Friday, September 27, 2013

Wearin’ o’ the Green

Notre Dame greenKen should get back from NYC late tonight, and hopefully he’ll get a good enough night of sleep that he’ll be ready to go for tomorrow’s game!

Notre Dame is playing Oklahoma, and the word is out that everyone should try to wear green to counteract the Sooner Red. Got it covered! I’ve got plenty of green ND shirts, and as you can see below, I’m even going with green nail polish. (No, it’s not a perfect manicure. So sue me.) Of course, I had to make the obvious joke (for me) that this means Saturday at Notre Dame is going to be a…(you know what’s coming, right?)...a GREEN DAY! See what I did there? I wish some deep-pocketed and well-connected alums would make it a true “Green Day at Notre Dame” and bring in the band! Maybe they could play “Fuck Time.” Bahaha! But I’m not going to hold my breath.

It looks as though it will be a perfect day, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Probably too warm for the players, but it’s kind of a crapshoot this time of year. I was chilled to the bone last week against MSU, but this Saturday it’s supposed to get up to around 80°. Great day for tailgating, and we’ll load up the truck and stop and get sandwiches on the way tomorrow. This could very well be our last tailgating for the year, because the next home game is October 19th against Southern Cal. It might turn out to be nice enough, and if so, we’ll say hit me baby one more time! But we usually figure on heading to one of the sports bars near campus for lunch and beverages around this time of year.

ND nailsWe were hoping to have Shane and Matt come out and tailgate with us tomorrow, but Shane has to work, drat it all! I hope we get a chance next season, because Matt has never been to an ND tailgate, and he definitely needs to experience one!

I finished this week’s lectures for History of Rock, and really enjoyed them. The prof made the great point that the British Invasion groups of the ‘60s took two paths. One type was the Beatles-style groups, more focused on vocals, harmony, and a polished sound, and one was the Stones-style groups, who sounded grittier and had a harder sound. But the two British bands that defied categorization were the Kinks and the Who. I couldn’t agree more. Both combined the heavy sound of the Stones with the clever lyrics of the Beatles. I have to say that Professor Covach really knows his shit, and I am really enjoying his take on all of this. I look forward to Part Two, as well as his Beatles course in February. I think my sister (the Beatlemaniac) is going to sign up for that one! I’m taking this course without the accompanying book (written by the prof), but I may look for a copy at some point. I think I’d really like reading his book.

Now I need to get back to the Stephen King book, and I’m looking forward to getting a lot read tonight.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and GO IRISH!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Beth’s Music Moment: the Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones

Beatles vs StonesI’m taking a short break from Doctor Sleep to write an entry. I’m trying not to rush through the book super fast—I want to savor it—so I watched more videos today in the History of Rock course. We’re at the point where we’re talking about the British Invasion, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.

As you can imagine, I’m a happy girl with these lectures!

I’m not going to debate the merits of each band here, or try to come to any sort of conclusion. I think that is a futile exercise, because I don’t think there is any way to convince someone who thinks the Beatles were the best that the Stones really were better, or vice versa. In fact, I came to realize today that it’s not exactly an appropriate comparison. Sure, they both worked on the same musical playing field in the ‘60s, competing for hits and airtime, but they came at it from different approaches, via different influences.

I had always thought that I preferred the Stones because they were the “bad boys” in the equation. That is definitely part of it; I prefer their raunchier sound, their more in-your-face (heh) sexuality, and their somewhat more sinister music. There is more to it than that, though. I was under the assumption that each of their influences were similar, that they both listened to similar American blues music (specifically, Chicago blues) that was all the rage in England at that time. Not so. The Stones, in London, definitely were part of that scene, and that was their major influence. But the Beatles, in Liverpool, were more into American pop than American blues. With Liverpool being a port city, sailors would bring back all these American pop records and sell them in Liverpool. Meanwhile, Keith and Mick and their friends were sending off mail orders for American blues records, and having listening parties where everyone brought their records. Each were steeped in different styles of American music.

I think these influences are obvious in their respective styles. As President Obama says, let me be clear. I love the Beatles, and they were some of the first rock music I remember listening to. But I’ve always been drawn to the Stones much more, and I think it’s because the blues influence is so much more prevalent in their music.

I think my preference also has to do with timing. I’ve read that the music you listen to in your adolescent and young adult years is the music that resonates the most with you for your entire life. My sister Diana, the Beatlemaniac (she’s the one who played their records that I heard when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old), will be forever true to the Beatles, because that is what she was listening to when she was in junior high and high school. By the time I got to that point, the Beatles had broken up, and the Stones were huge throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, which was my musical young adulthood.

So these lectures were a bit of an epiphany for me today. I was like, “A-ha! So THAT’S why I dig them more!” I had honestly thought that the Beatles had that same blues influence that the Stones did. To some extent, they did, but they weren’t as into it as much as Brian, Mick, and Keith. I think that shaped their entire sound, and while both are considered two of the greatest rock bands ever, I believe that comparing them is an apple and oranges endeavor. I stand by my assertion in the past that the Stones are the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band. If the Beatles had continued, would they have that title? Or would a more appropriate title be the World’s Greatest Pop Band?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Just a heads-up!

Doctor SleepI had intended to write a bit more tonight, but as you can see, the new Stephen King novel came in the mail today, and I am already hooked. It’s entirely possible that my next post will be a review of the book, because I have a feeling that I’m going to tear through this one!

If you don’t know the premise, this book revisits Danny (now Dan) Torrance a couple of decades after he survived The Overlook and his father died in The Shining. There are some interesting twists already, and I’m feeling bad for Dan and hope that he can get his shit together. Something nefarious is afoot, and perhaps Dan will have a chance to redeem himself in the process of helping others. We shall see.

I’ll still hang out a bit on Facebook, but I can already tell that this book is going to consume me until I finish it. My friend Lisa laughed and said that she KNEW I’d be reading it already! But of course!

Happy reading, Citizens!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why I don’t trashtalk

ND vs MSU AYesterday was the Notre Dame-Michigan State game, and they were playing in our house. ND and MSU is a pretty big rivalry, because we’re not that far away from each other, we’ve played them for many years, and there have been some really epic, close games.

The day started out cool and slightly gloomy, but the sun quickly came out, and it was a perfect day for a game! Partly cloudy, and not overly warm. Because it got so nice in the afternoon, I misjudged how cool it would get as the game progressed, and thought I would be okay with just a t-shirt. The temperature started dropping, the cloud cover increased, and there was enough of a breeze that I started getting really chilled. I didn’t plan on buying any gear yesterday, but I ended up with a sweatshirt, anyway. Thanks, Honey! Next Saturday is supposed to be a little warmer, so I’ll have to figure out how I want to work the attire.

We tailgated yesterday, and were parked next to a couple of guys and their four boys, who seemed to range in age from maybe 10-15. They were a nice bunch, and the guys started chatting us up. They were from Plainfield, a suburb of Chicago, and although the guys had been to a game quite a few years ago, the kids never had been. Neither were alums, just ND fans who decided to come and bring their boys down for a game. We were all in great moods, and the kids were tossing a football around and the dads were playing QB. Ken set up our cornhole boards and they all played a couple of games. They weren’t sure how to get to the Stadium from where we were parked, so we said they could follow us in. We had a pleasant walk through campus and to the Stadium, and when we parted ways (because we went in different gates), we all shook hands and said that it was nice meeting each other and to enjoy the game! It was very enjoyable, and I hope they had a wonderful time and experience!

After we split up, Ken and I were in a spot where we got to see the ND band march into the Stadium. I was straining to see over the few people in front of me, and I was doing fine...but then a couple of them grabbed me and said, “Get up here, Shorty!” and pulled me up to the front! I thought that was so super nice of them, and I was like, “No, no, I’m fine!” but they pulled me up there, anyway. This might sound silly, but I love the sense of community and fun among Irish fans at ND games. We have our share of jerk fans (more about that in a moment), but overall, it’s always a pretty good experience, and I love how nice the ushers are, and how everyone seems to want to make the game a good experience for all. Not that we don’t want to kick the opponent’s butt…!

ND vs MSU BThings looked a little dicey for the Irish throughout the game, but we had some good defense (going up against the #1 defense in the country) and managed to make some big plays and some big stops. The Irish won 17-13, and such a low scoring game gives you an idea of what a battle it was. During down times, we chatted with the guy sitting next to me (I said, “Hey, we’re wearing the same shorts!” See photo below.), listened to the curmudgeons sitting behind us, and chatted a bit with the couple in front of us. I noticed the difference in height between her and her boyfriend, and said, “I have to ask tall are you?” She said, “Five feet!” and I laughed and said, “Me too! I know how you feel!” It was her first game, and I think she had a pretty good time, too.

Unfortunately, we had three Michigan State fans sitting two rows in front of us that were just dicks. As I said earlier, I know we have our share of fans like that, and I know that not all Sparty fans are like these guys. I’ll even give credit to one of the guys for trying to stop his friend from being such a dick...but the guy just kept right on being a dick. When MSU got a first down, they’d all make the first down hand signal, and it wasn’t too long before we all started mocking them. When they made a big play, one of the guys would turn around and hold his hand up trying to get us all to high five him. Seriously, man? Be cool. When one of our players got his helmet knocked off in a play, the guy called him a “pussy.” I could see Ken doing a slow burn beside me, and I said, “Be cool. If they want to be dicks, let ‘em be dicks. But we don’t need to take the bait.” Ken kept his cool, but both of us were giving them the stink-eye every time they turned around to get a high five from us ND fans.

ND vs MSU CThe guy in front of us (boyfriend of the short girl) started giving it right back to them, and later turned to us and said, “I’m not usually a dick like this, but I had it with them.” When it became clear that ND was going to win, the MSU fans left with a couple of minutes to go. They weren’t quite so cocky then. They gave us all a wave as they left, and they told the guy in front of us, “Stay classy!” THIS, from the guys who were taunting all the ND fans around them! You don’t know how tempting it was to yell at them, “Who’re the pussies now?” Ugh.

Anyway, thus the title of this entry. I have family and friends who do the trashtalk thing, but I don’t enjoy that at all. It often comes back to bite you on the ass, and if you lose—and yes, you often lose—it makes you feel like a fool. I love my teams, and I cheer for them to win, but I want them to win on their own merits. The sort of chest-thumping attitude I see in some is just irritating to me. Just shut up and let your team play. If they’re good enough, they’ll win. If not, they won’t. Maybe it’s one of those male-female things. I really don’t get the appeal of taunting other fans. They’re just as passionate about their team as I am about mine, so just be cool and cheer for your team without being a dick. I remember someone a while back posting about how the Bears beat the Colts, and they weren’t surprised, because everyone in Indiana is a bunch of losers. The Colts made the playoffs that year, but the Bears didn’t. So how did that work out for you, Obsessive Hater?

I’m not a Notre Dame graduate, but as a Notre Dame sports fan and a resident of this city, it’s important to me that I help people enjoy their visit here, if possible. I can’t do a lot, but I’ll do what I can to make sure that people don’t leave here after an encounter with me thinking, “Wow, ND fans are dicks.” I want them to think, “Wow, ND fans are kind of nice!” I know that the guys in front of us aren’t representative of all MSU fans. But they sure didn’t impress me, and they were bad representatives of the school. We encounter a lot of people from out of town during game weekends, and when we travel and tell people where we’re from, we want to make sure that we’re good ambassadors.

So don’t be a dick, mmmkay?