Yes, once again I am blogging from A to Z in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge! But I am over at jesstopper.com/blog now, so please visit me there. Thanks!
If this little post (and lovely finger) appeared in your email inbox today, that’s because you were awesome enough to subscribe to my I’ll Blog When I’m Bead blog at one time in the past.
Well, the future is NOW. And I’ve launched jesstopper.com, my new web site that integrates my blog (same blog, new name – Blogging on the Brink) and lots of other neat stuff. But sadly, it couldn’t bring my subscribers along. So I am writing today with one final gentle reminder to reinvent your Awesome and re-subscribe!
I’d be remiss as a former librarian not to provide direct links:
1 click, so easy & I swear on the finger above, your email will not be shared with other parties.
Or if you’re on my new site, you will see this little box on the bottom right hand side:
You can plug your email right in there and if you want to add some Facebook love, you can “like” my facebook author page right there as well. Then YOUR thumbnail image might pop up just like Valerie’s (friend from grade school), Miriam’s (cousin of my aunt by marriage) or Kahlil’s (#1 moe. fan and all-around great peep) are seen here, frozen in time by my fancy screenshot.
New visitors to this site, come on and join the party over at jesstopper.com too! It’s a VIP side-stage view with a velvet rope just waiting for YOU! Thanks so much for checking out my blog and my web site.
That is the ITP question.
September marks ITP Awareness Month, and today, September 28, is Sport Purple for Platelets Day.
In my research into the subject of this bizarre roller coaster of a disease, I recently learned that Jonathan Davis from the band Korn had a bout with ITP during his 2006 European Tour, landing in the hospital with a platelet count of 5K. To quote Davis: “If I continued to headbang on stage I could have had a brain hemorrhage and dropped dead on the spot. This has been one of the scariest times in my life.”
I know how he feels. In 2005, I was 4th row center at a Judas Priest concert. Rob Halford had just re-joined the band after being away for over a decade; how could I not be there front and center to cheer, yell and headbang? I remember trying to lift my arms to fist pump, and I couldn’t. I just wanted to curl up on my chair and go to sleep.
I wound up in the hospital the next day with my first platelet crash since my ITP diagnosis the month before. I was at 12K. If the show had been general admission, if I had been, as Anthrax would say, “caught in a mosh”, that could have been the end of me. It was scary indeed.
Our stories are just 2 of the stories out there representing the 200,000 Americans suffering from ITP. Many have chosen to share their stories on the PDSA Personal Stories web page. Yesterday I posted a story about running a 5K mud race with a platelet count of 39K on my new site that some of my followers may not have found yet. It was another exhilarating dip on my roller coaster of ITP and I hope you will take a peek at it, as well as sport PURPLE today! Thanks.
Short public service announcement for you lovely souls who follow I’ll Blog When I’m Dead – change is in the air!
I’ve got a cool new web site launching, and my blog will have a new home there. You can find me at jesstopper.com or jessicatopper.com, so pop on by and say hello! I’m honored to have you pay the first visit.
Along with a new address, my blog will have a new name: BLOGGING ON THE BRINK.
Because aren’t we all on the brink of something? Some days it might feel like the verge of madness and other days, genius. I enjoy and embrace the delicious possibilities, and the ups and downs of managing a fledgling writing career, running a chaotic, happy household and juggling the rock and roll of my day job.
While all my old blog content will migrate, my followers (you, my friend) will have to re-subscribe through the new site. So please consider this your All Access invitation to re-join the party over at jesstopper.com/blog! (We’ll be speaking English over there real soon.)
I hope you will join me there on my journey to the brink and beyond, and continue to enjoy my posts.
There’s a nip in the air come nightfall, and the leaves are performing their annual drop-and-clog ritual into the swimming pool. Halloween candy is already in the supermarkets, so school must be right around the corner!
As a kid, this was truly my favorite time of year. I loved pulling out cozy warmer clothes and deciding what to wear that first day of school. (Um, which concert jersey? And do I wear the Jordache with the white stitching, or the pair with the gold embroidered horse on the tiny extra front pocket only large enough to accommodate an emergency quarter for calling my parents from the payphone in the arcade at the bowling alley? Ah, memories of the good ol’ obsolete days!)
And I absolutely loved buying school supplies. Back in those days, teachers didn’t give a list. There were no big-box stores devoting aisles and aisles to folders with pockets and prongs, or folders with center brads and no pockets. (Say what?) I would walk into Rite Aid, pick out my couple of pens, pencils, and my superawesomewickedcool Trapper Keeper and be done with it.
The writer already instilled within Young Me LOVED the prospect of page after page of blank filler paper and a pen with all its ink. The possibilities were endless.
Akin to a child’s joy of playing in an empty cardboard box and to hell with whatever cool item came packaged inside, I loved decorating my textbook covers. The school would supply plainish covers to mask their pocked and scarred property, and we would all go to work drafting every cool band logo we could think of. Some of the worthy ones of the day included:
If you could replicate all four mysterious Led Zeppelin symbols, you were legendary:
WCMF, the rock radio station in my hometown, also gave away nice book covers: glossy black with their logo and red graffiti-splattered “LONG LIVE ROCK AND ROLL” embossing them. In 1983, that was the ultimate statement.
Do kids even get textbooks anymore? Or does all that text live online or in a virtual cloud somewhere? (And our kids might ask: What’s a radio station?)
On a hot night in July, shortly after being backstage at an Iron Maiden concert, I threw myself into the most dangerous of moshpits; i.e. the Target school supply section. In there, it’s Soccer Mom vs. Dance Mom. A Labradoodle-eat-Lhasa-Poo world of supply and demand. I kept my wits about me, armed with my school-supplied list of rations (every year it includes multiple boxes of tissues, Zip Locs and Purell, which makes me slightly nervous. Is this for a classroom or an episode of Dexter?).
I emerged triumphant and five lbs leaner, having spent roughly the GNP of a Third World country on stuff…and I only have one child. Forget saving for college – if you have three kids, you invest in Mead!
After surviving that came the Herculean task of labeling each and every crayon, pencil and folder. Maybe this could be categorized under Helicopter Mom, but there’s no way my 10-year old is going to legibly Sharpie her name on a .25in #2 pencil twenty times. I will take one for the team and get high on the Sharpie fumes myself.
I wonder if obsessive labeling will still be required in high school? I hope by that time, my daughter has the patience, stamina and hand-dexterity to complete such a task. But for now, I get to revel in the newness of her school supplies. All that blank paper, the endless possibilities…
I took my ten year old to her first metal show last week. Yes, I subjected her 100+ decibels and 10,000+ rowdy, sweaty (and a few inebriated) fans.
But before you snatch away my Mom-of-the-Year Award and stomp it to bits with your sensible shoes, hear me out.
There were earplugs involved. And backstage passes. And amusement park rides. I couldn’t resist.
Little Miss M is no stranger to concerts. She attended many a moe. show in utero, and had her first 3-day festival experience at nine months old.
When other kids are tagging along with their parents to office buildings and cubicles on “Take Your Child to Work Day”, we regularly give her a taste of our livelihood each summer as she witnesses stages built, lighting trusses hung, catering set up and crew running around like headless chickens with Maglites. She has happy reunions with other band kids who, like her, don’t exactly realize how rare it is to play house in a tour bus, to play tag backstage and to fall asleep side-stage while the band plays on.
So I knew she would do OK in the concert environment. However, she has never stood in gen pop, watching a stage ignite in pyro flames and fireworks, with a skeletal mascot leering out from ever-changing backdrops and making 3-D appearances in statues as big and impressive as an Easter Island Moai.
If you hadn’t guessed by now, the metal show was Iron Maiden. For those of you who aren’t aware of my admiration for their frontman Bruce Dickinson, you might want to click here.
It’s been over twenty-seven years since I first began seeing them live, and I never imagined they would still be touring well into their 50s and still performing top-notch. They never just phone in a show on auto-pilot, it’s always 110% effort and genuine.
And I always tell people: as long as they keep playing like this, I will keep going to shows. This is no nostalgia act. For them, or for me. But realistically, I know the time is, as Bruce would say, running low.
So I thought it was time to show my daughter something I really love and enjoy, and to introduce her to the friends I have made along the way.
The band was playing 40 minutes from my house – the closest they’ve been since 2005. No borders to cross, no planes to catch. The shed was part of a local amusement park, so first there were rides:
Then came a weird and wonderful opportunity – I introduced my child to Bruce’s child. Like his father, Austin Dickinson is making waves with his distinctive voice in his own band, Rise To Remain. They are one of the many bands on Warped Tour this summer, and they happened to have a show the very next night at the same venue. So Austin came down to watch his dad’s show.
He was charming and gracious and I think he gained a new fan! Now the Dickinson-Topper circle is complete…until maybe the day when my grandchildren are famous and Bruce’s grandchildren want to meet them.
Oh, and the show? She loved it! Earplugs and all. Bruce (wearing a shirt on stage designed by his younger son Griffin, who recently launched a clothing company, Griffin Allstar) and the rest of the band thoroughly entertained and enthralled her.
“What is the most important thing in life?” an attendee of the Forum IAB marketing conference in Warsaw, Poland recently asked the guest speaker after his riveting 40 minute lecture on Customer Value Management. (Yes, I said ‘riveting’ and ‘marketing’ in the same breath!)
“Your children. Your family.” The speaker replied. The speaker was Bruce Dickinson. And the crowd hung on to his every word. (Told you. Riveting!)
Sadly the Youtube video containing the informal Q&A has been made private, but you can still watch the speech itself here and here. I wish I had transcribed what he had said about supporting and taking care of your children, as it was pretty wise. Spend time with your kids, pay attention to them. Show interest in what they do. We cannot all model our kids’ T-shirts in front of 15,000 fans each night, but we can love them and take an interest in what they want to do in life.
If my kid decides she never wants to see another metal show again, I will be OK with that. I’m glad I got to share a part of me she hadn’t been privy to before, and I hope she will always remember the side of me not defined by “mom” standards. I hope her own interests and passions and beliefs continue to expand and I will always fight my way to front row and center to cheer her on.
Hello cats and kittens! Miss me? I’ve missed all of you.
It appears I took the month of May off. Hmm. More like I blinked and it was gone.
April was a fun blur. I am still getting a lot of traffic here due to the Herculean Blogging from A-Z Challenge, which is all kinds of awesome. May was full of kids’ music recitals and PTA-planning for end-of-year school events. I’m pretty sure there is a 10th ring of Dante’s Hell reserved solely for PTA in which doomed souls volunteer eternally. But I digress. Onto the month at hand – June.
Work gets busy for me as the festival season heats up. Here at moe. central, we consider Memorial Day to be the start of “Summer Tour”, as the band has hosted the Summer Camp Music Festival for the past eleven years.
Ah, Summer Tour. There is nothing quite like it. It doesn’t matter what genre you are a fan of, or whether the venue is a 700-acre field or a town park…music in the summer is always magical.
As moe. rolls into various towns and cities, I’m the little gremlin behind the scenes paying the bills so they can have their pimped out tour bus and the fans can have their pretty swirly lights, etc.
I adhere to the phrase “work hard, play harder”, hanging up my music biz boots and trading them in for my own fan boots when my favorite bands hit the road. There is a giddy excitement about jumping in a car with friends (or hopping a plane to meet faraway friends) and heading out to shows. (Yes, that’s plural.)
Most anticipated summer venue for me: The Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club in Manhattan. I cannot wait to check this place out! moe. plays 2 nights here June 26th and 27th. Beach in Manhattan, you say? Yep, on the East River under the stars on a 200-ton sandy beach. You can lounge on couches with your feet in the sand, or show off your skills over a game of pool, foosball or ping pong. Concerts are held in the 10,000 sq. foot open-air beer tent with the iconic Brooklyn Bridge as your backdrop.
Thanks to the never-ceasing miracles of technology, summer tour can now travel to you! First we had the Tupac hologram eerily appear during the Coachella Music Festival. You can see it with your own eyes here. The creators of that hologram are working on an Elvis one, but I’m holding out for a Jeff Buckley one to appear in my living room. Weekly.
And speaking of living rooms, another hi-tech phenomenon sweeping the live music world is “couch tour”. Pay-per-view TV has been taken to the next level. Sites like couch-tour.com and iClips Summer of Jam offer you oodles of streaming festivals and shows on subscription – with no bathroom lines or beer lines! No need to sit on Facebook listening to the crickets and feeling sorry for yourself while everyone is at “the show”.
This weekend, I watched in amusement as several friends began posting their pictures and music schedules (which of course can be planned via app on your phones now) from their actual Bonnaroo weekend. Phish. Radiohead. Fans standing in a dusty field looking hot and tired. Then…up popped the virtual Bonnaroo weekend “Couch Tour” photos on Facebook. Who needs to fly to Manchester, TN when you can attend in your PJs, five feet away from your own fridge full of sanely-priced cold beer and a toilet that actually flushes and can’t be tipped over in the middle of the night?
A Facebook friend posted the above picture on her wall – she tagged a number of friends (probably those she normally goes to concerts with in 3-D real-time real life). And the place tag: “MY LIVING ROOM”.
Is this the end of Summer Tour as we know it? Nah. I don’t think so. It’s a convenient way of saying “been there, saw that, bought the T-Shirt” but music fans will always want the real Summer Tour experience: the sweaty, grimy, unpredictable weather-related, beer-sloshed, fun-soaked concert under the blinding sun or the blinking stars. With the pretty swirly lights from the band on the pimped out tour bus. (Yay, job security for me.) ‘Cuz that’s a big part of what rock n roll is all about – along with the connections and memories of the people you meet and the places you go on tour.
Wishing you all a safe and stellar Summer Tour!