Tag Archives: money

Hit By Car

31 Jan

Last Saturday, we skipped cleaning the apartment and calling my parents in favor of going to the zoo.  We love zoos, and last time we went to the Phoenix Zoo (our first time since moving here) we hadn’t realized it closes at 4 PM.  So we had missed 1/3 of it.

We dressed in our brightest orange shirts.  Little known secret-if you dress in super-bright colors you see more animals, better.  The animals will come out of hiding places, wake up, and engage with YOU because you are bright and interesting to them.  We learned of this at Salt Lake City’s Tracy Aviary.  A bird was in the middle of a training session in preparation for the open air show they do.  It saw Cool in a bright shirt, and flew away from its trainer to check her out.  Ever since then, we have been an effort to make sure and wear our brights–I usually do, anyway.

Navigating parking isn’t fun.  It sucks enjoyment out of it for me because I don’t like driving, dealing with traffic and unfamiliar roads, or finding/paying for parking.  We moved to this apartment in part, because it’s within a reasonable walking distance to the light rail.  It’s 1.8 (maybe 0.8?) miles walk.  Easy for us since we are constantly walking to the canal to run, walking around the city to explore, and walking for exercise or enjoyment.  We’ve walked more than 3 miles at a time at least 4 times in the last month, and one day we went 7 miles.  It’s routine.  Anyway, we walked to rail and went to the zoo on public transportation.

Our day at the zoo was really fun.  Many exciting things happened.  But this particular post isn’t about that.  We made a full day of it and got tired so decided to head home around 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon.  We commented how rail is the worst on the way home, because it’s so easy just to drive and be directly, and quickly there.  Alas, we walked to the stop, waited for one to come, endured many stops, and got out at the stop closest to home.  Then, we just had to walk the last couple of miles as we have done so many times before.

At the last intersection before home we had to cross south, then cross west before walking the last block home.  The light is always long at that intersection.  The traffic was heavy in all directions, being a Saturday afternoon.  2 bikes and another walker (or was it 2 walkers and a bike?) were waiting opposite us to cross north.  Finally, the light changed, we got our walk sign, and began to cross-as did everybody else.  There are 3 lanes in each direction, and the 4 main ones were all full of cars waiting at the red light, ready to speed westward when our turn was finished.  What wasn’t full was the right-most lane.

Cool usually walks slower than I do.  She nearly always lags behind me, so that I’m constantly nagging her to catch up/keep up.  That day, she was out in front.  I don’t know why.  She was halfway across the first lane and I was a little in the intersection, when a black car came up.  Time slowed down and I had several thoughts as this happened

The car will slow down

The front bumper of this car is literally touching my shins

When this car stops, I’m going to look up and glare at the driver-asshole!

Simultaneously:

I have to jump back to get out from in front of this car

and

Cool is too far away, I can neither pull her back out of the road, nor push her forward out of the way.

The car is NOT stopping!

The black car, which had a Jimmy John’s sign on the driver’s side roof HIT Cool.  She was just past the center point of the front hood.  The car almost hit her right at its middle point–this was not like me, an almost got hit.  It was also not, feel the wind a close call.  Cool didn’t get hit a little on a corner or at an angle.  She got hit in the center of the car, because she was in the center of the lane–maybe just past it.

It struck me (pun) how hard Cool was hit.  I couldn’t believe my eyes, and my brain was astonished that this was really happening.  The car making a right turn on red (west bound with intention of heading north-bound) when it struck Cool hard.

What my brain also noticed was that instead of going down and under like I’d thought, Cool was lifted off her feet.  She hit the hood of the car with everything from her ankles up.  Physics are sometimes counterintuitive.

And she hit hard, with a dramatic crunching sound.  It ran through my mind that a lot of people might saaay they’ve been “hit by a car,” when what they really mean is they had a close call, got pinged by a little edge of the car, or felt the wind.  I thought-Cool is getting hit by a car–for real.

Then, she bounced off the car and into the street.  I didn’t really see her land, because my attention turned to the driver.  I was furious!  The driver  only noticed people in the crosswalk AFTER Cool bounced off her car.  Even though we had the right of way, and both of us were in bright ORANGE shirts.  She had been on her cell phone.

The driver opened the door and leaned halfway out, black curly hair coming out wildly from under the black Jimmy John’s cap.  She was wild-eyed in terror and said, “should I call an ambulance?!”  I looked right at her and yelled, “Pay attention!”  She totally ignored me and panic-stricken repeated, “Do you need me to call an ambulance?” And I repeated, “You need to pay attention!

Then I turned my attention back to Cool, who was sitting up in the road.  She looked to be in one piece.  I didn’t see anything dramatic wrong with her.  And she looked like she was in shock, but not brain-damaged.  Her eyes and face looked OK to me.

All I thought was, we need to get home.  I didn’t want a repeat of the snowboard incident (that took us 4 years to pay off) so I wanted to get her home.  I tugged on her arm, trying to help her up and said, “get up, get up.”  She didn’t attempt to get up at all, and I knew she was in shock after taking a big hit like that.  I coaxed, “please get up, c’mon get up, get up, honey, get up.”  She thought for a minute, then stood up.

She made a shuddering sound and I thought she might cry.  Which is fine, but we were in the middle of the street, and I also didn’t want her to think too much so that she collapsed and we couldn’t get home.

Cool has been known to be a hypochondriac, and this was a ‘for-real’ big thing, so I didn’t want her to think about it and aggrandize it any bigger than it already was.  I figured we would get her out of the busy street, get her inside the house so I didn’t have to carry her or something, and THEN we would take an inventory of the damage and deal with whatever from there.

She limped as we walked the rest of the way through the crosswalk, and I didn’t know what injuries she might have sustained or the severity of them.  But I didn’t want to find out in the middle of the desert street.

I was obviously distracted, but I don’t remember any of the other pedestrians crossing the way actually stopping.  And I can’t recall any of them voicing concern, or asking Cool if she was OK.  I think they just continued on their way.

The other thing I think  I remember, but I’m not sure, and it doesn’t seem right, is I think I saw we still had 13 seconds on the crosswalk countdown.  But that doesn’t seem right at all, so much happened, I don’t know how it could have been that fast. . .  But I don’t think the traffic went through and the light changed cycles either.

On the way across, one of the drivers of a car waiting at the red light rolled down their window and asked if Cool was alright.  I don’t remember what either of us answered, but I thought that was nice of him.

Then, I don’t know if I was preoccupied with worry, or also in shock, but I don’t remember waiting for the next crosswalk sign.  We had to now cross the other street in the intersection west, and I remember standing there a long time.  I remember  Cool seemed like she might start crying again, and I told her she could cry, but please wait til we were safely home.  And I remember another bicyclist was waiting also, to cross south where we had just come from.  I think he missed the incident, because he told me we could cross, but when I looked up I’m sure I saw the red hand.  So I don’t know if we were out of it and missed our turn, or if he saw no cars so he suggested we shouldn’t wait for our signal or what.  But I saw the red hand and told him she was just literally hit by a car, we’re not taking any chances.

I thought I should call Jimmy John’s and report their careless driver.  Mostly, I wanted them to reprimand her, and send a company-wide message to not be using cell phones while making deliveries.  I called the closest location, and the manager wasn’t helpful.  She kept (pretending) not to hear my story of what just happened, and didn’t really want to deal with me.  She ended the call by saying that no female delivery drivers were actually on the schedule–now.  I called the other closest branch, and that manager said he doesn’t even have any females employed as delivary drivers.  The third, farther location didn’t really make sense, but I called and some dope answered.  Turns out, the dope WAS the manager, and in charge of scheduling, but also didn’t have any females driving that day.  I asked to speak to HIS boss.  He told me he didn’t have the phone #.  I asked for the corporate number, and he did seem to take a while to try to find it–I could hear him shuffling papers, then typing.  I feel this ought to be easily found, but he never could help me and he sent me to the internet.

We got home, and I was busy trying to find corporate Jimmy John’s.  When I finally did, they had regular business hours only M-F 9-5–must be nice.

Cool seemed OK when we got home.  Her clothes were half ruined–covered with a fat stripe of road tar.  And her elbow and knee had the same road-rash tar scrapes.  She complained 1 little spot of her jaw hurt, and there was a lump.  Other than that, there was nothing to even take pictures of.  She was sore, but nothing big happened.  Thank goodness–that’s not usually our life!

She took a shower right then, because I was afraid signs of concussion might come on and she wouldn’t be able to stand.  We tried to scrub tar out of her wounds, but there were a lot of micro-scraps from the asphalt and the tar was pretty well embedded.

Luckily, she was OK. It was still one of the scariest things that has ever happened!

Kelsea Ballerini talks to Taylor Swift, Figurative Homecoming Queen, About Coming Out

23 Jan

I know this song is probably about Kelsea, herself. But I found a lot of compelling call-backs to Taylor’s lyrics and life. I think lyrics can have a surface-level meaning, and a deeper, more hidden secondary interpretation. Given Kelsea’s lyrics and videos I also think Kelsea and Taylor were together in some capacity, so Kelsea might have written this song with Taylor in mind.

Hey homecoming queen

Before I get into my research I will tell a story about my high school’s homecoming queen:

My Senior year the school voted Stephanie (name changed to the most common female name in my school for privacy) as our Homecoming Queen. Stephanie had been on cheerleading all 4 years of high school, but she wasn’t the “typical” popular girl represented in movies. I hadn’t thought of her as the most popular girl in school either, though she hung out in the most popular group of girls in my high school. As a matter of fact when her and her sister moved to our small, rural town in seventh grade, everyone made fun of Stephanie (her sister was a grade below so I’m not sure what her experience had been). Stephanie was in my peripheral friend group in middle school and sat with us in English class. She seemed well-intentioned and considerate, but I never knew her very well, because she also seemed uncomfortable and shy. My small class had known each other since kindergarten so anyone new was an anomaly and outsider just because they had already missed so much. I’m sure she felt that. Also, the boys were dicks.

In high school everything changed for her. Stephanie was kind and unproblematic, so she was easy to like. We carpooled to cheerleading practice all summer, and our birthdays are only two days apart so we had that in common. She came to my sixteenth birthday party and was nice to everyone, but we were never the type of friends that told each other secrets or anything like that. I don’t think she got very close with too many people…

Though she was thin, she preferred to base stunts, showing her strength by lifting other girls high in the air. She was determined and practiced hard–she was not in cheerleading just to look cute or gain popularity-though she did both of those things too. Stephanie (and her sister) were the type of pretty that stood out in our year books. They were beautiful and probably could have even modeled if they had wanted to (and had the financial backing to do so). But Stephanie was not just gorgeous, at practice Stephanie was always strong and tough, and I think she had to be resilient outside of practice too. Stephanie’s parents were divorced but lived together for financial reasons. Once her dad came to cheerleading practice drunk and the vice principal had to tell him to leave. The sisters were devastated and embarrassed, but we never heard details or saw anything like that again. You would never know there were family issues or poverty or anything aside from that one small peek into their world. The sisters excelled at academics and participated in cheer, and were well-liked and never let on anything was wrong. Stephanie dated the star kicker on the football team long-term, and they both just seemed nice. I think she leaned on him for support and they were together a lot. Her mom asked him to buy her cigarettes because he was a bit older.

When Stephanie was crowned homecoming queen I was happy for her. I was glad a genuinely kindhearted person won the coveted title. And just to end this little story, based off of Facebook, I think her and her sister both have happy lives. Stephanie joined the Coast Guard (I told you she was gritty and fit!) for a bit and is now married and has at least one child. Her sister got married and looked very happy and may have children as well (IDK I deleted sketchy Facebook so now I don’t know anything about anybody anymore). To sum up, homecoming queens are pretty and popular, but I think they also have to be smart, involved in school, and personable. And they have problems just like the rest of us.

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Taylor Swift was never a homecoming queen:

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Taylor never got to experience many high school milestones because she was working on her career. Yet, Taylor’s career epitomizes what it is to be the homecoming queen. She is beautiful and popular. Also, Taylor’s celebrity is crafted on the every-girl image. She portrays herself as one of us, and has actually reached out to fans on a “personal” level. Taylor is smart and a role model. She told us in several songs about having the crown during her career.

Adjacent but related:

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Part of me feels sorry that Taylor had to miss milestones that mark an (American) teenager’s life. The other part remembers her career has been so exciting, acclimatory, and lucrative that it’s difficult to quite see her as a tragic figure.

Anyway, I can see why Kelsea, an underclassman to Taylor in age and career, might see Taylor as emblematic of a homecoming queen.

Why do you lie/When somebody’s mean?

Common word or intentional call-back to Taylor’s song, Mean?

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We know Taylor is afraid of criticism, and is fretful about her public image:

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Taylor and Kelsea are 4 years apart in age.

For example in 2003, this legislation was passed:

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Since Taylor was 14 years old, a teenager, this might have made an impact on her views of sexuality [socially unacceptable to be anything other than straight]. But Kelsea would have been in elementary school so this might not have even been on her radar. During Ellen DeGeneres’ coming out, and the backlash against her, Taylor would have been around 8 and Kelsea just a tot. Fred Phelps, of “God hates fags” died in 2014 when Taylor was around 24 years old and Kelsea was just getting signed as an artist. Kelsea wasn’t exposed to a lot of things Taylor saw and experienced just that short time earlier, which could explain the different mentalities about queerness. Kelsea sees coming out as something authentic and worth doing, while Taylor sees it as apocalyptic.

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Kelsea asks Taylor why do you lie when somebody’s mean, and I think she’s talking about this exact situation. Why do you closet when someone questions your sexuality?

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Where do you hide?

Taylor has been indoctrinated by parents, career authorities, and society to hide her sexuality. Tolerate It talks about feeling othered.

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This man (her father? The studio execs?) covered up Taylor’s rough edges [barbed wire]. They hid the “bad” [queer] parts of her to make her more acceptable for public consumption.

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I wonder if the clues she didn’t see might be Taylor thinking about the gaslighting in Tolerate it— ‘it’s all in your head.’ Taylor shows she has internalized these men’s attitudes somewhat. She wonders if maybe she is interested in boys and just didn’t realize it or notice the signs. She says the narrative would be prettier if there was an invisible string tying her to a fated male soulmate.

Cuttin’ me open could be a cold assessment of Taylor’s attributes and flaws. The mistakes are PR blunders, the demons are her desires to touch women. After these men in authority scrutinize her they “heal” her. But the result isn’t good or great, it’s just fine. The corrections they made to Taylor’s image were OK, fair, tolerable to Taylor the individual…

The men in authority assessed her, saw queerness and deemed it undesirable, and “corrected” it by pushing her into relationships with men [Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve and You’re on Your own now Kid?]. These beards covered up Taylor’s sexuality, but with sharp barbed wire, and bulky chains. It’s not comfortable for her as an individual to wear. And this respectable, passable narrative of being in relationships with guys, tied her to (Joe?)

Do people assume/You’re always alright?/Been so good at smiling/Most of your life/Look damn good in the dress/Zipping up the mess/Dancing with your best foot forward

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Taylor hides her pain behind a smile and pretty dress. Her audience does not notice there is deception. The veneer wears on Taylor and she fakes it til she makes it until she can no longer distinguish what is forced upon her and what is her choice. The lines between what her team portrays about her as a brand, and who Taylor the person are get blurry. She’s faked it so long, that she’s made it, and it’s (her brand image) true(?).

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This is another statement showing Taylor hides her authenticity to give the people what they want. They don’t notice something is amiss.

Does it get hard/To have to play the part?/Nobody’s feeling sorry for ya

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Taylor tells her audience it’s a balancing act that she’s constantly attending to, and it’s not her natural state. But she would do anything, try everything, to keep her fans looking at her.

But what if I told you the world wouldn’t end/If you started showing what’s under your skin/What if you let ’em all in on the lie?/Even the homecoming queen cries

To Kelsea coming out doesn’t seem like a catastrophe. She suggests sharing inner struggles to show everybody has issues. But as Exile says, Taylor is reluctant to come out of the closet (directly):

Hey homecoming queen/How’s things at home?/Still walking on eggshells

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I think this is a technique to talk about her own childhood house, her own father, and her own life with plausible deniability. Taylor can distance herself from these statements of an angry father causing her to cry and hide her sexuality by portraying that it’s a friend’s life. Taylor learns at an early age that her dad finds her sexuality problematic so she has to keep that portion of herself hidden.

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This person is someone older, who causes Taylor to regress back to a child. The person is/was gone a lot, and she waits for them to return. She says the person is wise, and she seems to trust their take on things. Tolerate it tells us that Taylor’s dad thinks her queerness is a phase or that she’s mistaken. She says she accepts him despite his indiscretions (cheating on her mom?) yet he just tolerates her love.

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Because Taylor has been coerced to hide her sexuality from a young age she leads a lonely adult life. Her Dad and the authority figures from the studio taught her their love for her is not unconditional (contrasted to her mom in Sweet Nothing). Their love and acceptance hinges on her success and profitability. They think this sapphic stuff is all in her head and she’s got it wrong so if they just throw her together with a guy so her career (and their money) won’t get blown up. Taylor knows her sexuality is innate, but has to walk on eggshells to appease these men. So she closets and beards to assuage them, until she fakes it til she makes it and it’s true. Now she closets and beards because she’s afraid not to.

When that curtain’s closed

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Taylor has been indoctrinated that she can only love in private. When drama ramps up and Taylor feels comforted by another woman, she has to go inside and close the windows to love out of sight.

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Again, Taylor’s parents and the studio executives taught her to keep “undesirable” things private, behind closed doors. Even though Taylor is heartbroken and hurting she is still inside with boarded up windows getting drunk alone. She has to depend on her lover to come back to her, instead of chasing the lover outside where others could see. Taylor has to have a lover that agrees to remain invisible.

Did your daddy teach you/How to act tough?

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Taylor learned two things from this episode: Her father could be a ruthless defender of her career and money. And if you cross her father or are no longer useful to him, he’ll wrap you in chains and throw you away.

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Even as a teen, Taylor knows to hide her sadness and weak emotions. She models her conflict resolution after her dad’s example– aggression.

Or more like your mama?/Sweep it under the rug

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Taylor’s mom gave her a really good day. But her solution to Taylor being bullied was taking her shopping until she forgot their names. Andrea sweeps the central issue under the rug and distracts Taylor from her problems, instead of facing them head on.

Look damn good in the dress/Zipping up the mess/Dancing with your best foot forward

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Taylor combined the coping strategies of both her parents: Stuff down sad emotions and get revenge (her dad’s influence) and look pretty and go dancing to distract yourself (her mom’s way).

Did you want the crown/Or does it weigh you down

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When Taylor was young, she was excited to finally realize her dreams. She got off the sidelines and went to center stage, showing off her crown to the whole town.

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During Reputation era, Taylor realized how difficult the crown was to hold on to. One mistake and it was taken away. She learned people are fickle and it’s difficult to have staying power in the cut-throat entertainment industry.

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Taylor also figured out the crown was only given to one person, and that person needed to represent perfection. And she talks about the homophobes with their signs, knowing that her sexuality, if revealed, could get her crown taken away.

Nobody’s feeling sorry for ya

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The media used You’re not Sorry against Taylor. They turned a break-up song into a woman always playing victim narrative. [Sidenote- I am only talking about song lyrics here, not any other quotes or actions in Taylor’s wider life]. If a man wrote this would it be weaponized against him?

The big names on this list tell us that men are not held to the same lyrical standards. Men can play the victim to cunning, or gold-digging women, be openly misogynistic, and it’s written off. It’s just one song. Boys will be boys. But women are scrutinized and judged more.

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What if I told you the world wouldn’t end/If you started showing what’s under your skin?/What if you let ’em all in on the lie?/Even the homecoming queen cries

Kelsea tries to convey that times have changed, and coming out is no longer career ending. But Taylor knows love is conditional. She has been programmed to hide anything negative in order to preserve her fame.

The Archer substantiates that Taylor has struggled with her sexuality long-term, and she closets to cope.  “The room is on fire, invisible smoke” is talking about that struggle.  The fire is the worst outcome–It’s getting burned by coming out or worse, being outed.

The kiss in a crowded room was an important, life-changing event.  But it’s not the only event where Taylor was nearly or partially outed (a fire) and she panicked and shut it down to salvage her image and career.  Taylor spirals into the anxious thought that her sexuality will accelerate her losing everyone and everything

Yeah, what if I told you the sky wouldn’t fall?/If you lost your composure, said to hell with it all

Kelsea thinks Taylor’s fears are a bit dramatic. She articulates the ridiculousness of the notion that the world would fall apart if Taylor was truthful in public. Kelsea believes it would be relatable for Taylor to show her more authentic self. But Taylor isn’t just embellishing her fears to convey a more dramatic story. She actually has deep-rooted panic about what would happen if she was publicly sapphic.

Not everything pretty sparkles and shines

It’s a call back to Our Song, one of Taylor’s first songs. Kelsea is also pointing out their different perspectives. Kelsea says some pretty things aren’t sparkly, shiny, and flawless. There is beauty in the imperfection. Taylor was reared on idealized love fairytales and purity. She knows to hide undesirable things away.

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And even the homecoming queen cries/Oh yeah/Even the homecoming queen cries/Hey homecoming queen/Why do you lie?

Taylor lies and then cries because she has internalized the lessons from her parents and the (country) music industry. Renegade broaches the subject of Taylor’s internal homophobia. She fires off arrows and missiles because she hates her inherent queerness. Taylor’s attitudes damage herself and those in close proximity to her. The lover that sings this song says Taylor has come a long way, but gets weak and reverts to the negative thinking and closeting whenever she faces a perceived threat. The lover questions if Taylor’s extreme reluctance to open the blinds (come out) is due to anxiety or if she just doesn’t actually want a life with this person? Something is stopping Taylor from giving her lover the family she craves, and Taylor’s baggage is negatively impacting the lover’s mindset too. This girlfriend has no place carved out in Taylor’s life, but persists despite the invisibility. She begs Taylor to get her shit together so she can love her. But Taylor only squeezes the lover’s hand when the lover is about to leave.

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When somebody’s mean/Where do you hide?

And to finish off the song I give you the most obvious tie-in from Kelsea’s “where do you hide” choice of wording to I Know Places, a song about the panic of being outed. Taylor’s instinct is not to come out, but to take her girlfriend and hide from curious onlookers and intrusive questions.

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Dancing with our Hands Tied- The Mess You Wanted because We’re Gravity [Part L]

9 Jan

Logistical Info:

Remember we’re looking at words in the lyrics of Question… to try to decipher who and what and when.

We’ve almost gone through the entire song, pulling lyrics containing the same words to get a sort of consensus or feeling about Taylor’s intention.

Now that we’re toward the end of Question… lyrics, we need to address the central part of the song: Kiss in a crowded room. And the kiss really brings to mind Dancing with our Hands Tied and maybe Kissgate.

We will analyze Dancing with our Hands Tied to see if it parallels Question….

Except this particular line within Dancing with our Hands Tied got a bit long because I really don’t know for sure and there was no solid direction to take the analysis. I will go into it in detail in this post so the guesses don’t overwhelm the analysis of the song as a whole.

And I’ll spell out my conclusions from this post in the full analysis of Dancing with our Hands Tied. But that post was getting very long and I was afraid nobody would read it. So to make things even more confusing each line in DWOHT is going to be its OWN post. But then I’ll do a main DWOHT post with just links to each different post. It’s a whole big thing.

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

Was that explanation as confusing as trying to guess who Taylor’s songs are about?

I’m a mess, but I’m the mess that you wanted

This lyric is Taylor reminding her sapphic lover that they knowingly signed up for this. Taylor is saying she comes with a lot of baggage: Internal homophobia, anxiety, brand-pressures, media scrutiny, etc… Taylor’s feminine loves know the deal before they enter a situationship with her.  They know there will be bearding and closeting.  Everyone knows sapphic love with an A+ list celebrity is delicate, possibly short-lived. 

Karlie came into Taylor’s life at a low point and offered emotional and physical love, gaining Taylor’s trust.  There was mutual adoration and devotion for every part of the other–in private.  All the sadness, all the drama of 2016, was rectified and regaled to the background by the intense romance these two shared.  The stars in Cardigan symbolize positivity, warmth, and love.  The scars are still there, but those positive feelings were able to supersede the pain (Question…  [Part 15]).  

Oh, ’cause it’s gravity

Oh, keeping you with me

Comparing this love to gravity reminds me of “All we are is skin and bone” in Treacherous.  Taylor is saying this love is natural and inescapable.  Just like the body systems that comprise us as humans lead to innate physiological outcomes (Question…  [Part 13]).  Taylor has desire and passion for this love interest that is beyond her control, even if she’s afraid of it.  

The use of “gravity” in the song is also like, This Love, which describes the tides dictating if the love interest is here or gone.  The word “swept” is an example of a force, like this love affair, that is stronger than individual choices (Question…  [Part 13]).  In the same way gravity is non-negotiable physics. 

There is an unseen exertion on these two women and they are pulled together (whether or not that works for them).  This woman makes Taylor feel like she’s coming undone because she has this strong attraction, but knows it will cause her trouble.  Their love is forbidden and dangerous (Question…  [Part 15]).  No matter how much strife their love causes in each of their lives, the force cannot be avoided.

Dancing with our Hands Tied- PR will Divide us [Part J]

7 Jan

Logistical Info:

Remember we’re looking at words in the lyrics of Question… to try to decipher who and what and when.

We’ve almost gone through the entire song, pulling lyrics containing the same words to get a sort of consensus or feeling about Taylor’s intention.

Now that we’re toward the end of Question… lyrics, we need to address the central part of the song: Kiss in a crowded room. And the kiss really brings to mind Dancing with our Hands Tied and maybe Kissgate.

We will analyze Dancing with our Hands Tied to see if it parallels Question….

Except this particular line within Dancing with our Hands Tied got a bit long because I really don’t know for sure and there was no solid direction to take the analysis. I will go into it in detail in this post so the guesses don’t overwhelm the analysis of the song as a whole.

And I’ll spell out my conclusions from this post in the full analysis of Dancing with our Hands Tied. But that post was getting very long and I was afraid nobody would read it. So to make things even more confusing each line in DWOHT is going to be its OWN post. But then I’ll do a main DWOHT post with just links to each different post. It’s a whole big thing.

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

Was that explanation as confusing as trying to guess who Taylor’s songs are about?

I, I loved you in spite of

Taylor is in cages.  She must choose between authentic sapphic love and closeting for her career.

Taylor, Inc. marketed her to be every fan’s bestie. Retracting central parts of her branding to live openly would repel the homophobic fans, but more than that, any fan that had a parasocial relationship with her would become estranged.  In the middle of the night, Taylor agonizes about it-she doesn’t know how to proceed.  And whenever she’s pressured, Taylor defaults to gay-suppression out of panic.  When there is gossip that Taylor is gay (Emily video looking too friendly, fake Swiftgron article, Kissgate, Bettygate, Lavendergate, Glittergate…) instead of just being genuine and coming out, Taylor acquiesces to the PR containment.  She obfuscates, doubles-down on the bearding, and misrepresents the truth (Question…  [Part 6].

Deep fears that the world would divide us

In general, Taylor prioritizes her image over all of her lovers.  The patriarchal, heteronormative world requires Taylor to portray a specific aesthetic in order to be famous, and that excludes queerness.  So, there are two sides of Taylor:  Veneer of (straight, beautiful) perfection, palatable to a wide audience, vs. anxiety, fear, body dysmorphia, queerness (Question…  [Part 12]).  She has a choice: Closet for her career OR authentic love, not both (Question…  [Part 4]).

During Snakegate Taylor’s lover loved her for her.  Sometimes Taylor makes it all about her, but she wants her lover to stay (Question…  [Part 7]).  Taylor takes some responsibility for some of the fighting with her lover.  And says she is in hell when they fight.  

Karlie’s beard/husband and his family are contemptible and have Trump ties.  Karlie “ran with the wolves” (the Ku$hners, her neighbor and sister in-law Ivanka, by extension the Trumps) and is adjacent and complicit to republican evil (Question…  [Part 16]). 

I do think Taylor is using Hillary Clinton’s “still with her” slogan to make fun or mock Karlie’s feeble “I tried” tweet, hence the sarcastic singing voice in that Question… verse.   It could make sense for the song to allude to Karlie’s political hypocrisy since Taylor mentions “fuckin’ politics and gender roles” in the prior verse (Question…  [Part 16]).  And Taylor has described Karlie as “counterfeit” and “faithless” in other songs.  Those are both synonyms of “hypocritical” so it fits.  No matter Karlie’s actual political beliefs, Taylor does not want her brand anywhere near diabolical politics or evil people.  She and Karlie can’t ever be together publicly because Karlie’s associations will tarnish Taylor’s brand (Question…  [Part 16]).  

Taylor also suspects that Karlie might have involvement with the sale of her masters.  $cooter was Karlie’s manager at the time.  And her beard/husband had an association with the firm that helped fund the deal.  And that yacht pic is damning. Did Karlie have something to do with masters heist? 

It’s a question mark. 

“Twin of your dreams/crook who was caught” sounds conclusive, showing at some point Taylor thought she did.

I don’t know if this was ever cleared up between them. I also don’t know what time period The Great War was written about, but in it Taylor says, “And maybe it’s the past that’s talkin’/Tellin’ me to punish you for things you never did.” There’s a chance there was a misunderstanding. I think there was just because I don’t know that Taylor would still sound so heartbroken and low 3-4 albums out, if Karlie had betrayed her on the masters. Wouldn’t she lash out or be angry as she has in the past?

But that song also says something like, that was the night I almost lost you, and I’m almost certain Kaylor has broken up [again, Taylor’s current sadness told me this]. So the timeline of The Great War is up for debate. Also I’m just assuming one primary subject in that song is Kaylor, maybe it’s something/someone else–you guys know my time has been spent on these two songs. I haven’t gotten to TGW in a serious way yet…

In other words, I don’t know if we have enough evidence to make a decision about Karlie’s involvement in the Master’s Heist either way…

But the point is: Taylor is rerecording the masters, but lost her lover due mostly, to external factors.

Maybe not “spoiled and rich” but people getting into veterinary school ARE privileged

2 Jan

I saw my first entry on this subject pop up on my recently read posts, and thought it was high time I addressed the feedback I received for it. I know people got a bit heated, and denied that they were entitled in any way. My word choice may have been misogynistic and overly harsh, but what I was trying to say holds true. I stand by my assertion that people with access to veterinary school ARE privileged.

The thing about privilege, is that if you have it, it’s invisible to you. White males don’t know the struggles they are not made to face in this patriarchal society. They have worked to get where they are, but just don’t know how other people are trying to climb out of their circumstances. Veterinarians feel like they struggled, and worked hard (and they did). BUT if you don’t have barriers such as race or poverty where you have to start out in a hole, on lower ground–you don’t know.

As a crude example of privilege, everyone probably struggles to write their resume and secure that job interview. It’s a pain, there’s a lot of details, and you have to work to get noticed by potential employers. But think about if your name is Mohammad. That person has to contend with racial bias right out of the gate. You and Mohammad are working equally as hard on writing your resume in order to snag an interview, but Mohammad’s very name puts him at a disadvantage you (Jason, Jenny) have never dealt with. That’s the privilege I’m talking about when I say it’s spoiled, rich girls that are the ones getting into veterinary school. I’m calling out the rich guys just as much, but demographically females are the more numerous sex currently in the field.

Here’s a rundown why I can see the privilege in veterinary medicine: I had to pay my own tuition, rent, car, utilities-everything. Therefore, I HAD to make an income. And I didn’t have the advantage of test prep, for example. I DID have the advantage of some time to gain observation hours, and ability to purchase chemistry and physics tutors. Some people can’t afford those things and it does make things more difficult for them. I did not, however, have the luxury of a lot of study time. Working to pay bills is a lot different than part time work to gain experience (when bills are safely paid by Daddy and Mommy). And getting a co-signer for loans is something not everyone can do–my parents co-signed private undergrad loans for me. I was precluded from federal by their income, despite the fact they were not financially helping me, until I was 24 years old–far from a minor child! And they did NOT want to co-sign any more loans because the undergrad interest rates are egregious.

What I’m saying is it was tough to watch people with privilege deny it exists. It sucked to see several people in the pre-vet club no-show to most meetings and events, but write down the club and get into school over me. Meanwhile, I was actually showing up despite having to also be employed to pay my own way. It was difficult to watch Ashley have drug and alcohol problems, and her mom literally had to attend chemistry lecture with her to ensure she showed up to class. But because she could ride with the equine vet, while I did mere barn crew work to pay my bills, for example, her application looked better than mine. And it was disheartening to see Melissa’s daddy buy her a second car (on top of paying her full tuition) when she hit a deer on a hunting trip and totaled the first car he bought her. When I was pouring brake fluid in my car every morning in order to make it to work, because I couldn’t afford to repair it. She, like Ashley, had a lot of time to study because she didn’t have to work, and only worked a few hours a week for a couple years of college. And I liked Justina and got her a job at the hospital I worked at for 6 years. But it was rough to see her go from full time (unemployed) student to working part time in her final year of college, and get into vet school over me. And I gave the side-eye to a guy I was dating and his best friend, veterinary students who didn’t hold jobs, but did have the time to be involved in the rave scene, and everything that goes along with that. They even attended Bonnaroo festival every year, if that tells you the level of financial support they had. Those are the financial situations I saw make it into vet school over me.

So you can see why I might be disgruntled that I jumped through a lot of hoops to gain residency in a state that had a vet school, while my competitors were lucky enough to be born there, (their parents) paying in-state tuition. And why I might be bitter that I did actual hard work in animal jobs while someone standing next to the vet for a day was given priority. And angry that I had to give up my seat in veterinary school for lack of co-signer, when other peers didn’t pay a dime for anything in undergrad so they were just taking out their FIRST loans for vet school…

It impacts the profession. The privileged have higher work satisfaction expectations and don’t know how to tough things out as well as people who are forced to scrape by. For example, the gal I told you about earlier, Melissa couldn’t work as hard. She about crumbled when we had to work overtime for a week because of high demand. She did the OT, but didn’t show up on time for her own shift at the end of the week. She was tired and not used to being forced to hustle like that. And being called out made her disgruntled. The privileged have not eeked out a living in the same way, holding 3 jobs (because they HAD to) and forgoing relaxation and pleasure, so they don’t do that in the career either.

I didn’t go through vet school, but as an employee trying to help, and as a client, trying to get my pets care, I have seen evidence of how this admissions trend has impacted the field. People who didn’t experience as much hardship, and had a relatively easier time getting into and through vet school, run their career with that mentality–it’s what they know. Privileged people leave school with that same sense of entitlement and I worked for a vet that was 7AM to 4PM, no weekends or holidays at all, because she wanted to ski.

A lot of people are going into the field with the expectation of being able to balance work and family. They want part time work, or free weekends, or to leave at closing time. Full lunches, days off, yet a full paycheck is not that practical of an expectation the way the field is currently run, and either someone else is taking up that slack, or the animal care is impacted. Those basic worker rights and niceties don’t seem like a lot to ask to people with the perspective of an office job. But like the Covid nurses having to do ridiculous things to keep up, the veterinary field just requires a tremendous amount of time and commitment for very little money (I don’t make the rules). You’d have to change a lot of systemic things to change that fact. In the mean time, working late, over a lot of days is what’s needed. And that’s known before you get into school, and these privileged people go through with it anyway. If veterinarians want more work/life balance and are working reduced hours (because they’re used to having leisure time) but the demand for animal care is growing, that means more of an assembly line mentality.

I know first hand as both employee and client that animals have been lost in the shuffle:

My one boss left me (an assistant) in sketchy situations that were over my head, and detrimental to patients, because she couldn’t be bothered to show up on weekends. But her daddy was some kind of international lawyer, so she was accustomed to having an easy way through life, and leaning on other people. And it showed in the way she conducted herself in her million dollar hospital.

Vets are booked (too) heavily, and less available. “Exams” are being performed in the treatment area to cut corners and save time–quantity over quality. One of Goose’s vets didn’t report the results of bloodwork for an entire week. And Goose’s blood pressure was wildly out of control because of slipshod, rushed diagnostics. His blindness went undiagnosed for over two years for the same reasons.

My first post was based on anecdotal experience, and did not give data to substantiate what I saw and went through. Here, I’ll share some snippets of articles and research proving what I said back then IS true. I mean, this isn’t written like a scientific article, appropriately cited, but you can see research proves what I’m saying.

If you/your family have less money to start with, and you have to pay your own way–you’re at a disadvantage.

Students with the time/help to get straight As will be at the top of the admissions list. Those that can also devote time to gaining experience, outside of a paid job, have an advantage.

The state you were born should NOT impact your ability to get into veterinary school!

Under 6 thousand is a drop in the bucket. And the people that already face the disadvantage of having to earn an income (thus not gaining that diverse, unpaid, experience in the field) aren’t getting the scholarships as frequently. Those who can’t afford not to work during vet school, can’t even think about joining the field.

*^*THIS*^*

That’s exactly right. Your geography and family’s income impacts your ability to amp up your vet school application. That precludes people in urban areas, sparsely populated areas, people without access to transportation, people who are forced to get a job, on and on.

People that don’t have to worry about necessities are the ones with the ability to put together a great application, pay tuition while not holding a job, and enter the field under dire debt-to-income ratios.

This isn’t the fault of vet school admissions committees, but there should be some sort of plan in the profession to make this situation more reasonable.

Who can DO that without assistance of some kind? How are these people paying rent? Of course veterinarians are a privileged group. Otherwise they would be homeless based on these numbers.

The lack of racial diversity in the veterinary field in directly tied to the admissions process. If you are disadvantaged, you have a much bigger hill to overcome, more barriers to filling your application than others. Yes, everyone who got into vet school worked hard, but also they started out in the middle, or even toward the top of that hill. And honestly, you need to check yourself if you are triggered by me saying it.

Sources:

https://time.com/5901334/black-veterinarians-diversity/

https://jvme.utpjournals.press/doi/pdf/10.3138/jvme.31.4.414

https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2018-01-01/divided-debt

Best Moments of 2022

1 Jan

I was really grasping at straws for the most part to make this a list. I had to dig deep to think of the good times.

#21 Best thing:

Pride Parade was neutral. It Rained hard for a long time. We were soaked and chilly.

The police were good sports when the gays decorated them–they didn’t hate it. They DID refuse glitter though 😛

Despite the rain (and Cool’s event anxiety) we looked awesome.

#20 Best thing:

ScarecrowFest was neat. The entire town had sponsered scarecrows, and they were everywhere! We got to vote for our favorite on the website. Though as of yesterday (12/31) they still had not posting the result of the vote…

#19 Best thing:

I was in a totally different market at work:  (Jan-July/Aug) as extra help and that took me away from Jogre and KDouche-Finally! My interim supervisor was the best!!! He was communicative, friendly, and helpful. Good help was available, training was more frequent. They treated me nice, and so did everyone in that market (until I was actually transferred to their team permanently). I had really high confidence and hope that my work problems were over. [I didn’t know at the time it was a bait and switch…]. I was happy at work for half the year. 

#18 Best thing:

Zoo for Cool’s bday was fun.

This is not a zoom lens. You actually get this close to the penguins and the puffins!

It’s not higher because we got lost on the way back to the car, and walked (unplanned) 8 miles around sketchy areas in the heat and humidity.

#17 Best thing:

You-pick farm was low-key and fun. Flowers were beautiful. 

#16 Best thing:

Went permanent for the new market after the Sup said she doesn’t regulate OT. I was relieved and hopeful. 

At the time this was extremely good news. I would be away from Jogre and KDouche forever! Little did I know this sup was an even more aggressive narcissist. But for the time, it was really, really good news and a relief.

#15 Best thing:

Narwahls

They have alcohol slushies, and they do a flight. And also… Adorable!

Don’t I look miserable and tired, P.S.? This was after the moving ambush, packing frenzy, driving across 4 states, and sleeping on concrete. But the slushy was really good.

#14 Best thing:

Got a shamrock shake in the town of Shamrock TX when we were on our moving road trip. The milkshake machine worked!!!

#13 Best thing:

Randalls

#12 Best thing:

Music was pretty good again this year and I was on top of my ranking which felt good. 

Thanks to Taylor Swift for forcing me to finish it by Oct. It actually really helped (though I STILL have to do Weezer’s winter installment.

#11 Best thing:

Loft Landlord offered to let us sign a lease early to lock in same price for the next 19mo. We signed longer in order to move in better weather. 

We started asking about the price for renewal early, not wanting to be taken by surprise again. And I knew I needed to start packing and making reservations for storage and moving trucks by November. . . Having moving PTSD, I was very stressed and unprepared to pack all of our stuff again. And we had not recovered from 500 Move (Glendale, AZ) or our work CoL paycut. So even though there’s been car break-ins, burglary, fights that escalated to brandishing, a car on fire, rapes, and a full-on 12 person gun fight–I was relieved. I couldn’t pack and do all the moving logistics, make all the change of address calls, find a place, etc… so soon. And the money wouldn’t allow it-not in ideal way anyway. So it feels good to be locked into this rental price and to have some stability for the next year and a half.

#10 Best thing:

Halloween movie marathon! 

#9 Best thing:

Cool got her music on Spotify and Apple Music and other platforms!!!

This has been a long term goal and she made it happen this year. I am so PROUD of her. Take a listen to ManiK Fox. Follow on social media, as she is always making music and art. She has two albums up right now with more to come. I got to help name a couple songs on the first album, so that’s pretty neat too. And the second album has a song with the characteristics of each astrological sign, so January is the perfect time to check it out.

#8 Best thing:

After 13 years we ordered rings.

Wedding rings, commitment rings, whatever you want to call it. Cool and I don’t need papers, of licenses, or rings to legitimize what we have together. We could never afford it before, but made it a priority this year.

The rings are made of dinosaur bones/fossils! Cool’s will have stegosaurus and mine has T-rex. And they have actual meteor (is everything else second best after that meteor strike??!) in them. Mine (my planet in the moon) will have lunar meteor in it. And they’ll have beveled edges so they don’t look like a Claire’s ring.

It’s so low on the list because they won’t come for 10 weeks (in late March 2023).

#7 Best thing:

Double pained windows 

It’s toward the top of the list because it allows temperature control. We’ve always had drafty, single pane windows and a sliding glass door which do nothing for the cold or heat. So the double panes allow us to be more comfortable, and also lower the utility, which is a top priority for me. We always wanted double-pane windows, but could never afford that type of rental before! So Yay(?) random (gun) violence for making this loft affordable.

Except for the one drafty one (yup, that’s snow/ice/frost on the INSIDE):

And of course one of the items stolen from our storage was a window plastic kit…

#6 Best thing:

song analysis

well, you’ve seen.

At some points, analyzing songs was the ONLY thing that would stop my ruminations. It was one time I was relatively calm, and thinking about something else. Writing was a bright spot, and I wish I could get some type of income from writing from home.

#5 Best thing:

Finally found Goose a good vet

We have gone through FOUR (5 if you count my last vet job where the vet didn’t GAF) where the vets were too busy to care. Exams were done in the back, blood pressures half-assed or not done at all. Goose was treated like a checklist and I was treated as a nuisance.

But Dr. Ervin LISTENED. He took TIME to do things properly. He was professional and kind. Goose and I love him!

#4 Best thing:

Got $2800 from renters insurance for 500 Move (out of literally $10k paid directly to 500 move, and probably $5000 of damage/lost/stolen items) But it was something! 

It was very easy to complete the claim too (unlike 500 Move). You just select your items from an amazon-like link.

#3 A,B,C Best things:

Brandi in KC-close enough to walk and next door to the zoo!

And at the zoo, you got to go right in with the kangaroos! No fences between us at all. And no staff was even in there watching. It was amazing! This pic is actually how close we got (don’t worry, we stayed on the path, as advised by the signs).

The AirBnB was within walking to the venue. No lateness phobia! No parking! No paying to park! No having to wait to leave or messing around with drunk drivers trying to get out of the venue! We just ate at home, walked through the neighborhood, and walked right up. As a result we were first in our line (which is not usually my luck).

#2 Best thing:

The 4 cats were perfect angels on the car ride and in hotels during the move.

They were almost entirely quiet during the car ride. And we had charcoal liners in their carriers, so when baby Angus had to go at a very inopportune time on the road it wasn’t a big deal. He tried very hard to hold it, then harder to tell us he was about to have an accident. When we coaxed him to just pee nobody smelled it and no one was wet!

And it was the best they’ve ever done in a hotel. Goose gets angsty and stressed out in hotels and won’t sleep-or let us sleep. Once, he was so unhappy about a car ride that he peed on my hotel pillow! And he NEVER inappropriately urinates. And in the past, C.L. yowled the whole car ride and was wandery and unsettled in the hotel.

I was ready for the worst. If two cats made for a bad trip, 4 were going to be miserable! But more cats actually helped. It was like they calmed each other. The sat in pairs in the car and like I said, everyone was just cozy. And they SLEPT in both hotels. It was more than I could expect from 4 babies, and I was so PROUD of them. And relieved to listen to podcasts instead of meows in the car. And very pleased to sleep at night, instead of trying to calm stressed out cats. Oh, and NO meds, ZERO substances. Just more cats than before.

#1 Best thing:

It was bad: I felt hopeless, depressed, anxious, uncertain, and constant dread. I knew there was no way out without upsetting my whole life, probably getting less money, and likely having to go to an office, and I didn’t want that. So I remained in the company, just on edge and paranoid and unhappy. BUT out of nowhere the corporation moved me away from my narcissist supervisor back to the other side of the company! And NOT to Jogre’s team. I did not have to do anything or say anything. Everyone (including, and especially MNarc) was upset about the yanking, and lack of communication, and the timeline (NOW, NOW, NOW!), but it solved all my problems in one swift action! I automatically felt a million times better. I am able to think about things other than work. I don’t have required overtime every weekday, or holiday hours to work. And I don’t have to put up with being abused anymore. It feels good, and I want 2023 to be calm and peaceful!

Worst moments of 2022

31 Dec

The whole year was bad. Worse than 2021, which had bright spots, and despite constant work harassment, was one of my favorite times in my life. I loved quarantining with my family and working from home! 2022 was one of the worst years of my life. The only comparably bad years were: 1993 (had to switch classes bc of Courtney drama), 2005 (dealing with sociopathic Douche post break-up), 2007-08 (narcissistic discard at the Cabin-Mansion). I bought a book about how to deal with people who have personality disorders to hopefully prevent some of this in the future.

I know this list is long, so I’m going to make separate posts too. But we have to wait for DWMHT parts A-T and Quesion… 1-20 to finish posting. Anyway, on to this list of awfulness:

#15 Worst Moment

Our settlement from from 500 Move (Glendale, AZ) was $84 and contingent on an NDA

FUCK them. I’m going to tell the truth about them everywhere possible. My silence cannot be purchased for $84 measly dollars. That is literally not even 1.0% of the money wasted. This is only so low on the list, because after all this company’s $hit, I didn’t expect much in the first place.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/500-move-glendale

https://www.bbb.org/us/az/glendale/profile/moving-companies/500-move-llc-1126-4001288/complaints

#14 Worst Moment

We had tickets to see the Indigo Girls! We slogged through work, too excited to concentrate. We primped and got ready. Cool and I ate at a (terrible and overpriced) restaurant nearby. Then, we walked to the venue through the high humidity, sweating through our cute outfits. And nobody was around… Strange. There was no line. Were WE first? I walked up to the door of the venue, and a post-it was taped to the window: Indigo Girls was canceled. But we didn’t get the memo. So we walked back home. I guess somebody got Covid, but nobody had emailed us, or anything like that. And the event wasn’t rescheduled for 9 months so we were afraid it wouldn’t be…

#13 Worst Moment

Jogre was promoted to supervisor (insert LWYMMD, “What?!”)

I know for a fact that at least one other person filed an HR complaint against her. I literally have 49 pages (standard margins, font, etc…) of logged incidents (over 11 months) with date and time of bullying and harassment. HR and the EEOC both said the amount of micromanaging and communications she had with me was excessive. Yet, the company thought she needed a promotion. What nonsense. I hope I never have to deal with her again, but it is always a fear because we’re both still in the same department.

#12 Worst Moment

Cool got Covid during our moving ambush. 

While in our packing and calling frenzy, Cool got Covid. Before the move, we had been quarantining-getting everything delivered, going nowhere. In all the months Covid had been on the scene, she went inside one store, correctly wearing a mask–and got sick. Cool slept for 23 hours a day. She would try to get up and watch TV, and nod off in 20 min or less. She had a headache, aching legs, and a fever. She had a gray paler and couldn’t eat or think. For example, we keep Clorox wipes under the kitchen sink to clean the counters. While I was packing a box, I said, “Will you wipe off the counters?” And she said (after taking like a 3 min pause to think) “with what?” I about lost my mind. And she couldn’t help me with any of the moving logistics because she felt so run down. There was not enough time off from work for her to get her thinking straightened out, so she had to process claims in a Covid fog. It just exacerbated the stress of the situation. I can’t believe I didn’t catch it from her being inside the house (unventilated in winter) and sleeping in the same bed.

#11 Worst Moment

The fucking prices were bananas!

Sure, sure supply chain problems. But also corporate greed. Everybody out to make up for their two year losses, and demand from cooped up people remains high, so nothing has hemmed them in. I hate our extreme capitalism. Of course during our 1476 mile move, gas was in the $5 range. We are spending LESS than we did the last two and a half years, but struggling much more to stay financially afloat. Regular groceries jumped from about $200/mo to (same or less groceries) $800-it’s obnoxious.

#10 Worst Moment

Someone broke Jasmine’s window in our gated parking lot. 

So much for the security gate, I guess they either lived here or climbed it. And we never heard if anyone got caught–per the usual here. There was nothing to steal, actually, they took one thing. I had a mini Bath & Bodyworks hand sanitizer bottle in the driver’s side door. The lovely smelling B&B had long run out, but I had refilled it with generic hand sanitizer. And that had sat in the AZ heat plenty of times, so I’m not sure it was doing much. They took that. I hope they were disappointed. And I hope they touched their face with a germy hand.

But the window needed to be repaired. Unfortunately, this is a huge issue in the city so we were far from the only ones on the fix-it list. Safelight made us wait forever (Sept 13 to Oct 4) to repair the car window and we couldn’t drive the car in all that time. Then, when they finally put in a new pane, he couldn’t fix it completely. The window will not go back up if it’s ever opened. And shards of glass were left in the back of the car. To add insult to injury, we still had to pay our $85/mo parking fee.

#9 Worst Moment

My company skipped my raise when I went to a market that was desperate for help and again when I was advanced trained in that market.

It’s a slap in the face, because every meeting was all about how behind they were, and how the mandatory 10 hour/wk overtime was indefinite (and been in place for the last three years). It was difficult to find and train people for that market because it is on an entirely different platform than the rest of the company. Yet, they still shortchanged me. I had been emailing with HR, then they just dropped out of contact. HR ghosted me for a month! And when I emailed the head HR lady (I had her info from when we moved states) she said–it’s a lateral move to the same position. Which is egregious because we had to be trained from January to late March just to be able to adapt to the new system. She knows damn well that is a specialized position requiring more skill than the average analyst.

As for the advanced training raise, both Cool and I had gotten a pay increase every time we were further trained. Obviously, because our added skillset was valuable. But not in this new, desperate market. I was skipped over, and I knew it was a waste of breathe to even ask. But it sucks.

#8 Worst Moment

Someone broke the lock mechanisms off the doors in our apt storage units.

“Lock broken, slur spoken” indeed. I had felt safe because you have to have key fob access to get into the property, where there are cameras. And you have to scan at the door to get into the building, and pass through the lobby which has more cameras. You have to use your key fob a third time to get into the storage area. But apparently someone who lives here broke the actual lock fixtures off of the doors. All of our padlocks were locked and intact, but the doors were ripped apart. This person rifled thru every box. They climbed up to the top of our washer/dryer to open boxes stacked to the ceiling. I couldn’t get up there without a full size ladder because I was too heavy and was crushing things, so they must have been more petite than me. They unpacked things, putting them in other boxes, or in a different storage unit (sometimes one of ours, sometimes a random person’s). For example, they took socks out of the homemade draft protector box, and put them in the very back, 4 deep, bottom box in one of other storage units. It was disconcerting. They opened our snow shoes and put the bag in someone else’s unit, put the pole in the hallway, and apparently took the 2nd pole of out there because we never did find it. So many things were like that! They unpacked and mixed up nearly every box of every storage unit, strewing it around. But they also stole things. Weird things like one box fan, a window plastic kit, blackout curtains, shower curtains, and a security bar. But also things I will miss like my snowboard jacket, helmet, gloves, and heavy Sorel snow boots among other things.  They left Cool’s snowboard gear aside from goggles and gloves alone, and luckily didn’t take her nice waterproof jacket. We never found out if anyone was caught. It took the property manager a full month to fix any of the locks, and since we had put bicycle locks on our units, they skipped fixing ours. Not only did I lose valuble necessities, but I have to do another insurance claim. And I have to re-pack everything, which is a whole big thing.

#7 Worst Moment

I had to file the moving claims.

They intentionally make it as difficult as possible to discourage you from filing. It was time-consuming and retraumatized me every time I had to work on it. I honestly think I have PTSD over the whole situation. The whole thing took months to prepare! The moving company’s insurance would not accept emails, files, usb drives, discs, nothing–it HAD to be snail mail. And of course it was a lot of pages, with some colored pictures to convey the damage. Going to the UPS store was a disorganized nightmare, that took 4 times longer than it should and required me to go behind the counter in the back and help. It cost more to mail the claim ($100) than we were offered as a settlement ($84). Actual size of the finished claim components:

Surprisingly, only #6 Worst Moment

Gunfight right outside.

How can an actual gun fight (with automatic weapons) be in the middle of a worst-of list, you ask? That explains my 2022–it was one of my worst years ever. See my other post about how scary and weird the gun-fight was. And there are now actual bullet holes in my car, giving it a ghetto aesthetic. Here, are some comments from my community, which ranged from apathy, to unrealistic do-gooders, to gun-happy, to judgy.

#5.5 Worst Moment

My supervisor micromanaged my every click and berated me over hours

We did group work during the entire advanced training. So I was able to gauge that I was picking the information up the fastest, and doing the best of my team. The trainer also told me I was doing really well on the last day. The day after training reports went out (I’m assuming mine was good) codename MNarc started treating me dumb. She watched me process claims for 30 min one day and an hour on another day. It was more time than she spent watching my peers (according to them). And she was “helping” me with things I did not need help with–like reading the workflow. She kept saying I was getting ahead of myself in the workflow when I wasn’t and said that I needed to learn how to read them (I’ve been using workflows at this company for over 3 years). But also she was saying the workflow was wrong, couldn’t be trusted, and she never used it.

She was telling me things like not to take notes, and saying my personal claims tracker was a waste of time that I didn’t need. Even after I gave her 4 ways that the tracker helped, she didn’t want me using it. She also said not to open all the attachments, just one. She told me if the EOB was for a different member than the claim, just to say YES there is an EOB. She said not to read into boxes, just answer the question they write–is there an EOB, YES/NO? Which leads you to apply that coordination for the wrong person.

I’ve worked there for over 3 years, so I knew some of what she was telling me was bad advise. Her words were contradicting my training, my work over the years, Cool’s training, and everything Cool’s teams have told her. It was confusing, and I didn’t understand what had caused the major change in MNarc’s demeanor. I was afraid that I present myself as confused and flaky. Why else does this keep happening to me? Jogre and KDouche also treated me like I was stupid (despite having access to my production data, and my end of the year review, which was the highest you can get on every quantitative measure).

So I went to YouTube and asked why my boss thinks I’m dumb. In researching why, I found out MNarc, KDouche, Jogre, and my ex-mentor are narcissists. Everything fell into place (there will be many future posts on this topic)! But I also felt shock and had an impending sense of doom. Being targeted by yet another narcissist that was in a position of power over me made me maximally anxious, hopeless, and depressed. How could this be happening to me again??!

#5 Worst Moment

Processing Tests (slightly different/worse than the processing belligerence of before)

I had to process for an hour and a half and another hour in front of JFM under the guise of support. But each of the five of us on my team had to process on one screen instead of the normal two, while JFM watched silently, and took notes on what we did wrong. Leadership kept saying it wasn’t a test, it was help, yet they wouldn’t answer questions–they were just watching and noting. Which is exactly like an exam. As you remember from my Riverpoint days, I have major test anxiety, and adding the layer of narcissism over that made me nearly incapacitated by stress. But I used all of my best test-taking strategies. I took it slow, read every instruction carefully, and double checked my work. I did not change answers or second guess myself or overthink it. And I made sure to write things down, showing my work because that helps me not get lost (or forget the little things) if anxiety takes over. I even took a deep, cleansing breathe between every claim to calm down. It’s nerve-wracking to be watched. Once, I floundered, then got confused, and spiraled into anxiety and panic-confusion. But then I stopped myself, closed the claim entirely, breathed and started over. JFM kept insisting it wasn’t a test.

Except I guess my screen-sharing froze. On my side, it looked just as it had the entire 40+ minutes, and I hadn’t touched it or done anything different. I didn’t even know there was a problem until JFM said my screen was in the same place it had been for minutes. My screen said “stop sharing” which indicated it WAS sharing. But for some reason I think JFM thought I unshared on purpose? I don’t know what’s so hard to believe about technical difficulties at my job–we are constantly having them! But I think she tattled, because MNarc suddenly came into my meeting and her tone was so over the top annoyed that it was completely unprofessional. And she was condescending. She was like, “go to the top right and press share” but like in the shittiest voice possible. I said, “I did.” I tried to un-share and re-share, but that didn’t help. I don’t know why they thought I was too dumb to share, or was un-sharing (after 40 min) on purpose. When JFM had watched me do 8 claims over almost an hour. I could tell both of them blamed me for technical issues of my screen not sharing. I couldn’t stop ruminating about how rude and belligerent MNarc was. I was dreading the next session. I had no one to turn to. We know how last year turned out when I went to HR, the Director, then finally the EEOC. I felt hopeless. 

I went to IT right away, and they were able to see my shared screen. They could see it via chat, and within a meeting. And they said they would be able to tell if there had been problems on my end–and there hadn’t. IT said the issue must be on my leadership’s side of things. And I knew my leadership would not want to hear that. I didn’t know what to do.

When the make-up test was scheduled, my screen showed I was sharing, but JFM couldn’t ever see it. Again, MNarc came in to our session and sounded SO annoyed. I’m not just exaggerating, Cool sits across the desk from me, and works at the same job, different market–and she said it was really bad. This tone was not work appropriate. MNarc was insinuating that I was either doing something stupid or purposely not sharing my screen. So I sent screenshots of the “stop sharing” over the meeting chat to show that my system said it was sharing. She lost her shit when I sent pictures and roared, “Why are you sending pictures??! Talk! How can we help you if you won’t talk to us??!!” Looking back, I think MNarc was trying to paint me as insubordinate, but when I sent physical evidence that it was an IT issue, it foiled her plan and upset her. She abruptly hung up the call.

JFM didn’t say anything about it! I said, “I’m not used to being talked to that way.” There was the longest pause, and then she just said to go back to IT, because the problem was on my side. I even sent her the entire IT transcript from before, but since MNarc said the problem was me, JFM believed the problem was with me.

MNarc went on vacation, so I asked JFM to call me. I honestly wanted her advise on how best to deal with MNarc in order to not provoke her. JFM seemed to get along with her, so I hoped she could give me tips about what to do and what to avoid. JFM pretended there was no problem. I was like, “Are you really going to normalize what happened the other day?” JFM made excuses for MNarc. She said she’s just blunt. And frustrated. And really busy. On and on. And I told JFM she’s a mandatory reporter of harassment, yet she didn’t say or do anything. Then, JFM went from making excuses for the bad behavior to saying she hadn’t noticed anything–I was just oversensitive… I was so frustrated and disheartened I had no allies because this flying monkey was brainwashed or afraid or both!

#4 Worst Moment

My company gave me a 5% COL raise.

Except they took away our quarterly quality bonus. Without my reward for quality four times a year, it’s a $0.37/hr pay cut!!! But the company mailed us a candy bar, amIright?! It’s a slap in the face. When we complained in meetings they gaslighted us and told us that it WAS a raise. 

#3 Worst Moment

Our landlord ambushed us with 25% rent increase on renewal.

When we moved into the house in Dec of 2019, we hoped to be there awhile. And the landlord said, “I hope you stay for 10 years.” We are great tenants paying on time and in-full, not wrecking the place or upsetting the neighborhood. After all was said and done only $100 was taken off our deposit, and that was for the damage 500 Move had done, not us. I just couldn’t fix it, because our tools were packed in the truck along with everything else. Anyway, we had been planning to stay but couldn’t pay the extra $400/mo. He gave us 5 weeks notice.  being completely unprepared for a move, I negotiated 8 weeks with prorating bc we weren’t going to make it. Packing, moving, and logistics were chaos for months. I was not ready to leave Arizona. We hadn’t been to the Grand Canyon, Saguaro Park, or Four corners. We hadn’t really been anywhere, because as temps we got no time off work, then pretty much as soon as we were both permanent employees, Covid hit. We were pretty much home for the entire 3 years we lived in the state. Cool and I got to drive through Sedona on the way out, but had 4 cats in the car so couldn’t take advantage of it very much. The whole thing was horrible, and put us in a financial bind. Luckily, we had been saving to replace Cool’s car, or I don’t know what we would have done. I wish bad things for that landlord.

#2 Worst Moment

500 Move, 5555 N 51st Ave, Glendale, AZ

On loading day (March 11) the 500 Move foreman said the broker (who had not identified themselves as such) HOMESAFE TRANSIT put down “27 boxes” in order to artificially lower our estimate and secure our business.  We had more like 250 boxes, and the moving foreman said, “This is going to cost “thousands and thousands and thousands more”. When he said that, and when he berated me for a full 30 minutes, I knew this was a bait and switch scam.  But we were between a rock and a hard place. Our lease expired at that rental house the next day, and utilities were being shut off the 12th. If we weren’t in St. Louis in person on the 14th of March, our lease would be canceled and we’d lose that deposit. If we haggled or tried to negotiate, this foreman seemed like he was going to just take his crew and leave. I did not think I could find movers for that same day, or make accommodations to move all the items, my Rav4, and 4 cats to a different state within the time-frame.  In short, I knew that was scammy and a bad deal, sketchy contract, but felt I didn’t have any other options, so I regretfully signed.  I had to pay $5,000.00 that day in order for them to load our stuff.  And I paid $3797.00 to get them to deliver it.

We had carefully packed, for example, putting shoes in shoe boxes then tying yarn around the boxes so they would not open in transit.  The movers redundantly packed our boxes into larger boxes, taking no care at all with even the most delicate things.  For one example of many:  Cowboy hats were thrown into the bottom of 5 foot tall wardrobe boxes, and heavy furniture and boxes were thrown on top, crushing them.  I had staged all the boxes on the patio and in the living room, and even with their carelessness, it took the two movers 4 hours to load everything in their truck.

As I was going through the contract, I noticed it said the moving company had 45 days to deliver our belongings.  I said, “That’s not gonna work!  It doesn’t really take that long, does it?”  The foreman assured me they are a national company who works with Alaska and Hawaii so that timeline is for the longer trips.  He said ours would probably take 1-3 days (total lie).  I underlined the 1-3 days portion of the contract and initialed by that time-frame (instead of the provided line by 45 days) to indicate my expectations.  The contract asked when we were available to accept our delivery and we wrote we’d like them to be there on March 16th.The AZ foreman did not say that this date would not be guaranteed, or explain their process of storing, and combining our items with other jobs. Kenneth at Home Safe Transit had said we would just tell the movers the date we wanted our stuff delivered, and he promised we would have the cell phone number of “his” movers to allow frequent communication with the driver ( a lie). 

500 Move was completely uncommunicative. That was not the case. We kept calling to get a status on when the truck would be here and got the run-around from Lisa, the lady who answers the phone no matter what option you press on the phone tree.  Communication was nonexistent and atrocious, and Lisa just seemed annoyed when we kept asking for an ETA.  We were told (for the first time) that our items were being stored in a warehouse, on their property, until the truck was available. It had not been made known to us that our items would be stored, or combined with other moves.  Had I known this was their process I would have never used this company! 

Lisa was getting very ugly on the phone so I said, “We are paying more than double any other company, literally ten thousand dollars, and I would like to see better customer service.”  Lisa doubled-down on her rudeness telling me, “10,000, 30,000, 100,000 gets the same customer service!  She refused to tell us when our stuff would leave the AZ storage facility, and insisted that we wait for an email 24 hours prior to delivery.  I told her we had not received that email at pick up so how could I trust that we would receive it on delivery.  She hung up on us during any pause in the conversation.  We kept trying to find out why we were waiting so long for our belongings to be delivered.  Nobody ever explained the process to us, or why there was a delay.  Did they not own their own truck? Did they only have ONE truck???  We were promised 24 hours before delivery, but we had been promised that at pick up too, and it didn’t happen so I was not confident. 

We were in our new place with just what would fit in a Rav4 (not much). A comforter and pillows, jammies, workout clothes, and 2 outfits each. Our work laptops (but not the 2nd monitors). And the 4 cats and their carriers, bowls, food, litterboxes and that’s it. After a few days of sleeping on the concrete floor we went to Walmart and got an air mattress, a card table and kids folding chairs to work on, and a bed for the kitties. Remember, 500 Move had charged $10,000 which was pretty much all of our money and our credit card limit (I had to apply for a credit line increase to make it). We had to shop around the whole store for an extended time looking for the cheapest items. We finally got mini cutlery in the baby section. It was sparse.

On March 21st we got an email when the truck left AZ, but the next day we didn’t hear anything.  Our items had been in a storage unit in AZ for a full 10 days! We didn’t understand where the truck was, or why it was taking so long to get to us.  We called, and Lisa said they didn’t know where the truck was or how long before our delivery arrived.  500 Move kept us in the dark and would not reveal what was happening. We just waited, not knowing what was going on.

The driver said they would arrive Saturday, March 26 around 11 AM. But it was 1:30 PM and we hadn’t heard from them. Completely unprofessional and uncommunicative as usual. At around 2PM, the driver said he was 5 miles away and got pulled over by the police. They said he could not continue driving in this wind. The driver said they would be waylaid until tomorrow.

On March 27 (6 days after the truck left AZ, 16 days after packing day, a full 2 weeks later than we wrote on the contract) They were supposed to show up at 8AM. At 8:47 AM the driver called and said he just woke up [LATE,LATE,LATE]. He needed to have his coffee and go to the bathroom [TMI] then he would be along. OK… When the truck arrived at 9:37 AM, it was two men that looked over 50 ( if not 60) years old, both with obvious COPD (yet still smoking), and both terribly out of shape.  It took them about an hour (until 10:20 AM)  just to park the 18 wheeler, which was packed with six other customer’s items, as well (there had been one customer prior to us).  Before unloading, the driver demanded $75 more dollars, in cash for “75 foot long-carry,” which I felt was sketchy because we were paying for a 2nd floor move, but the building has an elevator, so I was paying for stairs already that they didn’t have to use. But like everything else, I just paid it because we had to have our stuff back.

Even though we had paid literally $10,075.00 for the moving service, I moved the majority of the 250 boxes and rubbermaid bins (probably 40% of all of our belongings). Since the movers took a 35 min lunch break, and a 20 min break, and they moved with no urgency, it took 6 hours to unload the truck (we finally finished at 4:30 PM). As items came in, Cool was doing inventory, checking box numbers off on a list provided by the company. When there were no more items in the truck, the sidewalk, the hall, lobby, or elevator, that checklist still had many boxes unaccounted for.  The driver brushed that off, and had us sign the original contract under the box count.  I told him their box count was different (240 vs 266) on different pages of their contract, and also didn’t match the box inventory that we had been marking in real time.  He said that was fine (another direct lie), but I had to sign.  I thought it was sketchy that he also asked for my carbon copies of the contract’s box count so we could both sign that. 

Many, many things were damaged by the moving company:

500 Move took no care at all with any items.  They also took no care with either rental upon packing up or delivering.  While loading, they wrenched the curtains by the sliding glass door so hard that the curtain bracket was ripped from the wall!  They bumped and left scrape marks on the walls of the loft while delivering.  Luckily, the floor of the loft is concrete or that would have been damaged the way they were dragging heavy items.

They had carelessly stacked very heavy items on top of these smaller boxes, instead of putting lighter items toward the top of the load. As a result, 7 medium sized rubbermaid boxes were cracked, broken, and unusable. A long, christmas tree rubbermaid storage box was broken to pieces, and those shards cut and sliced the contents inside of that box.

When the movers were staging all the items, I saw a Walmart 5 shelf bookcase in the apartment lobby that had the back piece folded in one corner, akin to the first fold of a paper airplane.  I was helping load items on the elevator and that fold was the only damage on that shelf by the time that shelf went in the elevator.  Some time between the elevator and the door to our loft (apparently 75 feet, according to our extra charge) the movers were so egregiously rough with that lightly damaged piece of furniture that it was literally ripped in half and unusable by the time it got to my door!

A large 5 shelf pantry was carried and stored upside down, and handled so roughly the back board became un-nailed along the entire top of the shelf.  Both of the cambers were ripped out and completely unattached at the top left side.  The bottom frame was completely ripped from the sides.  We tried to repair it, but the walls were now too wide to hold the shelves, and the damage caused the pantry to shift forward, dangerously.

500 Move Dug into Our Secured Boxes to Steal:

I had a paperwork box and tucked inside the bottom was a wallet.  Tightly inside the clear pocket of the wallet was my spare car key.  When I opened the box after delivery, the wallet was at the top of the box and that car key had fallen to the bottom of the box. The box labeled “Wii” had no tape at all on it anymore.  The box labeled “computer games” had tape but a round rip was near the center of the box as if someone put their hand through. A box labeled “mail” was missing a new book of stamps. I had a clear rubbermaid packed full of shampoo, body wash, and lotion.  When I packed it it was so full I had to strategically move things around in order to fit everything.  Upon delivery, things in that box were loose and rolling around because so many things had been removed. A small shoe box sized rubbermaid contained bar soaps, bath salts, etc…  was packed so tightly that nothing moved.  Upon delivery, the box was half empty!

The company does not seem interested in finding the items. We called at least 7 days in a row from the delivery date to report more and more missing items and ask for an update on the status of the search for any lost things.  The receptionist, Lisa and dispatcher, Stephanie, seem annoyed that we keep calling.  On the 4th day we called they said they still hadn’t talked to the driver (even though the driver called headquarters prior to and immediately after our delivery) and couldn’t get ahold of the customer who was right after us.  They keep telling us to just file a claim, but we actually want them to finish the delivery that we paid them to do and give our items back. They declined to give us any contact information for the elderly lady immediately after us in Nebraska, or any of the other customers who delivered before and after us. 500 Move stated they looked for the items in their truck and warehouse and called all the other customers that had been loaded on the truck with us, and no one could find anything.  That doesn’t make sense to me, because I saw the rubbermaid containing the items we were now missing on the sidewalk in front of our complex on unloading day.  If we don’t have it, none of the following customers got it, and it wasn’t held back on the truck–where did it go?  I suspect they are not making an effort to track down our remaining items, and I would like to motivate them to do their due diligence so we can rescue our items.

We were not getting anywhere by calling or writing 500 Move, or via all our complaints against the company.  So my mom, tried to call 500 Move to get information and try to get them to give all of our belongings back.  She did not have success either.  She was unable to get much more information, and Lisa would not allow her to escalate the call to the owner.  My mom was able to find out that 500 Move had not yet entered their warehouse (10 days after notification) to search for any of our things!  Lisa said the warehouse was too crowded and it was difficult to find anything in there, so nobody had been sent to look.

And just to show the kind of sketchy company 500 Move is, here’s a random call we got from them 10 days after delivery:

4/5/22 @ 2:38 PM:

Cool:  Hello?

Caller:  Long pause

Cool:  Hello

Caller:  Sound of typing 

Caller:  Is Charles there?

Cool:  You have the wrong #

Caller:  Oh OK well Just so you know here’s the story of what happened. somebody named Charles asked for moving quotes from AZ to WI and wrote down a number one digit off so you might get several calls.

Cool:  That’s funny bc I just moved and had called for quotes–What company are you with?

Caller:  500 Move

 Cool:  That’s who we used. But we’re having a bit of a problem with some missing items.

Caller:  Oh I’m really sorry to hear about that. Stephanie our office manager usually handles that. She’s on lunch right now but I’ll give you her ext so you can call her.

Caller:  Stephanie 8775006683 & ext219

Cool:  And who am I speaking to?

Caller:  Anthony at 6023317010 “cold called” for 500 Move

Caller:  Who am I talking to?

Cool: gives name

I still don’t know what they were phishing for, but the call, was NOT random. They were up to something, and it was weird and unprofessional.

We’ve contacted the BBB, FTC, Move Rescue police for both AZ and MO, the Glendale non-emergency police line, the FCMSA, the Attorneys General of Missouri and Arizona, Mark Kelly (AZ Senator), 6 members of congress on the housing or transportation committees, and abc15’s Let Joe Know. We really don’t know what to do to get those items back at this point.  Everyone we’ve spoken to indicates this business and contract seem sketchy, and scammy, but nothing they’ve done is illegal.  That needs to change!  This whole situation is egregious and needs more regulation.  This has been the most stressful, horrible experience, and it seems like no one is able to help us.

#1 Worst Moment

The kittens opened the bathroom drawers locking the bathroom door closed.

The day 500 Move was finally supposed to deliver our stuff, after 14 days of camping. One of us got up for the morning and headed to the bathroom to pee. The door would only open a teeny crack. The kittens have always slept in the bathroom so that the senior cats can eat, sleep, and go potty undisturbed. Goose is underweight and blind and needs full access to food at night. And Bison tends to bully C.L. for fun, so it works out better to have them separate while we sleep. It has always worked out fine, the kittens have their beds, water, 2 litterboxes, and it’s their habit.

But in the night (the 15th night we lived in the loft) the kittens had opened all the drawers of the bathroom vanity. Unfortunately, some idiot had built the bathroom cabinets so that the drawers opened immediately next to the door. Even more unfortunately, the bathroom door opens IN to the bathroom, with the hinges on the inside of the bathroom.

The door would hardly open at all. I couldn’t get my hand through. The kittens were purring and nuzzling, but obviously couldn’t help the situation. When Cool wedged herself against the wall across from the bathroom door, and pushed on the door with her feet, it would open just enough for the broom handle to be pushed through. But there was such tension on the door, that the broom handle broke in half.

We have to pee first thing in the morning. And have been living in this empty apartment for 14 days–none of our stuff is there. We have no tools, and even if we did they wouldn’t have helped. I didn’t know what to do. And it was urgent, not only because I had to pee really bad, but because now two live animals were trapped. There was no way to even put food in there, let alone water. I was panic-stricken. What were we going to do if we couldn’t get into the bathroom before the movers arrived??! We had 2 cats locked inside, and 2 cats out in the apartment. The door is nearly flush to the floor so we couldn’t reach under.

I said fuck the deposit I guess, and started kicking the door hard, hoping to break the drawers and get in. The drawers were too strong. I tried to use the broken broom handle to force the drawer back in so we could open the door. But because you had to push the door open in order to get the opening large enough for the handle, it put tension on the drawer, and it sat diagonally on it’s track, unable to slide. Since the drawer was askew on the rails, and there was pressure on just one side, it would not slide.

This was BAD, and I didn’t know what we (or anyone) could do. It was Sunday at 5AM so there was nobody to call. We had to get the door open before the movers came!

I have no idea how I got my hand through. It was pure desperation. I shoved it through and it pinched and scraped my skin off and hurt. It was squeezed so tight and I could barely move it. But somehow through the crack that even a broom handle barely fit when pushing the door in, I got my whole hand and arm through. I had pure adrenaline so I don’t remember the details of how I jimmied that wedged, open drawer in order to close it. After 45 minutes we were able to close the drawer to open the door!

My hand and arm were scraped and bruised, the broom was broken, the drawer is completely bent on one side, and the drawers don’t slide properly on their tracks anymore. But we got to let the kittens out and finally pee that morning. And we needn’t have worried about the time, because of course the movers were an hour late, and it took them a full hour to park.

P.S. We took all the drawers out and put them in the closet, because even if we got child locks to keep them closed I would have been paranoid. That can NEVER happen again!

Dancing with our Hands Tied- Molded for Capitalism [Part C]

27 Dec

Logistical Info:

Remember we’re looking at words in the lyrics of Question… to try to decipher who and what and when.

We’ve almost gone through the entire song, pulling lyrics containing the same words to get a sort of consensus or feeling about Taylor’s intention.

Now that we’re toward the end of Question… lyrics, we need to address the central part of the song: Kiss in a crowded room. And the kiss really brings to mind Dancing with our Hands Tied and maybe Kissgate.

We will analyze Dancing with our Hands Tied to see if it parallels Question….

Except this particular line within Dancing with our Hands Tied got a bit long because I really don’t know for sure and there was no solid direction to take the analysis. I will go into it in detail in this post so the guesses don’t overwhelm the analysis of the song as a whole.

And I’ll spell out my conclusions from this post in the full analysis of Dancing with our Hands Tied. But that post was getting very long and I was afraid nobody would read it. So to make things even more confusing each line in DWOHT is going to be its OWN post. But then I’ll do a main DWOHT post with just links to each different post. It’s a whole big thing.

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

Was that explanation as confusing as trying to guess who Taylor’s songs are about?

Oh, how were you to know, and

At the start of her career, Taylor was too credulous, not realizing people have ulterior motives.  Over time, she learned to be more skeptical and less open. 

Adults began to refurbish Taylor to maximize her audience (and their profits).  She submitted to these public relations refinements and machinations when she was young and naïve.  Once she had the map of what is required to succeed, Taylor began to refurbish her own image.  She embraced and continued the PR ruse.  Still, there was a cost.  Her love-life suffers by being stifled so much that the flame is snuffed out.  

Over the last 15 years of Taylor’s career, acceptance of queer artists has evolved.  Yet Taylor has already boxed herself in.  If she doesn’t closet, Taylor’s most loyal fans that believed her every word along the way, will be disillusioned and irate that she lied to them.  (Question…[Part 6].

Question… Planets, Stars, & the Moon-Nothing Compares to You [Part 15]

13 Dec

Taylor wins the pronoun game.  I’m not even going to try to untangle the speaker/recipient/changing characters in this song.  It was written so convoluted that I haven’t even seen a satisfactory answer to this yet.  Instead, I took lyric snippets from other songs featuring the same word, to get a feeling about Taylor’s sentiment and even subject. Don’t get overwhelmed with the length of this post.  The word I’m trying to point-out from the Question… lyrics is highlighted. 

Does it feel like everything’s just like second-best after that meteor strike?

There are no other meteors in Taylor’s songs, but the word seems significant.  We already talked about the stars in the eyes of Dorthea and Cowboy Like Me, but there are other celestial words from Taylor’s catalog.  I’m not including “sun” because there is such a strong tie to Karlie Kloss.  Paper Rings uses moon to talk about friends, and we know Taylor relegates her lover’s friends to the background so I omitted that song as well.  Let’s see what the other words tell us about how Taylor regards space stuff.

The Moment I Knew

The million stars aligning are used to show something sublime and ethereal occurs if Taylor’s lover makes it.  But instead she says, it’s The Moment I Knew the relationship was over.

Today was a Fairytale

Untouchable

Mary’s Song

The word “planet” is used in Today was a Fairytale to proclaim how extraordinary this person makes Taylor feel.  She says everything made sense after she saw this person (because they were a gal).  I think Taylor’s perplexing (gay) feelings were put into context when she felt considerably more for this person compared to other crushes she’d had.  This revelation is continued in Untouchable.  Taylor doesn’t know why she’s so caught up in this girl.  But she uses words like diamond sky, sun, and a million stars spelling this person’s name to show how they are unattainable.  This girl makes Taylor feel like she’s coming undone because she has this strong attraction, but knows she shouldn’t act on it, that it wouldn’t be reciprocated, or it would be forbidden.  Taylor appraises the girl as precious and impossible to get near like the pretty stars in the sky.  And the adults notice the love between the two.  

The song starts, “SHE said I was 7 and YOU were 9.”  She = Mary, You = Taylor.  In this fantasy of Taylor’s, the daddies never believed they would really fall in love (because they’re both girls).  The end of the song says, “And I’LL be 87 and YOU’LL be 89.”  And I’LL still look at YOU like the stars that shine.  Taylor is tricky with pronouns, and she never gives the love interest a gender or name.  I think it could be the girl with the braids from Seven.  I hypothesize the arc of this song is young Taylor wishing she could live heteronormative milestones with a girl.  She wants to love, fight, marry, have children, and grow old with someone (a female) she loves.  Taylor sees the mothers as knowing, and wishes the entire community would celebrate their love (even though they are both female).

I’m Only Me When I’m With You

Seven

We know from before that Taylor uses the word “paint” to show being encapsulated by a feeling.  Painting pictures in the sky is both stargazing and the way Taylor’s love feels enormous and vast to her.  It’s why Taylor feels like I’m Only Me When I’m With You.  She is all-encompassed by this person who she knows everything about and can’t live without.  Seven talks about this childhood love too.  Taylor uses moon and Saturn to try to put into words the magnitude of love she feels for her girlfriend.  Interestingly, the moon is the mother of the zodiac (the sun is the father).

Taylor says the love is substantial, and denotes the individual she loves has feminine, yin energy like the moon.  She even says that she currently still has love for this girl she was so close to as a child.

Tim McGraw

Remember the line “If you asked me if I loved HIM…  I’d lie” in the song, I’d Lie?  I think Taylor is telling on herself again in the 1st and last verses (notably the only verses this nameless, faceless HE is mentioned) of Tim McGraw.  She tells the audience that she made up a fictional moment with some boy to create plausible deniability and wrap the real verses of the song in heteronormativity.  We have no description of this guy, except the dismissive “just a boy.”  Heck, we know more about the truck–it’s a Chevy, it drives backroads frequently, it gets stuck often–then we know about the guy.  And all the way back to Taylor’s first single she was using he vs you.  She had a throw away make-believe boy talking romantically about eyes as stars, but he’s just a red herring.  The actual subject of the song is this third (female) person, YOU who is wearing a little black dress.  Taylor reminisces about how she (wearing faded old blue jeans) had her head on this girl’s chest.  It’s the girl Taylor is missing.  It’s their memories Taylor brings up hoping the gal will remember her by them.  The boy under the stars–that’s a lie.

Cardigan

I know we’re inside the Question… lyrics looking for words contained in other songs to try to get an understanding of Taylor’s meaning.  I’m going to complicate it further by bringing yet more songs into it to try to put “you drew stars around my scars” into context.  I will right-align them so these songs don’t get confused with the celestial lyrics we’re interpreting.  Bear with me.

The entirety of Look What You Made Me Do speaks to Taylor’s problems, issues, and drama.  Snakegate, celebrity beefs, people using her–Taylor’s image was taking a beating.  In Delicate Taylor sings, 

Even though Taylor was being drug through the mud during this time, this person she met didn’t listen to all that negativity.  And Taylor knew for certain that this person wasn’t just someone trying to gain clout by being with her.  At that time, it would be seen as negative to be involved with her.  Taylor was seen as problematic, boy-crazy, playing the victim.  Hoax also talks about this time when the media, the general public, even “fans” were “pulling her apart.”  It was a very painful time.

And in Dress Taylor describes how this secret relationship has left a mark on her that’s indelible.

This person came into Taylor’s life when she was at a low point, but saw her for who she is.  The lover treated Taylor with warmth and got under Taylor’s skin (like a golden tattoo).  And the feelings go both ways.  Karlie(?  I’m assuming is the person) shares her perspective in Peace and in Ivy:

Peace

Ivy

These lyrics show Karlie is just as serious about the relationship as Taylor.  It’s not clout-chasing, phony, or a fling.  In both songs Karlie even says she would die for Taylor.  That’s heavy.  And to sum up what I think “you drew stars around my scars” means to Taylor is Death by a Thousand Cuts:

Karlie came into Taylor’s life at a low point and offered emotional and physical love, gaining Taylor’s trust.  There was mutual adoration and devotion for every part of the other–in private.  All the sadness, all the drama of 2016, was rectified and regaled to the background by the intense romance these two shared.  The stars in Cardigan symbolize positivity, warmth, and love.  The scars are still there, but those positive feelings were able to supersede the pain.  

OK, back to the words relating to sky for Question… dissection:

Ivy

Ivy speaks to an affair Taylor had with a married woman (your husband’s wine).  The song starts with “in from the snow” telling the audience that Taylor met this person in the winter.  Probably the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show which was in December.  The affair lasts into the spring, as the clover signifies:

Clover also signifies something invasive and difficult to eliminate (like Kaylor’s impact on each other):  

Like this love affair.  It’s another way of talking about the metaphor of the golden tattoo.  Forever.  Clover spreads quickly, like the love affair that took Taylor by surprise and grabbed every piece of her in no time.  Clover puts down roots.  But it is considered a weed.  Taylor put roots in Karlie’s dreamland (her arranged marriage/bearding contract with a billionaire man) and Karlie can’t emotionally extricate herself from the situation. This beautiful love that so easily blooms is a weed to both parties’ life program.  It creates complications.

Ivy is an escalation of the intrusiveness of clover.  Ivy is aggressively imposing.  Taylor gets increasingly desperate to save her relationship with Karlie, even though the “time is near.”  This is a known  prearranged event on a date foreshadowed by spring.  Karlie feels torn by the love she would die to keep, and the urgency of her imminent premeditated engagement.

Ivy blocks the sunlight. It chokes trees. Trees could be both ruining Kaylor and exposing or jeopardizing Karlie’s straight marriage. Something is approaching that causes everyone involved to feel tension and act audaciously.

Here, “Crescent moon, coast is clear” indicates it’s night, but darkness is illuminated by the moonlight.  They are sneaking behind the husband’s back, because they cannot stay away from each other.  The moon is mentioned as a light source, but it’s not a random choice in Ivy:

The crescent speaks to the changing phases of the moon that show time has passed in this affair, it shows the affair must change with time, and the moon phase shows the end of this romance is imminent due to the upcoming event.  It ties to the changing seasons Taylor is already pointing out.  Changing heart and vacillating resolve are also perfect descriptors of the characters in this song.   

Crescent is one phase from being away from the sun. In darkness. The song Ivy takes place in the spring, one phase away from the summer event that spells the end of Taylor and Karlie’s romance. Taylor will be away from sunshiny Karlie, in the dark depths of depression.

The looming event?  This “second wedding” or “celebration of the Oct wedding” seems pivotal.  Was it the final contract being signed?  A covenant?  This is what spring presaged, and this June date is when the affair would be in jeopardy:

Very Cowboy Like Me.  It’s a little on the nose, in my opinion.

Interesting choice of movie.  Gay.  Cowboys??!

Reminder of the Question… lyrics:

Does it feel like everything’s just like second-best after that meteor strike?

Karlie’s life with Jo$h can’t compare to the Kaylor affair.

Together, Taylor and Karlie are otherworldly. The love makes Taylor who she is, and gets into her being, permanent like a tattoo. And the love was reciprocal. Karlie would die for Taylor. And like clover and ivy, the love covered everything, impacted both of their lives.

Coney Island

Taylor knows she left her lover (Karlie?) hanging.  She knows Karlie used to be happy, but she made her depressed.  Even though this is the central person in Taylor’s life–it’s Karlie she pictures in a crucial moment–she never acknowledges Karlie as her soulmate publicly.  Taylor uses “universe” to show how far away she seems to her lover.  Taylor’s priorities are misaligned pertaining to Kaylor, and that hurts Karlie.  It makes Karlie feel depressed, neglected, lonely, awkward, and forgotten when Taylor does her celebrity thing (and the closeting that goes with it).

That’s what helped Karlie make her decision. Not only was there a prior obligation, but Taylor’s closeting was making Karlie heavyhearted. So the prior obligation won out in the end. Karlie “married” the guy or commissioned this heteronormative life. Now both Taylor and Karlie are dead inside, cold lifeless hands reaching out (“do you wish you could still touch her?”) grieving for the living.

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Seriously Saying Something [Songs Ranked 9-1]

7 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math or the quantitative stuff):

I only judged good and up ranked songs this year.  I threw out OK, meh, and skip bc with streaming those will no longer get listened to.  Also, I did a percent of good and up songs per number on the album.  Because just stacking an album with garbage songs shouldn’t rank higher either.  You have to have good, great awesome songs, no matter the number of tracks.  I added the % of tracks that were good and above on the album to the score of the level (elite, A, Gr, G) for the final scores.  Highest is best.

Elite 6; awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

For the two bands that put their albums out in installments (Weezer and Young the Giant, Imagine Dragon doesn’t count because I already ranked their entire 1st installment last year) I am going to judge them separately, but also as one unit.  So I’ll place each installment in their ranked position, but then I’ll also do a fifth entry for each band judging it as one album.

One last note: I went back and fourth on Brandi. She released some obvious Grammy reminder music this year. They are different versions of her 2021 album, but it’s still the same album pretty much. Other artists like the Indigo Girls have released a double album with rock on one disc and acoustic on the other. And the price point might have been a bit more expensive than just a single disc. But Brandi released her separately–to get more albums sold, acquire more streams, and remind everybody that last year’s album is Grammy nominated. But I think the acoustic version was even more expensive than my signed copy of the original album, and that plus the cheatee numbers game left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had not been one of my top-tier favorite artists of all time, I would have thrown the copycat album away and not bothered ranking it. But it’s Brandi, so I included it. And she’s amazing so of course it ranked high. But I counted it as a half number so as not to throw off the totally legit albums in the ranking. So there’s that, Brandi is making me messy. Again.
Ok, Weezer is really messing up my ranking because they aren’t releasing their fourth installment of this concept album until December 21.  I told me I would only rank my A+ favorites after October 21st.  I had to finish the countdown by the time Midnights dropped so I could focus on that.  And I like to post this prior to Christmas on the first week of December, while anybody is still paying attention to things aside from the holiday.  BUT I have ranked ¾ of Weezer’s material.  I might stop if it had been mediocre and toward the bottom since it wouldn’t make that much of a difference if they were 35th place rather than 39th, for example.  But they are nudging the top spot without 7 more songs!  So what I’m going to do is post this with them in their mathematical position, but then edit to include Winter in late December, which may change up the whole top of the list…

From Lowest to Highest:

9.

Lissie: 83.33% + 32.5 = 115.83 Final

10 of 12 total songs = 83.33%

2 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

8+3.5+21 = 32.5

Sad- angsty. Bitter song! Catchy. Gr

Lonesome Wine- personal. G 

Night Moves- catchy. Sounds like Stevie Nicks. G

Flowers- self permission for emotion after a breakup. G.

Carving Canyons- deep! Descriptive. G.

I Hate This- autopsy of relationship. Regret. Breakup feels. Feeling. G 

Unlock the Chains- Inspired by Fleetwood Mac but original and not a copycat. Lyrics. Catchy. Gr.

Heart’s on Fire- Adult contemporary soft rock sound.  G.

Yellow Rose- backing sounds like Lord Huron, a little cowboy. G.

Midnight- good ending song for emotion after a breakup and for the album. Cohesive album. Tells full story. Notes. Brass. G-Gr

8.

Avril Lavigne: 75% + 41 = 116 Final

9 of 12 total songs = 75%

1 Elite awesome 6; 3 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Good 3

6+15+9+8+3 = 41

This was such an exciting album!  I really, really thought it would take album of the year, because I liked it so much, all throughout 2022.  It dropped very early, and I listened so many times and never tired of it. For treadmilling, it’s perfect. It reminds me of her first album, still edgy, but an adult. Nothing seemed forced or disengenuine and it’s so great to hear pop-punk rock again! I hope Avril stays right in this very genre and does more of this. I LOVED this album. But also, numbers don’t lie, it’s fair and square eigth.

Cannonball- Such a high energy opener! Always gets stuck in my head. Good beat. Great example of pop-punk. Elite-A.

Bite Me- Tough girl. Talking shit to ex-loser. Catchy. Gr-A.

Love Sux- bitter song. I love that she holds HIM accountable but still acknowledges her hurt. More edgy version of Avril is back and I’m happy to hear it. A.

Avalanche- more of a vulnerable song. Touches on mental illness. Always stuck in my head. A.

Deja vu- Relatable song about someone doing the same garbage over and over and the girlfriend getting tired of it. Bitter song! A.

FU- Frustration of talking to someone you can’t get through to no matter what. Realizing you can’t change someone. Gr.

All I Wanted – They sound perfect together. Just a touch of that late 90s CA pop-punk. Gr-A

Dare to Love Me- Quiet song. Strong singing. G.

Break of a Heartache- ends album on an upbeat note. Says she’s tired of hurting.  Gr.

7.

Michelle Branch: 90%+30.5 = 120.5 Final

9 of 10 total songs = 90%

1 Elite awesome 6; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

6+3.5+21 = 30.5

Who knew?! I liked her (overplayed) stuff in my younger years, and really, really liked her side project the Wreckers. I didn’t know where she went, but Michelle is back. And she’s speaking up. I love how she addresses real issues, yet keeps the songs themselves light and catchy.

Beating on the Outside- jarring opening line. Sex and marriage. Snippets of guitar sound good. G.

Closest thing to heaven- swirling guitar. G.

You got me where you want me- cello. Beautiful. Descriptive. G-Gr.

I’m a Man- I like how straightforward and blatant. Abortion rights. Why men are problematic. First notes get me pumped up! Elite awesome.

I’m sorry- the backing music increases intensity. Instrumental bridge. G.

Not My Lover- sounds like band Garbage. G.

When that somebody is you- quiet. Introspective. G.

You get me- adult contemporary. G

Zut! Alors- G.

6.5

Brandi Carlile:  90.91%+36 = 126.91 Final

10 of 11 total songs = 90.91%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

4.5+12+10.5+9 = 36

Doesn’t count?

You already saw my disclaimer at the start of every ranking. I am not here for the money grab. Same songs but acoustic. IG just gave both same time same price. Don’t like $18 for the same stuff. I need to have a talk to the Grammys about album sales. She’s not the only one, but it $ucks all the same. But yet.. that VOICE. Brandi has the chops and knows how to use them. And I appreciate that the twins are featured more prominently in the acoustics. Brandi should know that the band can rock and harmonize since she was basically the third Indigo Girl for years. But alas, this is good, just not fair to fans.

Right on Time- stripped down. Focus on harmonies. More twin involvement is good. They took out everything that made the song excellent. Touch of western on the instrumental brought it up a notch. G-Gr.

You and me on the Rock- pretty harmonies. Quiet. Nobody can compare to Brandi’s singing I would just have had Catherine sing with her bc her voice is thin by itself. G.

This time tomorrow- I don’t like when they change key or whatever for a song I’m familiar with. It always sounds off to me. Nice piano and harmony though. Instruments bring a fullness that wasn’t in the original. G-Gr.

Broken Horses- not as punchy. Not as impactful. Not THE scream-note. Doesn’t make the cut.

Letter to the Past- nice harmonies. Good that the twins are heavily featured. Like the different instruments on short interlude. More western. G-Gr 

Mama Werewolf- love the bridge – angelic. Harmony sounds good. Piano brings a seriousness to it.  She took out high notes unnecessarily, making the vocals a little worse. G

When you’re wrong- wish that the rocking versions also featured more twin harmonies. Piano is nice. Cello is star. Singing is haunting. Gr-A.

Stay gentle- swelling strings. Should have been in the original version. Gr.

Sinners Saints and Fools- dropped from elite awesome to excellent. Still great, but the other version is whoa. Lyrics more easily heard here. Gr.

Throwing good after Bad- nice harmonies. G.

Space Oddity- God. She has such a voice. She can make anything sound good. Gr.

6.

Miranda Lambert: 80% + 47.5 = 127.5 Final

12 of 15 total songs = 80%

1 Elite awesome 6; 2 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

6+10+9+10.5+12 = 47.5

I thought this album might win. I love how cheeky and feisty Miranda always is in her songs. She really brought in with this album and it was a fun, yet sincere set of cohesive songs. The cowgirl vibe and outlaw mentality add a lot and seem totally apt for the singer. Miranda always does her best to shake up the boys’ club that is the country music industry, and I appreciate her always putting herself out there. More. Like. This. Please!

Actin Up- I like a cheeky song. Also liked the state call-outs . G

Scenes- catchy. Gritty sound puts you in the gritty travel that is living on the road. G-Gr.

Carousel- emotional. G.

I’ll be lovn you – catchy. Piano. Gr-A 

If I was a cowboy- gender bender. Feisty. G-Gr 

Country money- fun. Sassy. Is that Gwen Stefani’s voice at the end? G.

Geraldine – Lambert’s take on Jolene is one of my favorite songs of the year! Elite awesome

Music City Queen- probably the best featured artist of the year. The B52s fit the vibe of the song and make their presence known without overwhelming the song. Catchy. A.

Pursuit of happiness- empowering. Hopeful. G-Gr.

Strange- catchy . She is not specific about the problems that cause these strange feelings , but in this year 2022 we can guess the COVID/quarantine &/ politics. I like how she gives suggestions for letting loose and being easy on yourself during these odd times. A.

Wandering spirit -. The begging is low- and quiet then the backing instruments and choir come in on the wandering spirit part. Sounds full and conveys cowgirl to match the cover art. Gr-A.

Waxahatchee- G.

5.

Weezer-Summer: 100% + 28.5 = 128.5 Final

7 out of 7 total tracks = 100%

1 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

5+9+8+3.5+3 = 28.5

Lawn Chair- strings sound orchestral and lovely. Adds a beat. Lyrics are jarring compared to instruments. Gr.

Records- electric guitar is great. Like the beat. G-Gr.

Blue like jazz- I like the harder rock. Instruments are edgy. Swirling backing. Rounds/harmony. Gr-A

Opposite of me- piano swirling! Do do do are catchy. Gr-A 

What’s the good of being good- a march. Best friend stole his gal and talked $hit so he’s contemplating why not to go low. G.

Cuomoville- rock is nice to hear. Hopeful, positive lyrics. Feed em to the lions sounds really cool. Love the beat. Gr.

Thank you and good night- perfect to end the show. Electric guitar is awesome. Hard rock howl is cool. End is awesome! A.

4.

Taylor Swift:  75%+57.5 = 132.5 Final

15 out of 20 (I didn’t buy the Target album, so there’s one song I don’t have) = 75%

2 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 4 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3; 1 Awesome-skip cusp -0.5; G-N cusp 1; 1 Neutral -1; 1 elite-meh cusp 2; N-M cusp -2; 2 Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

10+9+16+10.5+12 = 57.5

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t love it. The rollout for the era was very retro 1970s so I think my expectations ruined my perception. I have no idea why there was a random 70s theme, because the songs do not convey that to me–it’s a very Man of the Woods moment. If Taylor had not had some rando promo, I think I would have enjoyed the album more. Also, the tricky, cheatee way of dropping a 100 different colored albums, different pictures, having 4 make a clock, recording a million versions of one song to amp up streams doesn’t set well with me. I wish the charts and the Grammys would modify the rules and records so that fans were not exploited. Buying the green album only to find out the purple album with an extra song was rolled out a week later is $hitty. I don’t like it, but it shows the power of curating a loyal fan base. Taylor’s sales and records may be inflated, but the number and buying power of her fans is not–she has a legitimate, obsessed following.

I will say the songs grew on me over many listens. What the album did do was inspire me to research and analyze and think. So I love that! Engaging with the work is my favorite part of being a music fan, and Taylor gave me a lot of fodder this year.

That said, if I was ranking Midnights against Taylor’s own catalog, it would not fare well. Every song had some element that I didn’t like: A beat, a phrase, the lyrics, etc… I think the entire thing would have benefitted from another draft and another edit. It shows that some of these lyrics, some of the songs were drafts, or vault, or half-worked. I think Taylor hustled to finish them up to feed the audience while the legalities of the Re-records get worked out. Taylor had to keep attention and her Eras tour substantiates that this album is to keep people listening and waiting for each old album to drop. She needs the “Taylor’s Versions” to be successful to complete her plan.

At any rate, I wish I liked the songs better, but I do like trying to decode the subtext.

Sidenote, I did not calculate anything below Good in my ranking to stay consistent with the whole list. I did include my opinions on those lower songs just for funsies. They are marked XXX to show I didn’t count them.

Lavender haze- Catchy. Good message. Calling out heteronormative milestones and pressure to hit them quickly/at all. Didn’t like the little ah ah stuff at first but it really grew on me. Like the faster go viral. One note. Good heartbeat noise in parts. Gr

Maroon- The song itself is just good. But the fact Taylor inspires me to research and analyze the meaning brings it up to great. So G-Gr 

Question…- Catchy. Tells a story. I like the sexy noises. Pronoun game is on pointe. Kissgate and it’s aftermath. Brave of Taylor to be so direct. The slowed down mean-girl /tone statement. Gr.

Anti-hero- This might be the most Catchy on Midnights. Self aware. Really putting herself out there more than usual. HATE sexy baby. It just makes my brain go to pedophile. DIL is confusing. The video didn’t count toward this ranking, but it was cheeky-Taylor (my favorite Taylor) I liked the quirky humor and wink wink aspects. Adorable! Gr-A

XXX Snow on the beach- Boring. Not really a duet. Not that catchy. Janet reference is jarring. M.

You’re on Your Own Now Kid- Explains why Taylor feels so lonely and isolated. G

XXX Midnight rain- I absolutely hate the distorted voice. Tells a story. Nothing really going on with backing. No notes. OK

Vigilante Shit- A bitter song! Calling people out. Superhero imagry- consistent throughout. Moag! The production is perfect – understated Reputation. A

Bejeweled- Kind of a throway song. Lyrics kind of superficial. I like the nice! Who is she talking to? The bridge brings something interesting to the song. G.

XXX Labyrinth- The backing has some nice touches but it’s not enough to redeem the blah. It’s too dreamy and half asleep. Lyrics repeat too much. M.

Karma- To everyone who closeted her, started her bearding, and foiled her coming out. With the masters heist. Subtle moag. Very detailed. Visual.  Gr.

Sweet nothings- Sweet song. I listen to it through the lens that it’s about her mom. The only person who loves Taylor unconditionally. Very subdued but it fits well the story perfectly. Tranquility and calm. G-Gr.

XXX Mastermind- This song makes her seem sociopathic. I think it addressed how she is an active participant in bearding and furthering her career with meticulous planning. I think she meant it cheeky but to me it comes across as creepy. That said this might be my favorite production on Midnights. Love moag and videogame noises. It would be looking at awesome territory if not for the psychopathic words.S-A

The great war- The story of Kaylor! Catchy. I like the snare to go along with war. Lyrics invoke war symbolism. Gr.

Bigger than the whole sky- Jarring transition between songs. This song so beautifully encapsulates grief.  This is where dream pop really shines. Conveys agony. I think a lot of people will find solace in this song after any ending  A 

Paris- Snarky. Someone gossiping about kissgate and the 1975 guy being a hookup. Pictures = kissgate. The fictional Paris is when Kaylor boarded up the windos and went private.  Cleaver change of characters. Her fantasy world. Not the kind that’s thrown is clunky. Meant to say it’s Tree, her publicist doing PR damage control. Brainwash Karly to pick her over josh. Go to the lakes or tower in actual paris. But it’s all imaginary  The song is flat and one dimensional in my opinion (which all of this is). G.

XXX High infidelity- Compelling. Makes me want to dig into the analysis. Multiple story threads weaved together masterfully. The oooo ooos are reminiscent of the train so many songs talk about. Lots of callback. Sort of boring musically but lyrics are elite. M-elite

Glitch- Catchy. Is this about Kaylor being a deviation from bearding. Or her dalliance with Kelsea? G.

Could’ve would’ve should’ve- Finally not boring at all. Good backing. Telling a few stories covertly. Extra points for motivating me to untangle who and why. Finally some actual skillful singing in the bridge. I wish the album had more of this. I like the different sounds of the song throughout. The fast part at the end makes me FEEL. Gr-A

Dear reader- I didn’t like it at first. Found the title like the start of a 3rd graders essay. But after a couple of listens I realized Taylor wrote a letter directly to the Gaylors- which is very special. I like the echoing sound. The vulnerability is really likeable. G-Gr 

3.

Kelsea Ballerini:  86.67% + 49 = 135.67 Final

13 of 15 total songs = 86.67%

1 Elite awesome 6; 2 awesome 5; 1 Great 4; 4 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 5 Good 3

6+10+4+14+ 15 = 49

Oh my goodness! This album inspired me to analyze so much. I love the multiple layers and hidden meanings throughout every song. I think Kelsea is one to watch, and I also hope she will fully come out one day. This album is just brimming with Sapphic feelings and I would love for a successful country singer to be open AND remain famous.

I can’t help myself- fun! Inspired by Shania. The repeated words make it cute. Gr.

If you go down I’m going down to- very much could be a (Dixie) chicks song. Strings sound good with it. A.

Love is a Cowboy- good imagry- being with you is like ropin the wind. Hints of fiddle. G.

Muscle Memory- catchy. G.

I guess they call it Fallin- love the faster lyrics. G-Gr 

Weather- upbeat. Catchy though lyrics are kinda sad. G-Gr.

Universe- slow. Pretty. Love song. G. 

Walk in the park- love despite being difficult sometimes. G-Gr.

Heartfirst- following your heart. G 

You’re drunk go home- fun! Love talking shit. Love the features. Notes! Like Shania, chicks, any country that’s cheeky. Elite awesome.

Doin my best- relatable. Talks about insider info. Snaps/claps. G.

Marilyn- thoughtful sounds. Double subject. G-Gr.

What I have- appreciate what you have. Introspective. A.

2.

Weezer:

16/21= 76.19% ¾ year + 60.5 yr = 136.69 Semi-Final

16.5 + 28.5 + 15.5 = 60.5

1.

Amy Ray: 100%+37.5 = 137.5 Final

10 out of 10 total songs = 100%

2 awesome 5; 1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 1 Great 4; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

10+4.5+4+7+12 = 37.5

Amy Ray has always been political. She continuously makes her work mean something, it’s not just words on a page to her. She also puts her beliefs into action with her advocacy. I have always loved the Indigo Girls duo (They are my top of the top all-time favorite music/artists/band) and have grown to love Amy’s solo efforts as well. The transition between the two musical entities is sometimes jarring, but still on-brand.

I like how this album tells a story rarely (never?) heard. Amy Ray is Southern and loves her rural roots. She is also part of the LGBTQQAA community and I think based on interviews I’ve heard, that her identity has shifted over time, and with society’s level of acceptance. Amy Ray started out just being herself, and not really acknowledging her queerness, or taking an identity, let alone projecting it out to the masses. She pinged anyway and her band became pegged “lesbian music” by the mainstream. As part of the Indigo Girls, Amy was portrayed in a stereotypical, non-flattering light on sketch shows, sometimes derided, always in the center of her close-knit fan’s hearts. She learned to embrace her differences and used that to help others. I think now she leans NB or even trans, but in the podcast I heard Amy Ray indicated that it wasn’t a visible option for her when she was younger. Now she may feel too old (her sentiment, not mine) to totally change her trajectory.

All that is to say that this album of a southern queer is an important contribution to the landscape, and as with the Indigo Girls, I hope it opens doors for other artists to embrace their queer/rural roots simultaneously.

Joy Train- Reminds me of Bonnie Raitt. Great banjo!  Vocals are intentionally discordant but it’s not that pleasing to the ear. G.

Chuck will’s widow- Strings are the star. Very folksy. G-Gr.

They won’t have me- Recycled song. String interlude great. More powerful, emotive singing. Heavier bass gives it more urgency. Gr-A

From the room- slow. Harmony. G.

Tear it down- slow. Harmony. G

A mighty thing- after slow/bleak a welcome faster, brighter instrumentation. About homophobia. A.

Subway- could be an IG song. Love string interlude. Singing is powerful & longing. Gay rights. A 

Cowboys and pirates- catchy.  tells a story. Folksy/Americana. String! Gr.

Muscadine- slow. G.

North Star- a bit more triumphant sounding. Hint of choral/gospel. Hymn-like. G-Gr.