Top Interview Q’s (not by me)

15 Feb

Most Common Interview Questions
1.What are your strengths?
2.What are your weaknesses?
3.Why are you interested in working for [insert company name here]?
4.Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
5.Why do you want to leave your current company?
6.Why was there a gap in your employment between [insert date] and [insert date]?
7.What can you offer us that someone else can not?
8.What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
9.Are you willing to relocate?
10.Are you willing to travel?
11.Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
12.Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
13.What is your dream job?
14.How did you hear about this position?
15.What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?
16.Discuss your resume.
17.Discuss your educational background.
18.Describe yourself.
19.Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
20.Why should we hire you?
21.Why are you looking for a new job?
22.Would you work holidays/weekends?
23.How would you deal with an angry or irate customer?
24.What are your salary requirements? (Hint: if you’re not sure what’s a fair salary range and compensation package, research the job title and/or company on Glassdoor.)
25.Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
26.Who are our competitors?
27.What was your biggest failure?
28.What motivates you?
29.What’s your availability?
30.Who’s your mentor?
31.Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
32.How do you handle pressure?
33.What is the name of our CEO?
34.What are your career goals?
35.What gets you up in the morning?
36.What would your direct reports say about you?
37.What were your bosses’ strengths/weaknesses?
38.If I called your boss right now and asked him what is an area that you could improve on, what would he say?
39.Are you a leader or a follower?
40.What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
41.What are your co-worker pet peeves?
42.What are your hobbies?
43.What is your favorite website?
44.What makes you uncomfortable?
45.What are some of your leadership experiences?
46.How would you fire someone?
47.What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
48.Would you work 40+ hours a week?
49.What questions haven’t I asked you?
50.What questions do you have for me?

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Anti-Valentine’s Post: Going Global

13 Feb

As you know, I hate that fake-a$$ holiday, and have been really good about writing an annual blog post about all that’s wrong with it. This is my eleventh? such post, I think!!!  Even when I’m terrible about writing anything else throughout the year. It’s important to me to get it done.

And yes, I am still a lazy writer (in my blog) and do not treat this as a college research paper. BUT given this era of opinion-pieces, unsubstantiated “alternate facts,” and plain ‘ol made-up nonsense, I’ve tried to at least indicate my sources. Is there a proper citation with bibliography-no! Can you tell I just didn’t pull the information and figures out of my a$$–I hope so.  Here we go my annual why Valentine’s Day is detrimental and shouldn’t be celebrated:

"The Models Go Green" -- The models POSE FOR A photo shoot of the negative effects of smoking on AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL on The CW. Pictured: Janet (Cycle 9) (902) Photo: Mike Rosenthal/The CW ©2007 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

“The Models Go Green” — The models POSE FOR A photo shoot of the negative effects of smoking on AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL on The CW.
Pictured: Janet
(Cycle 9) (902)
Photo: Mike Rosenthal/The CW
©2007 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Fear sells products.

Just ask the beauty industry. First step-Put great emphasis on a women’s physical appearance. Socnond, Insinuate that’s WHO she is (beauty), Third, indicate that beauty is the only way she derives all her power. Finally, make her afraid she’s losing looks and beauty through aging. Sales of lotion and makeup boom!

Sex sells.

angel-3

Look at any magazine, poster, or label. Nakedness abounds. People are more interested if there’s a hint of sexuality. True story.  Does there really even need to be persuasion here?  I hope not.  I will assume no, and move on.

Combine fear WITH sex and you have capitalist gold. Thus, Valentines Day.  And why a Catholic tragedy is even a current thing at all.

money
And with stock-markets demanding quarterly growth, more and more corporations are looking to foreign markets to increase sales. Advertising DOES have an impact on culture. Other countries do look to the United States, a world power. So it makes sense that America’s ad campaigns do dictate cultural change around the world.

cambodia-map-for-introduction
One example of the negative influence of America’s capitalism, specifically the notion Valentine’s Day must culminate in sex, is Cambodia. The country is in Southeast Asia, near Thailand and Laos. Cambodia has a tumultuous history, with the Brits colonizing it for awhile, communists taking refuge there for a time, and Americans bombing it (just the commies though!  *sarcasm*  obviously) during Vietnam conflict. As a person with an American education, I’m not sure of the whole history, or what Cambodia’s politics are today (or honestly, anything about them), but I know the treatment of women there is not that awesome.

Cambodia is apparently dramatic about romance. They have a concept called “sansar,” which means something like, Valentine or true love, or the person I want to marry. And this Sansar notion is heavily associated with Valentine’s Day. The people Combining the Valentine’s Day money = love = sexual reward with Cambodia’s ingrained notions of gender has resulted in a phenomenon of under-aged sex. In Cambodia Valentine’s Day is their prom–the expectation is to have sex.

The ministry of education in Cambodia issued a statement Tuesday imploring teachers to impress upon their students that Valentine’s Day is not about losing one’s virginity. Chuon Naron says in the statement “Cambodian students take Valentine’s Day to mean ‘sweetheart day,’ and they buy flowers as a way to convince girls to give up their virginity.” An exacerbating factor,”Cambodians have no idea about sex and their sexual rights because the sexual health education curriculum remains unimplemented.” (1) Education Minister Hang.

The quantitative survey on Love and sexual relationships found that 12. 4 percent young people state that they will be able to have sex and 14.3 young people in a couple state that they will able to have sex with their sweethearts on the upcoming Valentine’s Day. (2) Valentine’s Day in Phnom Penh in 2009.

Even worse? It has been reported that this sex will happen whether or not every participant is ready, whether or not they’re in a trusting, committed relationship, whether or not permission is given. Yes, not only has American-economy-driven Valentine’s capitalistic hedonism caused the sexualiziation of a “holiday” it had contributed to rape culture.

According to United Nations research (*A) one in five Cambodian men admit to raping a woman at least once. Half of that number started before the age of 20. (4) And nearly two-thirds said they had raped their partner, or more explicitly, their songsar. The figure rose to 34 percent when asked if they had committed physical or sexual violence against a woman. (3) 2013.

Jesus.

Public health specialist, Tong Soprach, conducted a smaller study of this trend from 2009-2014. He interviewed 715 Cambodians, aged 15 to 24, and what he found was staggering. In 2009, roughly two-thirds of young males said they were willing to force their partners to have sex on Valentine’s Day. [What??!] That number dropped some by 2014, but was still alarmingly high: among 376 male respondents, about 47 percent. (4) Phnom Penh Post, 2009.

National Police spokesman, Lieutenant General Kirth Chantharith, agrees that education is key to putting a halt to this abuse. He pointed out that most of the youth don’t understand the concept of Valentine’s Day, adding that “a lot of boys want to use this day for sex and to exploit girls”. Just how culturally accepted it is to engage in non-consensual sex is illustrated by the fact that half of the women interviewed for the UN study believed they couldn’t refuse to have sex with their husband. Two years ago, according to Chantharith, the police noticed a significant increase in sexual violence and rape among the capital’s youth on Valentine’s Day. “There are many young men going to the guest houses late at night with a girl – sometimes a group of boys with a girl – and they commit sexual violence,” he said. “So when we see a girl alone at night, leaving a bar with a boy or a group, we intervene.” (5)  On the whole, though rape and sexual violence isn’t only endemic in the southeast Asian country, but is treated by many as the norm, meaning perpetrators largely go unpunished.

So there’s that. Thanks U.S. Capitalistic fake holiday.  Obviously, this is one of the more horrible consequences that stem from constructing a holiday about “love” but really about money.  I think as citizens of the United States, we can admit Valentines Day is contrived and exploited in order to sell products.  Fear of being alone and single are combined with terribly impractical idealized romantic images, which are not really a thing aside from February 14th.  As a leading country, we need to be careful what we support and how we portray ourselves.  Our country (like it or not) is a role model for other places.  And our capitalistic patriarchy combined with a worse-for-wear undeveloped countries norms has lead to disastrous effects on women.

 

Think twice about what you support.
_______________________________________
(A)
http://www.partners4prevention.org/sites/default/files/resources/p4p-report.pdf

(1)
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/archives/on-valentines-day-a-deep-generational-divide-77963/

(2) PAGE 14

http://soprach.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/love_sexual_relationships_valentine_quan_study-14_eng.pdf

(3)
http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/02/11/cambodia-valentine-s-not-virginity-day.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

4)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/12/the-country-where-valentines-day-is-the-most-dangerous-day-of-the-year/?utm_term=.e7eba904a65f

5)
https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/cambodia-valentines-day-rape-consent-phnom-pen

Wasatch Cleaning List

16 Jan

Or–how we spent Thanksgiving 2016.

 

—-BATHROOM:
_________________________
-trade bathrm light bulbs
-wash top of med cabinet
-wash mirrors
-wash shelves indie med cabinet
-wash window
-clean window ledge
-clean baseboards
-shower walls
-bottom of bathtub
-scratches in bathtub
-top of door jam
-top of door
-both sides door
-floor
-fill in pin holes

LAUNDRY RM:
______________________
-trade out light bulb
-top of door
-both sides of door
-laundry shelves
-base boards
-especially under laundry shelves on floor/walls
-clean drain
-clean floor
-fill in pin holes

BEDROOM:
_________________
-change out light
-clean light
-clean top of closet
-clean closet mirror
-clean closet shelf
-wipe closet walls
-clean closet floor
-clean window
-clean window shelf
-clean wall below window
-fill in pin holes
-clean baseboards
-clean floors
-clean window

KITCHEN:
_______________
-change out light
-clean fan blades
-clean top of cabinets
-clean inside cabinets
-clean both sides cabinet doors
-clean inside freezer
-wash fridge shelves
-wash walls inside fridge
-wash out fridge drawers
-wash shelves in fridge door
-wash bottom of fridge
-wash fridge/freezer handles
-wash top of fridge
-wash outside freezer/fridge
-wash side of fridge
-backspash
-soak over burners
-wipe top of stove
-wash stove door
-wash counters
-clean sinks
wash front of cabinets
-wash inside drawers
-wash outside drawers
-clean cupboard shelves
-wash both sides cubbord doors
-wash window
-clean window cill
-clean wall under window
-clean kitchen floor
-fill pin holes

LIVING ROOM:
_____________
-fill pin holes
-clean baseboards
-wash window
-clean window shelf
-clean wall under window
-clean living room floor

 

–>  And yes.  Against all odds we DID get our deposit back.  The entire thing!

2016: The High Points-Ranked

3 Jan

There was more bad times then good this year.  Or more accurately, a lot of the bad points overshadowed the good.  Or their were the normal good times, but the daily grind had a lot of negative.  But here, I have happily remembered many of the good.  From awesome to major thrill, here is my Top Moments Countdown:

Honorable mention:  The Trampled by Turtles concert with Lorn Huron as opener.  They put on a wonderful show (see review blog) but the venue totally ruined the whole thing.

trampled-by-turtles

11-Kelly Coffey circuit workouts/running on the trail in the summer

Cool has gained so much ground on this front, and it makes it fun, quality time instead of a chore.  It’s really nice to do it together.  And even though it was very hot (sometimes 104F) we both ran well AND had great attitudes about it.  I hope to continue our fitness stuff for a very long time.

10-Balloon Races/kayak

This went from the top spot last year to 10th!  But not because it was bad or anything.  I packed the car to the brim, but forgot one bag.  The one with all the cute outfits I had lovingly put together over the prior weeks and weeks.  It was a fun trip, as always, but even though there were technically more days IN the visit, we were way more rushed.  We didn’t even get to play yard games!  We have to plan better next time.  And some lady chastised my family when we sat down at Dawn Patrol.  Even though there’s no tickets and no seating arrangement.  She got ugly about it, saying “we’ve been here since 3AM.”  False.  They don’t open the gates until 4 AM, and shove it up your ass, lady.  I had fun, and I always love the balloon races, but we were kinda running around.  Plus, my mom was still recovering from her radiation/surgery.  And my dad was having trouble walking around so much.  We will do it better next visit!

lauurel-remax

9-Cool’s birthday in Park City

I bought Cool (and me) a massage package in Park City.  So we could try out being fancy (that’s not our life).  It was fun, but I just don’t think I’m a massage person.  Example:  They have a sign-in sheet and it asks what you don’t want in the massage.  I wrote “awkwardness.”  My gal was like, what do you mean you don’t want awkwardness?  Long pause.  What is awkwardness to you?”  Umm, THIS conversation.  And there was a hair treatment in the massage.  But that meant either you have to walk around with straight up oil in your wet hair–or shower.  So I had a weird semi-private shower, which I’m never a fan of.  So the massage was good, but I just am not going to submit myself to any more of that.  We did get to window shop in Park City and eat at High West, so that was nice.

boss-moose

8-getting the impossible raise

My worth ethic is unparalleled.  And my department under-pays so there is high turnover.  I ended up doing way more then my share (as I have always done) on a consistant basis.  The difference was, they keep track of checklists, so I saved them and wrote everything down.  Everyone in the company, everyone, everyone gets a standard 40 cent raise at their yearly review.  Everyone.  No exception.  But I worked more so I deserved more.  And I asked for it.  My supervisor said no no straight away.  I persisted that I worked very hard.  And they couldn’t deny that.  So the head of the department said he could try to ask for more, but it had only ever happened on very few rare occasions.  I said we could at least try, and he said he’d talk to his boss, but don’t get my hopes up.  I didn’t.  But the next week, he said I got it!  I got more than the standard 40 cent raise!!!  One of very few–nobody in recent memory.  But then, because he’s a douche and he doesn’t like me (because I caught him red-handed talking shit about me to another random employee AND went to HR about it)  he ruined the moment by saying, “You got lucky.”  No, you mother-fucker, I did not get lucky, I worked hard and earned it.  And Cool further ruined the occasion by picking one of our biggest fights ever.  So this should be higher on this list, but *sigh* other people. . .  I DID buy myself a really nice fitness tracker as a gift to me.  And it is hands free/cord free/phone free music.  Right on my wrist–with no other device necessary.

7-Zoo Brew

Best idea ever!  With or without alcohol.  The zoo put on a 21 and over event, which is genius.  I don’t always want to have kids pushing me, deal with screaming, and have little people running around scaring the animals and tapping on glass.  As long as you look at the zoo before the adults get out of the alcohol lines, you can see the animals before the adults start to exhibit (pun intended) this behavior.  It’s the first time we ever saw the palace cat out, because it was actually quiet.  Love!  And we went to the very first event, so nobody knew if it yet, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  Subsequent events were fun too, but word had spread and it was more crowded.  That May event–perfect!

giraffes-are-tall

6-my birthday:

I went extravegent for my bithday.  Not because it was a milestone year (33) but more because I had a job where I can take (paid) time off.  So I used it to my advantage and did bunches of things all week.  I got my hair dyed special. mussel-shooters-with-quail-egg She took the color out, then did a rinse so it was subtle, purple highlights.  I loved it!  And as soon as I catch up on money, I’ll get that again.  On your birthday you get to eat whatever you want, even if the other person doesn’t like that kind of food.  Cool is a very picky eater, so I always have to go without a lot of foods.  So I chose sushi.  The restaurant was cute, and had a mural and live music too.  I got a whole platter, which I never do, but it was my birthday, and I had to load up from the prior year of no sushi and the next year of no sushi.  And I got mussel shooters, which are fun to eat!  My actual birthday we paid for Red Butte gardens ($13/person and a total rip-off) which is MUCH smaller than Spokane’s free Manito Garden.  I won’t go back lizlard-wave-up-frontunless there’s a free day.  We went to Red Robin’s for lunch, which I wouldn’t choose, but my blood sugar got low and we had no other recourse and Cool panicked and got irritable.  Then we went to an independent theater and saw one of the films that had been at Sundance Film Festival.  It was “Swiss Army Man” see my review.  I liked it, and figured it out, so felt cool.  Then we had a Grapefruit Ballist Point beer on a patio and it was wonderful.  We had planned to go to our library’s coffee and chocolate class but some obnoxious lady sat immediately next to me, wouldn’t stop engaging me, and when she belched in my face I called it quits and walked out early.  Then sent a long complain letter to the event’s organizer–who turned out to be really, really sweet.  Signed us up for the next month’s (super competitive) class, gave me coupons for free coffee at the library shop, and gave me a birthday gift of 4 artisan chocolate bars!  Like, really sweet and very apologetic (that’s not usually my life).  Anyway, so we went to an oyster restaurant instead.  I like oysters, but found the restaurant very over-priced.  The day after my birthday, Cool had paid for an experience at the aviary.  I got to go in a private room with a parrot and a bird trainer.  The bird painted me a picture.  Well,  actually she went dab-dab dab with the sponge then looked for her food treat.  Then saw she had to dab more to get more food, so quickly dab-dab-dabbed in order to get more treats.  I got to take pictures right up next to her and took my painting by her home.  It was really neat to get up close and personal and she was a cute stuff.

painting-with-picaso-birthday

5-Halloween Costumes

We loved the year we were trick-or-treating, and I’ve always loved Halloween.  But usually, one of us is stuck at work.  This year–neither of us were, so we wanted to do something really big.  A couple’s costume!  So on Sundays we brainstormed and brainstormed, and researched, and planned.  The best, easiest thing for us to do was “Lions Tigers and Bears–Oh my!”  We bought more then we wanted, and made some cool accessories.  Then, I face-paintedgracies-contest-004 gracies-contest-026my little heart out!  It took forever, but we looked good.  We had signed up for a fun-theme-run, so we dressed up for that.  And the zombies chased us.  Cool body-slammed a zombie, and outran the children.  At the end, they had voting for best costume.  Except, they forgot to call us up (they said if you think you’ll win just get up there anyway) so we had to push through the crowd–which Cool is never good at.  There was no raised stage or anything, we were just in a parking-lot, and as short people, we were probably obscured to anyone not in the front row.  And the dope-DJ who was running the thing didn’t say our name properly he called us “a lion and a tiger.”  The voting was by audience cheer.  We got second place, but after all the afore-mentioned factors, I think we were robbed!  And I think the first place winners had stacked the crowd.  So we felt we could do better.  When a local restaurant announced they were having a costume contest for cash prizes ($500 Sunday night, $500 Monday night–when it had been one night the year before for $1000) we had to try!  Even though it meant taking time off work.  So I requested a partial day off Sunday (working corporate and having not only paid vacation, but as-needed employees to cover shifts is so nice!) to gracies-contest-025get ready and go.  I did my very best face-painting work and we hung out at Gracie’s waiting for the voting.  And some ten foot tall tree man took our prize!  With some king and queen getting 2nd, and that Tim Burton wig head dude and his gal-friend taking 3rd.  Disagree and disagree.  We should have at least gotten 2nd!  So we tried one more time and dressed up for work on Monday.  Because their was a contest and a secret prize, and our boss encouraged everyone to dress up.  He didn’t encourage us for work-spirit or anything.  That douche is a nerd and his big hobby is making and dressing up in costumes–even though he’s like, 50.  He has a batman, that could legit-be used for one of the movies.  That’s how much time and money and effort he put into it.  That is an old costume of his.  This year, he was working on a Captain Sparrow costume.  Which I thought was only so-so.  How hard is it to get a mscl-halloween-contest-copydred-wig, a sash, and buy tall boots?!  So we thought we’d at least win the work contest and beat him–cause who doesn’t love a group costume?  But alas, our boss won the whole contest.  And some gal painted herself silver and wore deer antlers (big deal) and beat us for 2nd place.  We didn’t even place at all 😦  So we had fun, and looked good, but this didn’t rank higher because nobody knows how to properly judge a contest, and we should have won, but didn’t.

haunted-5k-186

 

 

4-my thousand day in a row mile

I ran so many days-in-a-row that I made it to #1000 this summer!  To commemorate the occasion, I made flyers at work, inviting people.  Even though I knew those duds and douches wouldn’t show, I was excited and there was an off-chance someone might share in that excitement–plus, I could get acknowledgement of my huge accomplishment, and tie it to my resume that way.  As part of the work in-a-row-2event, I made it a coin drive fund-raiser so we could adopt a bird at the aviary.  The money goes towards feeding and care and they give you free aviary passes, a plush of your bird, and a certificate.  Only my supervisor came to my mile, but I really hadn’t expected anyone at all, so that was OK. I wore my running skirt and felt awesome.  And I used our concert window chalk and painted my accomplishment all over Rusty.  On the way from the fundraiser to work, I was stuck in traffic.  I don’t use my air conditioner–ever–in order to save money, so my windows were both down.  I heard a, “I promise I’m not hitting on you.”  Firstly, I didn’t expect it.  Secondly, I thought–that can’t be for ME.  Thirdly, I was like–do I really want to engage with this?  So after a long time, I turned my head, and some guy stuck in the traffic jam beside me, asked, “Did you really run so many days in a row???  That’s cool!”  So that was nice.  While I was at work that night, our Hispanic cleaning gal brought her whole family inside our lab.  They all looked really happy, and they asked if any of us spoke Spanish–none of us do, all of us randomly speak German, if any second language at all.  Her husband had his phone and somehow conveyed that they wanted to buy a car.  I heard “Isuzu” and realized what happened.  They saw all my window paint, but couldn’t read English.  So they assumed I was selling my beautiful Rusty for $1000, and they were ready to take it that night!  I was like, “No, no,no, not for sale.”  And they looked very disappointed.  And everyone in my lab teased me that I broke their hearts for the rest of that week.  Only like 3 people at work donated to the coin drive (I TOLD you I work with duds) but 2 of them donated $20s.  So we got to adopt a bird for $50.  I chose a black vulture 1) because vultures are important to our world and Andy N. Condor has enlightened me to their cuteness and cause. 2) Little Chewy and Vader of Tracy Aviary didn’t have any sponsors for 2016, and that made me sad for them.  3)  Our lab is SO vulture!   We are the clean-up crew of the medical industry as we have to sniff out mistakes and correct them.  We deal with icky samples.  And–we’re all anti-social and sort of put-down upon by the hoity-toity management and the super-social client services and phlebotomists.   I hung the flyer, the certificate/facts, and the vulture plush in the lab.  Everybody likes it and we named out vulture plush, Culture, which is appropriate for us.

1000th-mile-in-a-row-003

3-Brandi’s concert

Brandi always makes our list.  She always puts on an exciting show that you come away from amped up.  But the venue was awesome!  We were right in the middle of the Deer Valley bunny area, with mountains and trees all around.  And Park City is always fun–we of course snuck into their mini Arts-Fest (only for 2 min) and ate beer cheese pretzels and drank cocktails at our fave- High West.  It also made it the best time because we packed our own tailgate and pic-nic.  We had greek pitas, watermelon-rum slushees, salads and s’mores in (separate) mason jars.  It was delicious, and topped off the day nicely.  Oh, and we got the very best parking spot where we could exit the concert first, and easily, because one of the Deer Valley maintenance workers gave us a good tip.

brandi-date

2-Utah Arts Festival

It was bigger and better then I ever expected!  There were booths where we got to see SLC’s creative side.  The live music was cool, and we got to see Beats Antique–a legit band that made my countdown–at the end, right in the park.  The highlight of the day was getting a sampling of foods from there different food trucks.  And we came home with Rogue Bear and a beautiful pinned moth.

power-lunch

1.rodeo

We wanted to do something on our holiday weekend, but didn’t know what exactly.  At that time, we lived right pioneer-days-rodeowithin walking of downtown, but lots of things were closed, and nothing pioneer-days-rodeo-2016spectacular was going on.  But they do convert the whole arena each year for “Pioneer Days Rodeo.”  We thought we’d go check it out and kill some time.  We both wore our best cowgirl outfits and walked down.  Out front we stumbled on to a signing!  It was my dream at pretty much every event I’ve ever attended to have a meet and greet with the main person, but that’s not my life.  And here, we were standing in the middle of a meet & greet, but we didn’t know who any of the rodeo people were. . .  Still, the main guy invited us to get autographs, gave us a magazine to get signed, we had hats for them to sign.  They talked, and took pictures.  Everyone was really nice!  And inside the rodeo we had a lot of fun and excitement watching all the events.  We had no idea we would like the rodeo so much!  We had SO much fun that while we were sitting in the stands, we used my phone to buy tickets for the next evening as well.

 

So that’s the best of 2016, and I look forward to an very very much better 2017!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 in Review: The Bad–and there was plenty

2 Jan

what a shit-show

Lots of bad stuff happened all year.  Cool’s mom died which caused a cascade of bad reactions and terrible events.  Cool’s bipolar was off the heezy, up and down and up and further up–making life complex and terrible.  My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo surgery and radiation.  My dad was diagnosed with early Parkinson’s Disease.  Those events aren’t in my countdown, because even though they sucked–they aren’t MY events to claim.  But they did negatively affect me.

 

Here’s how 2016 started:  I had to work on New Year’s Eve 2015.  Of course either everyone else either planned ahead and took the day off, or called out sick.  But I was still in my first 90 days, so I wasn’t yet eligible for any time off.  So it was me and my supervisor for half of it.  Till she coerced another co-worker to come in by reminding him that he wouldn’t get paid for the holiday if he didn’t show up to the shift immediately proceeding it.  This was typical stuff for my work history–I was used to Noh’s Ark 20s-something shenanigans.  While I was at work, Cool was getting her drink on.  Mind you, we had been abstinent for 2 whole years.  And we had not discussed adding alcohol back into our lives–she just grabbed it impulsively.  And drank it.  Even though she was home alone.  Long story short, by the time I rushed home from work for the countdown, Cool had already over-done it, was tired, then went to puke.  And she vomited, not down in the toilet, but from above–so it got everywhere!  It was the bad omen that started 2016.

vomit

The year went on like that–one thing after another.  I spent a lot of time writing my music blog.  I spent a ton of time editing pictures, writing descriptions, and putting in order–my good moments of 2016.  These moments sucked.  I’m tired of thinking about them-tired of dwelling on them.  I’ll quick-write these and be done.  I’m worn down from 2016, and hoping for a very tranquil 2017.

 

 

 

 

Bottom Moments:

9-I got a flu.  For the first time I can remember–aside from childhood sicknesses.  My fever lasted 5 days!  I was miserable.  I lost a week of unpacking and errands.

8-I got the impossible raise by negotiating.  This one hurts because it should have been such a GOOD moment.  But then my boss ruined my moment by being an ass.  He doesn’t like me and makes no bones about it.  He wished his favorite employees had earned the big raise instead, and resented the fact my pay is so high now.  He said, “You got lucky.”  Ummm, nice.  What a douche!  Also, Cool ruined my celebration by picking a fight–one of our biggest fights ever.  Not awesome.

7-The moving process, because it is always a headache.  We had to hire movers because the washer/dryer unit weighs 240 pounds.  Nothing is simple when you are moving from a basement to a third floor unit 35 minutes away.  Cool works days and I work nights so we had to work alone.  And then, I hated the stupid, non-functional layout of the new apartment, and not being able to unpack.  What a money-pit.

6-Our cute neighborhood with so much potential suddenly went downhill.  It went from quiet with tons of potential to ghetto and dangerous in about three weeks.  A homeless family made camp in our apartment’s parking lot.  People started walked by, peering into our living room window, casing the joint.  The police started showing up to various units routinely (see blog).  Starting to feel unsafe walking from my car to the apartment when I got home in the early morning hours felt awful.  Knowing the owner didn’t care about our safety and wellbeing, and wasn’t going to do anything to improve the situation was frustrating.  And learning that no one else could help us, because it was private property felt hopeless.

5-Cool got in a 6x roll-over accident and totaled her car.  But she lived.  It’s a miracle.  Except it happened 1 week before we moved!  The timing for it was the worst.  And I had to call out sick twice as a result of the crash, possible head injury, then her anxiety about it.  And now, I have to do all the shopping, all the errands, and take her to the pharmacy and anywhere else she needs to go.

4-working with effing lazy people every day.  Doing way more then my share of the work–every day.  Seeing my lazy co-workers be–lazy.  Resentment.  Getting held hostage by slowness of coworkers despite doing all the work.  Going home late in every scenario.  Being tired all the time.  Starting the next shift tired, and doing all the work (tired) again, in the hopes of leaving earlier and getting more sleep.  Failing at this night after night.  Really got me down.

3-Working with Catty.  I started dreading work every Monday.  I didn’t want to talk at work.  I didn’t want to stand up at any time, lest be judged by her.  I didn’t want to turn my head.  I felt self-conscious.  We had to trade recs and it was horrible.  She was a bitch and made me feel small and edgy.  She was my boss’ friend.  She had been there much longer and knew everyone.  She hated me.

2-Cool ambushed me.  And I found out she had gone “Mean Girls” against me for quite some time.  I broke up with her and kicked her out of the apartment.  Then, I had to work with the bitch (the afore-mentioned Catty) who initiated the whole thing–every Monday.  Sitting immediately sitting next to her, and having to trade requisitions to verify stressed me out!  Cool was ridiculous, and everything was tumultuous.  Suddenly, I felt very alone in Utah–in the world.  I was furious, and knew she was being THE WORST, yet my heart hurt.

1-window harassment (because the fear lasted longer then Cool’s ambush).  When someone started harassing us by knocking on our bedroom window several times, it was time to go.  I lay awake at night listening, anticipating with dread someone coming back, and breaking in.  I heard sounds, saw lights.  I had to plan what to do if someone got in when we weren’t home.  When we were sleeping.  While I was alone.  When Cool was home alone.  We had so much dread.  It was awful.  And in a horrible year of a lot of big, awful events–it was the worst.  By just a little bit.

2016 Albums

1 Jan

Here is my annual countdown of top albums.  I actually kept up on it throughout the year, and things are much better researched as a result.  I tried to listen to all the big name artists and my favorite artists as they came out in 2016.  And if I had extra time, I listened to genres I like or names I thought sounded cool, or whatever Spotify suggested.  This might be my best work yet!  From last 2016 album that made the cut, to my top choice for 2016’s album of the year:

 

26.  Melissa Etheridge:  I was pretty surprised myself at how far down the list her album felt.  The main problem?  Trying too hard, and it’s a pretty grave error.  I gave leniency to artists who tried something different (and fell a little short), who only came away with 1 or 2 songs I liked, or who just kinda did the same thing they’ve always done and sounded boring as a result.  But Etheridge, is lower, because it’s like she feels a little washed up and is insecure.  I liked “Born Under a Bad Sign” but it’s a cover and let’s face it, Homer Simpson sings that like a boss.  Melissa needs to regain confidence, have a message again, and regain some passion.

25.  Alicia Keys:  I wanted to like it.  I like the stripped down, no makeup cover.  I like the message of empowered women.  I did not, however, and unfortunately, really like the album.  I wanted it to be more piano-driven.  I wanted more range in the singing.  I wanted it to be a little softer.  What I got was a LOT of 1990’s throw-back, complete with pseudo telephone call interlude and everything.  I got a toughness.  I got disappointed.  I didn’t hate “Blended Family” and I thought “Pawn It All” with it’s soul/blues vibe was the stand-out song.

24.  Bon Iver- Experimental and jarring.  I liked the last albums because it was calming and relaxing.  This one is definitively-NOT.  I can see he was trying to do some avant-garrd electronic, but the music lost it’s dreamy, meditative quality in the process.

23.  Bruce Springstean:  I like this album better than I like his other stuff (not at all).  It sounds like a blue-collar worker that just got off a double shift and stepped up on the kariokee stage–a beer in hand, of course.  It’s gritty and rugged.

 

–>>We’re entering the neutral zone.  Nothing really BAD, but not super-interesting either<<——-

22.  Gavin DeGraw:  I can hear influences of Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars.  It’s OK, but DeGraw needs to find his own voice.

21.  The Head and the Heart:  I saw these guys open for Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge one year.  And I don’t remember a thing about them.  This album is much the same.  There is nothing wrong with the music.  It’s pleasing, it’s plesant enough, it’s fine.  It’s just hardly worth mention.

20.  Hank Williams:  This bawdy tavern album should precede this fictional evening of frightened rabbits.  It’s amped up, energetic, and rowdy–as it should be.  Nothing new here though.  One Trick Pony.

19. Frightened Rabbits:  It’s Irish music after the party.  When everyone has passed their drinking limit, and the raucous singing and jigging is done, and people are passing out or crying.  Still an integral part of the scene, but certainly not the upbeat story of the beginning of the night.

18. Brittany Spears:  Is ever the perky, dancy pop star in this new (and every previous) album.  This time she seems to have more command.  The lyrics indicate she’s taking control and will not be pushed around.  The tracks are intentional.

17.  Dawes- Easy-listening.  It’s good background with nothing wrong about it.  The reason it doesn’t rank higher, is that it also has nothing particularly interesting about it either.

16.  Elton John:  I have always liked Ser John, from the crazy-saucy 1970’s-1980’s sing-alongs to the quieter, more reserved “Peachtree Road” and “The Diving Board” CD’s.  This album falls in with the more subdued fare, and that’s fine.  But compared to the previous 2 albums, it’s a little. . .  Dare I say, boring.

15.  Kings of Leon- Hipster rock.  It’s a staple.  It’s good in the car.  It reminds me of Seattle.  This album is a good effort-though there’s not a “Sex on Fire” stunner ready for radio.  “Around the World” does come closest to main-stream appeal.

14.  James Vincent McMorrow:  This music is chill.  Good for background.  It’s the type of album you would play for a quiet dinner party or to relax in the tub.  It’s the vibe Bon Iver used to be–before all that experimental SOUND intruded.

13.  Sum 41:  What a surprise entry!  I did not expect much from this band-a decade past its peak.  I was happily pleased to hear a still punkish, but more mature set.  “The Fall and the Rise” rivals anything by Green Day.  It’s throbbing beat and rebel lyrics really open up the album and made me want to hear more.  “War” is another winner.

12.  Lady Gaga:  I can’t decide if I’m inspired or annoyed by Lady Gaga’s career directory.  She ripped off the Club Kid dress code, introducing it to the mainstream as if it were her own.  And now she’s shamelessly stealing Madonna’s singing arc, going from pop hits, to more serious fare.  It’s a good recipe for longevity, but I’m not so sure I’m ready to hear her more serious side (and see her business acumen in action).  And I stand by my opinion that the Superbowl’s national anthem was awful–even if I’m the only one alive who thinks that.  But it did help to contribute to the new image of maturity this album is going for.  The standout track on Joanne is most certainly “Million Reasons” which shows Lady Gaga isn’t just photo-worthy, but has inspiring lyrics and a good voice.  Bottom line-once you get used to the fact the party-phase is over, this album is a sturdy offering.

11.  OneRepublic-  They used to be one of my new favorite bands.  I thought the songs were catchy and I liked the Native American flair of the last album.  Except this album is SO electro-pop.  A total copy-cat of Daft Punk–who I don’t think are that great.  Yeah, I said it.  I think Daft Punk is over-hyped.  And ‘Oh My My’ is is rip off of that.  Still, this review isn’t a dislike–it’s just relative to previous works and other music on this list.  Despite my harsh criticisms, I do like several of the songs.  “Lift Me Up,” NbHD,” “Wherever I Go,” are catchy, and “Better” a Twenty-One Pilots-eske electro-pap (that’s the word I coined for pop-rap) gets stuck in my head every time I hear it.

10.  Green Day-  It’s a little wrote.  Maybe they’re past their prime.  And certainly if the band is still considered (sell-out) punk, it’s barely.  But they were one of the first bands I liked, they are one of the most continuously good producers of music, and there are a few stand out tracks.  “Bang Bang” is saucy and hard-core, probably the most punk on the album, and maybe for the last few albums.  My favorite track, and the best political statement is, “We Live in Troubled Times,” which in light of this Trump victory is a spotlight to current events, and a prophecy of the future.  “Revolution Radio” and “Still Breathing” are catchy.  The rest are a little tired, but in a dearth of (main-stream) punk artists–still relevant.

9.  The Avett Brothers:  This album feels more. . .  Communal.  It’s a sort of folksy, around-the-campfire sound.  “Satin Pulls the Strings” has the rock that I look for with The Avvett Brother’s material, but the rest of the tracks were a little lighter fare.  Like they have mellowed a little–or are trying to break into that Americana Grammy category.  “Divorce Seperation Blues” with the yodelling, harkens a Dude Ranch weekend–whimsical, yet relevant to today.  I think this is one of theose albums, that you grow an appreciation for the more you listen.  And the nature of this list is sort of listen once and rate.  I think I’ll like it more and more when I’m not judging for a countdown.

8.  The Lumineers:  I’ll be honest–I expected more.  Don’t get me wrong, ‘Cleopatra’ is listed toward the top of this list for a reason.  I just really, really liked the acoustic partially-bluegrass sounds of their last album.  But all that’s gone.  The bluegrass portion of the music, anyway.  It has that stripped down feel, and unpolished sound that has been secretly perfected.  But the foot tapping aspects are no more.  Still, “Ophelia” and “Cleopatra” are catchy, radio-worthy high points of the record.

–>  getting good<–

7.  Michael Buble:  We all know Buble is my boyfriend.  And I think his business plan of jumping into an empty genre, and pandering to the middle-aged women is a genius.  But I was torn this year.  I couldn’t decide if the album was–too much pandering and disengenuine, or the result of a true passion for the almost forgotten swing genre.  It goes pretty far to the Sinatra crooning sound.  I had to take some points off his ranking because the answer to that question wasn’t quite clear to me.  But if he does MEAN it, the album is another great work.  But certainly intent matters, here.  My favorite song, is “I Wanna be Around,”  which I could not tell at first if it was a love song or a break up song.   Another strong song is the “Nobody But Me, alternate version with trumpet.”

6.  Panic!  At the Disco:  High energy!  This album is certainly a rejuvenation for the band.  I don’t follow the band members, but the sound leads me to believe a major life obstacle has just been surmounted.  Everything feels new and hopeful and exciting.  I originally heard one of the tracks in Lake Tahoe, and I felt like I was behind the times.  Because it seemed like the song had already broken out ages ago–which was not the case.  It just FELT like I missed the boat, because this is one of those albums, then when you listen to it, makes you cooler than you actually are.  Also, with original ideas over sampled tunes, this is the newest album, that seems like a familiar, old friend.  Each song could be a single.  This is a party album, a running mix, and a car-trip standby.

5.  Adele:  Everything you expect from Adele:  The soulful sound, pitch-prefect singing, that longing voice conveying heart ache.  It’s a solid effort, and yes, even though “Hello” has been parodied to death–I still think it’s the stand-out track.  “River Lea” is also really nice

4.  Lukas Graham:  A new artist, but so good that the album made my best albums of 2016 list.  The first weekend I heard this self-titled album, by this Denmark native, I was ready to make it the number 1 album of 2016.  It’s good.  I love it.  It’s different–piano, rap, R&B, blues, rock and soul can all be heard.  The singing holds up, and can almost feel gospel.  The lyrics tell a story, and it feels spiritual.  My only negative is that the music doesn’t stand up to the test of time for one reason only.  I guess America isn’t as family-oriented as many countries, because after a bit, the common mention of family got a little distracting and. . .  Tiresome?  It isn’t like close family ties are boring or annoying to hear about, but Graham mentions his family in nearly every song–and it IS just this side of too much.  But that’s a small complaint.

3.  Regina Spektor:  I usually have to be in a certain mood to listen to Specktor.  And who doesn’t hate that damned, SUPER-long “Orange is the new Black” intro that goes on and on and on while showing creepy pieces of weird faces?!  I can’t STAND that, and after like a full 5 minutes it sucks the life right out of me.  Especially during a binge-watching marathon–which, P.S. there is no other way to watch the series.  We have the fast-forwarding down to a science, and I implore Netflix to only show the intro on the first episode of a season.  Because HATE!  Anyway, Specktor, or re-GINA (rhymes with female anatomy) as I call her can get too wail-ey and spoken word poetry for me.  Normally.  I really thought her newest album overcomes all that and is female music without being too much.  “Bleeding Heart” could even be a radio single.

–>great!<–

2.  Beats Antique-  A coworker played this, introducing me to the world music, circus, jazz electronic, that I believe has technically been around for years and years already.  And as I’ve listened more and more in 2016, I feel like I’ve already been a fan for years and years.  The music just attaches in your psyche and resonates.  I saw them in concert, and thought their stage show was severely lacking–especially for such an experienced and well traveled band.  While the music calls for tigers jumping through hoops, cobras in baskets, and belly dancers, the best they did was stand holding a golden hoop.  At any rate, I hope they go mainstream.  This album is worldly and electronic, and experimental as ever–like you’d hope.  But it also harkens back to Jazz and Blues and makes you feel like you’re sitting in a dark corner of Louisiana enjoying a hurricane.

1. Kaleo:  Technically, should be listed under best new artist, but was so great they made it to my best overall album of the year list.  Well-rounded and singable, but also seriously substantial.  I love “Way Down We Go” with such obvious gospel influence is the leading single.  The band is fun to listen to, but by no means lighthearted fare.  It inspires thought.  Take “Broken Bones” with its folksy, chain-gang feel.  It makes me look to history, and acknowledge the fact that music is one of the few places where black people have carved out a platform to talk about their lives, challenges, and political concerns.  Rap music didn’t just stem from nowhere.  “Automobile” hearkens back to that 1970s story-telling song vibe.  And it’s got a catchy hook also.  “All the Pretty Girls” sounds like Bon Iver and James Vincent McMorrow, in that it’s quiet and sweet.  But I think it’s more catchy than those artists with it’s get-it-stuck-in-your-head ‘won’t you lay me down’ chorus.

 

Best New Artist in 2016

31 Dec

Countdown to the Best New (to me) Artist of 2016:

14. Cat’s Eyes- 1950’s type pop that reminds me of Linda Gore.

13. Moose Blood- Best band name, but a little bit of a depressing sound. Not bad, just a little more down then I usually gravitate toward. I would listen to another one of their albums.

12. Banks- Tough-gal, with R&B flavor and club beat.

11. The Brothers Osborne: Country and feisty. These songs WILL get stuck in your head.

10. Girl Blue- Clearly someone to keep your eye on. There is so much potential here. “Call Me Home” is soft and sweet, “One and Only” is tough and strong. I can’t wait to see where she goes, I don’t think this will be the last we hear of Girl Blue.

9. Shovels & Rope- The frenetic pace of the music is amped up and interesting. They would have rated higher if the singing was a little more pleasing. It sounds like loud talking, really. But the music is different and makes up for the shout-sings–mostly.

8. Maren Morris- The recording quality is poor, like, really, really bad-probably the worst on this list. It sounds like someone sitting in a bar held their phone up and then uploaded it. It’s sort of hollow and 1980s cassette tape–taped over a few times. The quality of the work itself is nice though. I find Morris’ lyrics and singing refreshing. “My Church” is one of my favorite tracks and speaks to how a passion can be almost spiritual. I don’t know if she writes all of her own songs, but she wrote at least one, “Second Wind” that Kelly Clarkson recorded. I like how the songs are country, but saucy. See “Drunk Girls Don’t Cry” a poem on raising your standards as a female. It’s progressive ideas in a country format–I like it!

7. The Mowgli’s- I think they may have had a prior album–but I don’t think I’ve heard anything from it. This album is sort of a soft-country crossed with Hansen sometimes (“Alone Sometimes”) and The Plain White Tees (“Arms & Legs”) other times.

6.  Shawn Mendes- Maybe he was around in 2015 and earlier, it sure seems like his “stiches” song has been at least. But I don’t know if the whole album was out earlier, or if the single dropped very early in 2016. At any rate, I see great potential here. It’s like a more mature Bieber. And “Air,” “No Promised,” and “Bad Reputation” grab you instantly.

5. The Ballroom Thieves- The background instrumentation is really the star here. There is a cello? It lends a resonant, interesting sound to the trend of going hipster-bluegrass. Don’t get me wrong, hipster-bluegrass is probably my favorite genre right now, but bands shouldn’t be doing it only to break in the business or get into a smaller awards category.

4. NEEDTOBREATHE- Let me get this out of the way first–I hate when artists use mispellings, all caps, symbols, numbers, or other nonsense in their name. All caps, one word? Sigh. But the sound is Kings of Leon meets Fall Out Boy in a church choir. It’s kinda hipster, with roack and gospel. I especially like “Happiness” with it’s churchy vibe, “Don’t Bring That” that sounds like music played in a car chase, and “Great Night” feat Shovels & Rope.

3. American Authors- Bouncy, happy, and just enough electronic to suit the Millennials.

2. Tim Moxam- Hipster country. Gentle strumming, and an old school country singing style. It’s right up my alley. “Harvest for the Queen” is so great of a song! It’s poetry on guitar.

1. The Heavy- My favorite new artist of 2016! Check out “Big Bad Wolf” and tell me you’re not a fan too. It’s interesting and upbeat. “Short Change Hero” addresses sociology in a catchy way. They sound like a cross between CeeLo Green and Lord Huron. A little bit hipster, a teeny bit motown. It’s a really good mix, and I can’t wait for more.