To My Readers
Due to the situation in Nice, I will not be paying much attention to the blog for some time. We are all in a state of shock here and I need to spend my non-work time doing what I can to help people heal and recover from the trauma of the event.
We were ironically fortunate that my grandfather passed away last week and my parents and I were in San Francisco attending the services when the attack occurred. My partner took advantage of my absence to visit her family in Madrid, and none of the members of my extended family were on the Prom when the attack took place. In that sense, we consider ourselves very, very fortunate. Still, we have neighbors and friends who were there and need all the love, friendship and support we can give. Nice is a very special place, a beautiful and diverse city devoted to the enjoyment of life and all life has to offer, and I want to do what I can to help restore and preserve our cherished identity.
I do have a few reviews in the queue, so you’ll see something new each Thursday for a little while. After that, we’ll see. Your comments are welcome as always, but it may be some time before they’re approved and appear on the blog.
Needless to say, I’ve also put the book on hold and won’t be able to meet my goal of publishing the book on my birthday next month. We’re very close to completion, so it should be out sometime this year if all goes well.
The past week has been rough, but even in the midst of the darkness there were moments of healing. I found it incredibly comforting to listen to music on the long flight home, especially two pieces from A Kind of Blue: “Blue in Green” and “Flamenco Sketches.” But I think the most important moment of healing came when we were sitting in the waiting area at SFO, emotionally exhausted, all eyes glued to the monitors broadcasting the news from Nice on CNN. The talking heads shifted to other stories and we all simultaneously let out a collective sigh of relief, a curious coincidence that made us laugh a little. My father seized the opportunity, and referring to the fact that his father’s death was the only reason we happened to be out of town when the tragedy occurred, said to us, “Boy, dad really came through for us this time, didn’t he?” There was a brief moment of silence and then we all burst into laughter until we cried. Not even the disapproving looks of the passengers in the waiting area could stop the flood of precious, much-needed laughter.
See you soon.
I am a bisexual woman with a passion for sex, music and baseball, in that order. Please note that the reference to sex is neither an invitation nor an advertisement; it’s simply the belief that you should know who you’re dealing with.
More to the point, my love of music led me to embark on a lifelong study of popular (i. e., non-classical) forms of music dating back to the 1920’s, the early stages of commercial recording. I’ve studied to some degree the history and the content of blues, jazz, folk, country, pop, and, most of all, rock ‘n’ roll in its various forms. I find the evolution of music fascinating, whether it’s “How did the music of Louis Armstrong turn into the music of Miles Davis?” or “How did John Lennon write ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ only three or four years after he wrote ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand?'” I have an obscenely large music collection with artists as diverse as Robert Johnson, The Yardbirds, Amanda Palmer, June Tabor, Smokey Robinson, Jethro Tull, Fugazi, Robert Fripp, The Move, Patsy Cline, Thelonious Monk, Rancid, Alan Hull, Mike Bloomfield, Miles Davis, Sugar Stems, Billie Holiday, Guided by Voices . . . a very long list of artists who have contributed something to music’s evolution or came up with one killer hit or produced a beautiful but obscure album that no one remembers anymore.
For three years, I translated my passion for music into what you see on this blog: reviews of classic and contemporary music. I wrote an average of two reviews a week for three years until I decided in November 2014 that it was time for me to do something different. I closed this site and started posting some of my better reviews on 50thirdand3rd.com.
I’m now in the process of compiling my work for a book to be published sometime in 2016 and reopened the site to help get the word out. The book will be available in e-book formats only. I’m writing several new reviews (and rewriting some of the older ones); they will appear here and on 50thirdand3rd.com
A little background . . . I was born in San Francisco in 1981, grew up there, went to college in L. A., then after a brief period back in the city, I lived in Seattle for a while. I moved to Paris in April 2013 on a relocation sponsored by my former employer and wound up as their Director of European Operations for a couple of years. Go fucking figure. They asked me to come back to Seattle and take a role in the executive suite and I politely declined; in exchange they showed me the door and gave me a nice departure package so I could move near my family in Nice. I am fortunate enough to have French mother who taught me the language and secured dual citizenship for me before I could walk; my parents relocated to Nice when they retired last year. They make appearances in some of my reviews because they know music and have lots of opinions about music that are often at odds with mine.
My childhood was full of music, in part because my parents are passionate about music and the stereo was on from morning ’til night, and in part because I went through years of training on piano and flute, in both jazz and classical styles. In my teens I taught myself to play guitar, primarily to make noise (I was a serious punk aficionado in my teens, and it still gets me hot to this day). I have no musical ambitions and play only for myself and a small circle of family and friends. I like playing primarily because it helps me better understand what’s going on in the music I hear.
What else? I’m very independent and self-confident, with the usual insecurities and no more. I am very sociable but I insist on doing things that many people consider anti-social like smoking cigarettes (about which I feel no guilt) and jacking off in public (which I do very discreetly). I am not religious and I despise politics. I just finished remodeling a fixer-upper in Nice with the help of my former contractor father and I’m taking some time to figure out what I’m going to do next to earn an income. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations (minor in French, of course) and a Master’s in International Business that my former employer required me to complete. I’m fluent in English and French, near-fluent in Spanish, in the process of learning German and seriously suck in Italian. I can honestly say that I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks of me but I don’t have the angry attitude that people expect to go with that stance. I am who I am and who I am becoming, and I give others the same consideration. I only get angry when I run into a snob who insists on denigrating people who just want to be themselves or when I encounter human obliviousness to human suffering. My Myers-Briggs type is ENTJ:
ENTJs are among the rarest of types, accounting for about 2–5% of those who are formally tested. They tend to be self-driven, motivating, energetic, assertive, confident, and competitive. They generally take a big-picture view and build a long-term strategy. They typically know what they want and may mobilize others to help them attain their goals. ENTJs are often sought out as leaders due to an innate ability to direct groups of people. Unusually influential and organized, they may sometimes judge others by their own tough standards, failing to take personal needs into account. From Wikipedia.
Consistent with that profile and adding a bit of spice to my bisexual orientation, I am a dominant female with an ingrained preference for what is referred to sadomasochism or BDSM. This is also not an invitation to anything, but will explain the curious comments that pop up every now and then in my posts. The site used to feature erotic tales and several graphic pictures of me from three erotic photo shoots, but I decided they were becoming a distraction. All the pictures you see on this blog are the real me, now fully-clothed.
Because I pull from so many different genres and styles, you’ll find the blog to be quite eclectic, but the majority of the posts cover rock and its variants. I originally chose “Alt Rock” for use in my pen name because it was the least offensive genre available in our classification-obsessed culture, but now I’ve become fond of it because it has multiple meanings due to my distinctly alternative lifestyle and off-the-beaten-path perspectives on music.
My musical tastes are personal, as are all musical tastes. I have no pretensions that I am the almighty judge of musical excellence. What appears on this blog are my opinions, nothing more. I respect your right to think differently and encourage you to state your case in the comments section—hopefully without getting nasty about it.
I’m hard to classify, but when I write my reviews, I put everything I have into them. I hope you enjoy my work and comment to your heart’s content!