All Nite Long" because you're a huge Lionel Richie fan, and not a huge slime ball. But I guess I do owe you a thanks. After all, your disgusting "workin' it" suggestions did include the phrase "doggie style" which led me to an epiphany. Fuck all you pigs - I'm getting a dog.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Record Review: Charlie Slick

This week's Metro Times has my review of the new Charlie Slick album Edward Murphy. Also, his CD release party is this Saturday at The Elbow Room in Ypsi. As if the prospect of seeing one of his crazy live shows isn't reason enough, Lightning Love and Tonight are also playing. So it should be fantastic amounts of fun. I suggest you get some friends together, go out for sushi, and then go shake it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Record Reviews: Benji Hughes and Oxford Collapse

Two more reviews for your reading pleasure. In case it's not clear after reading my review, I heart the Benji Hughes record tons and tons. I must say, I like writing reviews for Detour because it's always fun to see the titles they come up with. The title for my Oxford Collapse review, "Bits Is Tits," is pretty awesome. My mom told me once when I was little that "back in the day" they would use the word "tits" to mean the equivelant of "cool." I remember thinking that she must be mistaken - maybe she was thinking of the word "hits," or "splits?" I also remember wanting the conversation to end or at least change topics.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Record Reviews: CSS, Javelins + Show Review: Javelins

Detour recently posted my review of the new CSS album which they titled "Gordon Ramsay Would Love CSS". This sent me on a Google mission - first to figure out who Gordon Ramsay was, and second to find out why he would love CSS. Tisk, tisk Mr. Ramsay.

Also, on the newly launched, shiny, shiny Metro Times site you can read my review of last weekend's Javelin's CD release show... That is where you can find my review of that very CD as well.

I am an insect and I must confess I'm very proud of that...

Here is the most disgusting product warning I believe I've ever read. It has not been corrected for spelling or grammar:

"Do not eat the culture media as it contains all natural ingredients it has not been kept refrigerated and may cause illness in humans if consumed plus the uncooked yeast used can cause sever bloating and gastric pains."

My sister in law recently purchased the product for which this warning was written. It is a plastic tub crawling with wingless fruit flies. The "culture media" refers to the light tannish goopy environment which I am assuming provides both home and nourishment to the fruit fly community. How any person on earth, even the most severely and tragically retarded, could look at this container and think, "I will eat this" is so far past my comprehension it gives me a headache to contemplate it. But I recognize the need to put warnings on virtually everything sold in this country considering our society's litigious nature. After all, this is America. If your vacuum doesn't include the explicit warning "Do not have sex with me," you should be able to sue Hoover for millions when your penis gets stuck in the hose causing permanent scaring from second degree burns. So I guess it carries over that if your "waste not, want not" philosophy is so rigid that you just can't waste good yeast – even unrefrigerated yeast that fruit flies have been living in – well, damn it, you are owed a monetary reward for your "sever bloating and gastric pains" if it wasn't made clear by the company that this would be the consequence of your actions. It's about freedom.

The fruit flies were purchased in conjunction with three baby praying mantis' (manti?). These were delivered to the house last week via Priority Mail. I came home from work and was greeted with, "Guess what Stacy got in the mail?" as my sister held up two small boxes. She then opened the first box and took out the fruit fly container. I assumed that whatever Stacy had ordered (some sort of bread mix?) this could not be the condition she expected to receive her wares in. "This is food," D'Anne told me, "for these guys." She then opened the second box and took out a little solo cup with a lid – the kind you get your dressing in when you order it on the side – which held a little baby praying mantis. "Stacy ordered these as pets for her classroom. She mentioned they might come today, but I have no instructions and have no idea what to do with them. I told her they're here and to come home immediately." D'Anne is no insect fan.

Since their sole purpose is to be praying mantis food, feeding time for the fruit fly community must be akin to a random, chaotic, large-scale mass kidnapping by an enormous "human creature." One minute you're playing racquetball at the fruit fly community center, and the next thing you know, the lid comes off your city and a giant hand starts plucking your neighbors off – seemingly at random – one by one. Where they go, you have no idea, but despite the nice amenities, after the second attack it is getting hard to relax at Shady Yeast. There are rumors sure, but nothing has been substantiated. There's an asinine theory that the abducted flies are being transplanted in groups of about 20 into a new community that is a little smaller and less yeasty than their homeland, and that this new contained environment also includes a "predator" who then hunts the captives for sport and food. Although the theory has gained some traction, many of the flies dismiss it as "liberal propaganda." "Sure," they say, "and next you're going to tell me it's all part of an inside job and our government knows about it. I mean, why would a human creature want to help a predator insect creature? That doesn't make any sense – there's just no motive!"

Despite the lack of information and a heightened sense of anxiety and suspicion, the flies do their best to go about their daily activities at the urging of their leader. "They can't stop our flying or stop our buying - and if we let them, then the giant handed terrorists have won." It was then pointed out to the fruit fly president that they were a wingless breed and therefore could not fly to begin with. Unfortunately at that exact moment, the human hand struck again and the president fly was one of the citizens to disappear. The vice-fly was hurriedly sworn in, and as his first official act of office told the assembled throng to "go fuck themselves" and then turned and shot his elderly fly-friend in the face.

Thank goodness fruit files have a 20 to 30 day life span and their new political situation, though brutish, will be short.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wearing Many Hats

July 30, 2008

Dear Ms. Roberts -

Thank you again for taking the time to interview me for the new sales accounts manager position at Lawson Laboratories. I feel like I would be a great fit for the company. The job, as you presented it, seems to be a very good match for my skill set. While I feel you thoroughly covered the position and all it entails during our interview time, I did have a few follow up questions. You indicated that I should feel free to contact you should that be the case, so in addition to conveying my gratitude, that is the reason for this letter. Just a couple of points for which I seek clarification:

You mentioned several times throughout our interview that the last person who held this position "wore many hats." I am unclear as to whether this was just a personal style choice, or part of the job. In the case that hat wearing is part of the job, do I inherit the hats she wore, or do I have to supply my own? Is there a uniform or costume stipend to cover the costs if the latter is the case? It's not that I mind spending my own money, but hats are more expensive than you'd think! I just bought my nephew a Washington Redskins hat (I know some people find the use of the term "redskins" to be questionable and potentially offensive to Native Americans - but it's just a sports team! I mean, get over it, right?) and that set me back $35! For a ball cap!

Also, is there a list of appropriate head wear and the proper time to wear given pieces, or is there room for creativity in that area? I ask because I have a few hats already, including a beret and a sun bonnet, and would be happy to bring them in. I even have a Viking helmet if that fits into your corporate vision. I bought it as a last minute Halloween costume a few years ago and having the opportunity to wear it in the office would certainly leave me feeling like I got my money's worth (have you been to a Halloween USA recently? Jeez! Pricey!).

Oh, also, am I the only person who will be wearing many hats? Does anybody else in the office wear hats or even a particular hat? Are we ever required to switch hats amongst employees, and if so, has lice ever been a problem? I hate to sound overly cautious, but I had lice once a few years ago when I let my little one go play at a dirty, poor schoolmate's house (I know they say that "anybody can get lice" but it does seem to be more common amongst the lower rungs of the economic ladder, am I right?) and she passed it on to me! Yuck! Those little critters have become quite robust and resistant to the products on the market, let me assure you. We found an effective (albeit costly!) treatment at our local health food store. I can recommend the brand name if you or anybody else in the office needs it.

Thank you again for your consideration and your willingness to address these concerns and questions. I am anxiously awaiting your reply and hope I'll soon be a part of the Lawson team!


Tabitha Johnson

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