Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dividing line

There are SO MANY good songs out this year. Seriously, I have 29 songs on my "best of 2010" list so far this year and the year's only half over. I think I struggled to put together a list half that long in 2009. There are also so many good "summer songs" - the new Kylie album is full of them, but there are others as well. I don't want to give away the goods too soon as I may actually do a summer songs post in late August after just skipping the whole thing last year, but The Bird & The Bee kicked it off with "Heard It On The Radio." Since then, there's been a seemingly never ending flow of good music.

I don't know what makes a summer song, but I know it when I hear it in much the same way I know a good autumn song when I hear one. It's not often that a song is both, but when one manages that feat, it's sweet, sweet bliss. Such a song is "Lakes Can Be Lethal" by the British indie-pop band Delays.

I really need to have heard this song in about two months because it somehow seems to capture the "feeling" of late August/early September while still managing to be a summer song as well. I'm not totally sold on the album yet which I've been buying piecemeal on eMusic. The falsetto, not surprisingly, gets me every time.

Instead, I blew the last $4.45 of my iTunes credit from my birthday (thanks Mary!) on this wonder that I didn't even know existed until this morning!

Anne Murray ditching country/pop for a synth-laden album in 1986? Who knew? Clearly not me or I would have snatched this puppy up years ago!

(thanks to Steve for putting "Lakes Can Be Lethal" on my radar and to Jason & Lucas for the Anne Murray insanity)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ring ring ring goes the telephone

I heard it said once that it's impossible for a song about phones to be bad. I don't remember where I read this, but I do remember thinking that seemed like quite a blanket statement. Surely this can't be true. Well, as it turns out, if it's not always true, it certainly is 99% of the time. So I went through my iTunes library using the search terms "phone" and "call" just to see what I had. From those results and from some songs I already knew would make the cut, I've culled my top 8.

1) Hung Up / Madonna
The most obvious choice for this list is probably my favorite telephone song. I think my favorite part about it is the play on words that is the phrase "hung up" in that she is hung up on the guy and also "hangin' up" on him. Some of the remixes went a step further, incorporating ringing phones, dial tones and "please hang up and try again" into the song. It's classic Madonna and a song that deserves its place amongst her best-known 80s hits.

2) Telephone / Lady Gaga & Beyonce
This was the song on The Fame Monster that I never really got into. Not even its cinematic video really sold me on it. It wasn't until the folks over at NPR did their spoof of it that I really began to appreciate it. Now, one of our favorite things to do is to say "stop calling, stop calling, I don't wanna talk anymore/I left my head and my heart on the dance floor" in our best Robert Siegel.

3) Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair) / Sheena Easton
In the running for the cheesiest song on this list, it certainly has the cheesiest video. I mean, seriously? Frankenstein's Monster and Dracula? This is a quintessential "80s song" for me - right up there with early 80s classics like "Total Eclipse of the Heart," "Down Under," and "True." Say what you will about the production values on those cheesy old 80s songs - they don't make them like this any longer. I can't even imagine someone like Sheena Easton getting a chance these days.

4) I Wish The Phone Would Ring / Expose
Expose were heading toward the end of their hit-making days in 1993 (although the gag-inducing "I'll Never Get Over You (Getting Over Me)" was just around the corner), but for my money, this song tops all the hits from their brief 80s heyday. Barbra Streisand would probably put this in her "dependent victim songs" category. The song is about nothing more than waiting for that special someone to call, hatching the phone as one of my friends used to call it. Sure it's co-dependent and playing the victim, but never has it sounded like quite so much fun.

5) Callin' Baton Rouge / Garth Brooks
"Callin' Baton Rouge" also belongs on the "country songs I like so much more than I should list." As a rule, I don't like Garth Brooks much (too many college nights in bars with drunk frat guys singing along to "Friends In Low Places") but this song is a major exception. I think it's the fact that, at 2 minutes 38 seconds, it doesn't overstay its welcome and the rather awkward prepositional phrase "But until then I'll spend my money up right down to my last dime" that seal the deal. A great 90s country song.

6) Hanging On The Telephone / Blondie
I deliberately didn't pick "Call Me" which is arguably more well known but I do like this one better. While not a Blondie original, they did make it famous. My sister Wendy and I have always been fond of the line "Did she go to work or just go to the store?"

7) Ring Ring / ABBA
When word leaked that Madonna might be sampling ABBA for the kick-off single from Confessions on a Dance Floor, "Ring Ring" was high atop everyone's list of possibilities - well, everyone's list but mine since I didn't even know this song until I sought it out around that time. And forget what I said about Sheena having the cheesiest song and video on this list. I should have known that ABBA would win that, hands down.

8) He's On The Phone / Saint Etienne
"He's On The Phone" was the very first Saint Etienne song I heard, thanks to a friend via It's not surprising that I took to Saint Etienne as Sarah Cracknell is, in many ways, very Debbie Harry. Cool and detached but decidedly more pop and less punk, she fits the band like a glove.

Of course, this list is not all inclusive - which of your favorites did I miss?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Year of 25 Books: #10 - The Bell Jar

I first read Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar when I was 15. I don't recall why I picked it up - probably because I was "supposed to." I wrote a book report on it for my 10th grade English class. Up until a few years ago, I still had it. When I was getting ready to type this post, I looked for it (a bit half-heartedly, I'll admit) but couldn't find it. I presume it's lost to the ages, but that's not altogether a bad thing. It is probably, if you'll pardon the pun, rather sophomoric. I thought I knew everything then and that everything I put on paper was perfection. Oh, how little I knew.

Anyway, I was talking to my friend Mary over Memorial Day and was saying how I'd really like to reread The Bell Jar. I remembered precious little from it apart from the fact that it involved a 20 something woman who was slowly but surely descending into mental illness. I also remember it being a rather thinly veiled autobiographical account of the author's own struggle with mental illness. Not the most uplifting of subject material, but as I so frequently say, "a little advice about feelings, don't always expect them to tickle." (credit where credit is due.)

The novel's main character, Esther Greenwood, is in New York City as the the story opens, participating in an internship for a women's magazine. But it's not until the internship ends and she arrives back home in Massachussetts that the trouble really starts. Having anticipated being accepted to another internship under the tutelage of a famous writer, she starts to lose her grip upon learning that she was rejected. This is compounded by troubles in her love life and the antagonistic relationship she has with her mother. She can't sleep and flits from one project to the next without finishing anything. Soon, her situation becomes dire, with her thoughts consumed by the idea of suicide. After a nearly successful attempt, she lands in the hospital - referred to in the book by the slightly un-PC and definitely out of date word "asylum."

The story is told from Esther's perspective, so the reader gets a good glimpse as to what depression might feel like. And that's just the thing. Esther really doesn't seem crazy or insane to me. Rather, she appears to suffer from severe clinical depression. She compares her mindset to living inside of a bell jar - a piece of lab equipment in which vacuums can be created. One of her most telling quotes comes during toward the end of the book, one I distinctly remember pulling out as the "required quote" for my 10th grade book report. In it, Esther is confronted with by the kindess of Mrs. Philomena Guinea - a successful author who was her benefactor during the summer internship and who also ends up footing the bill for her hospitalization.

I knew I should be grateful to Mrs. Guinea, only I couldn't feel a thing. If Mrs. Guinea had given me a ticket to Europe, or a round-the-world cruise, it wouldn't have made one scrap of difference to me, because wherever I sat - on the deck of a ship or at a street cafe in Paris or Bangkok - I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.

We all know how Sylvia Plath's battle with the noonday demon ended - with her head in an oven while her children slept in the next room. The Bell Jar is a cautionary tale - one that was well worth the reread even though its approach to mental illness is quite dated.

Now to try to find that 10th grade book report!

An early secret

The secrets went up last night on PostSecret - a welcome surprise since they usually aren't up until Sunday morning. I really like the once weekly posting that PostSecret does. During the week, I tend to forget about it, but it's always nice to see the bolded little (1) next to PostSecret in my Google Reader feed.

This one was probably my favorite of this week's offerings.

I think pretty much everyone can relate to this secret. Don't we all know someone who by something they do or a habit they have that, while maybe not the best part of our day, is something that we simply look forward to and makes life just a little bit more tolerable? This secret reminds me not to underestimate any of my actions, no matter how trivial they may appear to me, for they may be very important to someone else. I may never know it and perhaps it's better that way. I know there are people in my life that do that to me.

And what's more, I can't imagine being on a treadmill at 5:30 AM.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Put your hands up...

...if you downloaded the leak of Kylie's Aphrodite. Like I was going to do it any other way. Don't worry, I'm still planning on buying it.

Others on the web have said it much better than I ever could, so I'll just leave it at this. This is what pop perfection looks like. There isn't a single misstep to be found. Part of the perfection is the illusion of effortlessness. You get the impression that she just farted this out and it was perfect as it was. There's little doubt in my mind that there was a whole lot more to it than that. Kylie's best music, like Madonna's best music, has always been that which appeared to require little or no effort on her part. As XO said in his review of Hard Candy, part of the problem with Madonna is that you can frequently see the gears turning. Not so with Kylie on Aphrodite. It just magically appears.

The early stand-out for me is "Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)." I can't figure out exactly what it is about that song, but it just gets me at the base of my spine and makes everything okay. Sure the world seems to be coming apart at the seams these days. But in spite of that (or perhaps because of it), music like this is just the kind of tonic we need, because if you don't look away from reality every now and again, all you end up with is exhaustion.

Thanks to Heidi, I can't think of Kylie without thinking of Sam Keller and right now, my inner Sam Keller is in dancing himself up into a frenzy.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Alas poor Lunar Golf, we hardly knew ye!

We took Anna into the doctor on Wednesday more just because it felt like Something We Should Do as she hadn't been to the doctor in a couple years. There were a couple of questions we wanted to ask a pediatrician and I wanted to make sure that she was growing appropriately (she is: at 4 feet, 8 and 3/4ths inches and 68 pounds, she's above the 99th percentile in height and at the 50th percentile for weight.) Before the doctor came in, Anna asked me if she had to get any shots, which I swore up and down she didn't.

Well, as it turns out, I was wrong. Hepatitis A has been added to the raft of vaccines recommended before the age of 2, and it must have been added recently because she didn't have it. Upon hearing this, she looked at me anxiously and gripped her arms, proclaiming that she didn't want it. No amount of rationalization was going to work. Eventually, Heidi promised Anna that I would take her to Lunar Golf (black-light miniature golf) at the mall if she would just relax and get the shot. She relented, but only until the nurse came in with the needle, at which point full-on freak out ensued. I really have to be patient with it though, because she comes by it naturally. When I was slightly younger than her and had cut my eye all to hell, they had to wrap me up in the paper on the exam table in order to stitch me up.

So she got the shot (but "didn't like it" as she said) and after I got off work, we headed out to the mall to Lunar Golf. It's 18 holes, 8 bucks a person, but you get to play three times. They play really fun classic rock and we always have a good time. I looked on the web site to make sure they were open and they were open till 9, so off we went. She sang "Telephone" the whole way out there, but when we got to the mall, well, "devastation" only partially describes it.

Lunar Golf was no more - completely defunct and out of business. The gates pulled down with black plastic blocking our view of the inside. Anna broke down in tears right there in the mall. I held my daughter who is 8-going-on-25 like a 4-year-old and let her sob into my shirt. I understood her pain. It was kind of "our place." We scrambled to think of something else we could do - there used to be another mini-golf place here in town, but I knew that was long since closed as well. We went back home and Heidi suggested we go to the Story City Carousel which turned out to be a good idea because it was something we hadn't done in a long time and was also pretty cheap. The whole way up to Story City, Anna wanted to take turns remembering the fun times we'd had at Lunar Golf.

I'll admit that a part of me is sad that Lunar Golf has gone the way of the dodo bird here in Ames. It was pretty fun although I never understood the people who took it seriously enough to keep score. Honestly though, it was never very busy, and I kind of thought in the back of mind that it wouldn't be long before it would be gone. We should have gone more often, but that'll probably be something that Anna tells her therapist when she's 38.

She's over it - she just told me on the phone last night that she's either giving me a scorpion or a bomb in a box for Father's Day. My incessant teasing has created a monster! I always say that I won the kid lottery and for all the times when she makes me crazy, she's better than I ever thought I'd get and likely better than I deserve.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Either sadness or euphoria

Was it EVER cool to like Billy Joel? There was a guy I went to school with who was a massive Billy Joel fan in the 8th grade. He went ON AND ON about the An Innocent Man album - kind of like I would go on about a Madonna album (equally uncool at that point probably.)

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Joel - I appreciate his music probably more than I really enjoy a lot of it. I have the Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2 (who doesn't?) and the previously mentioned An Innocent Man, which is probably one of two Billy Joel studio albums that I think are good start to finish (the other is Glass Houses.) I know all the hits, but have a tendency to look down my nose at them a bit, as if they are too plebian for my tastes - I know, that's horrible and it's not like my musical tastes are anything to write home about. I also feel like the quality of his work suffered toward the end of his pop career - if I never hear "The River of Dreams" again, I'll be okay with that.

But Billy Joel has always been a bit of a round peg in a square hole for me. I just never quite knew what to do with him. It wasn't until a couple summers ago when I was listening to a guilty pleasures podcast of Wings for Wheels (featuring Popdose's Dave Lifton, Jason Hare and Jeff Giles) that I discovered what is probably now my favorite Billy Joel song - "Summer, Highland Falls." I had never even heard of it till that podcast, but I bought it immediately after hearing it on that podcast. The lyrics are bittersweet - something that always seems to hook me - and so wise. "We are always what our situations hand us/it's either sadness or euphoria."

So you can keep your "Piano Man" and "We Didn't Start The Fire." I'll keep this one.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Over the last week, I've noticed a small patch of water on the carpet at the foot of the basement stairs. As I have frequently said, you really shouldn't ignore water. You can hope that it'll go away, but when water goes away, it usually takes things with it. I watched it for awhile, not really sure what to make of it. The water heater (not the one we just had replaced) is there, as is the furnace for the back of the house. I talked to my dad and the plan was for him to look at it on Monday when he came over to do some more work on the deck. Well, the weather didn't cooperate so that didn't happen. It seemed to be getting mildly worse - or at least no better - so I put in a service call to American Home Shield to have someone come look at it.

I had done a little bit of research and thought that maybe the drip pan in the bottom of the furnace was cracked or overflowing, but this morning, when the furnace guys came, they confirmed it was NOT that. It's also not the water heater, as it would have probably been leaking a lot more and all the time. Honestly, I was hoping for something a little more definitive for my 60 bucks, but hey, you take what you get.

So plan B - I ripped up the admittedly crappy carpet in the area to see if there was a crack in the concrete through which water might be coming up. It's been a rainy spring - we're basically caught in the same wet pattern we were all winter only it's rain now instead of the mountains of snow and ice. After moderate amounts of cussing and having to find a sharper knife, I got it pulled up and while there's no crack, drying it off with a towel seemed to do the trick. I set up a fan down there to dry out some carpet that I can't get to with my knife and so far so good. I just checked it and it seems to be doing the trick. Here's hoping for the best.

It's times like these that I would trade the character of an old house in for the predictability of newer construction. People say, "oh, your house is so nice! It has so much character" which is true - I love our house, even though it's probably too big for us (when we moved to Ames, we were still thinking we might have more kids.) I've never been a huge fan of the sterility that seems to dominate so much new construction, instead preferring old houses with their all their idiosyncrasies. But whenever people admire the character of our house, I always want to say "yeah, and it's so much work!" The garage needs a new roof next summer (as well as a new paint job) and as I have detailed many a time, the yard is just beyond my ability.

But it's all worth it to live on a tree-lined street, even though I'll be complaining (mildly) about the leaf raking come October.

(the title of the post comes from a great Simpsons episode that we were just talking about last week thanks to the drop slide at the new Ames pool.)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A mere heart attack

I'm 80% through my run of night shifts and hopefully I won't jinx tonight by saying that they really haven't been all that awful. As predicted, I hit my nadir on the third night (I was SO tired on Monday morning) and am actually feeling pretty good headed into the last one. I've slept pretty well for the most part as well - something that is not always easy to do. Thanks to Ativan, I slept blissfully for 6 hours today which is more sleep than I get on some nights.

But working the night shift has caused me to neglect my life. Dirty clothes are strewn all over my office, clean clothes need to be put away. I haven't read a word of the book I'm reading and have only blogged once. I did manage to get the tonnage of pop bottles and cans back to the store which netted me a massive $3.75. When that's your biggest accomplishment, you know you're in trouble.

And how all this ties into "Heart Attack" I have no idea, but I listened to that song randomly this afternoon and just knew that I had to blog about it. I think it might have something to do with the fact that we sang a Cliff Richard song at UU on Sunday (I forced myself to stay awake so I could go to our minister's second-to-last service.) The more I thought about it, the more I wished that if we were going to sing a Cliff Richard song, I wish it would have been his duet with ONJ, "Suddenly", but hey, I'm not on the program committee.

I remember getting the single for "Heart Attack" without having even heard it - that's how sold on Olivia I was as a kid. If it had her name attached to it, I was sure to like it. Well, I got the single home from the store and I have to admit, I didn't really like it all that much. In fact, I liked the B-side, an album track from Physical called "Stranger's Touch" (video here, amazingly cheeseball) much better, even though the bridge-ish section in "Stranger's Touch" where sing sings "he's overpowering me/what'll I do-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo." always made me feel kind of bad for Olivia.

But I eventually warmed to "Heart Attack" playing it no less than 12 million times as a kid which is something my folks can verify. It's still only an "ok" ONJ song, but it does contain one of my favorite misheard lyrics. I always thought that in the chorus she sang, "You get a mere heart attack" instead of "You're giving me a heart attack." I remember asking my dad what "mere" meant and even though it didn't make sense in the context, I went with it because it was all I could do. At least it's no "I got debated by your heartache" in that this one at least makes some kind of sense.

The video, as was the standard for almost all of ONJ's videos, was bizarre - a combination of 80s cliches and serious WTF moments. Plus, the mullet was SUCH a bad idea.

But, much like the other artists in my core, I'm a fan for life.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Aphrodite? All right!

I have managed to resist the temptation to blog the album announcement, the release of the kick-off single and the video premiere. But with the leak of a 9 minute, 6 song megamix from Kylie's forthcoming album Aphrodite arriving on the internet last night, I could no longer be silenced. I first heard of it when I saw XO tweeting about it. His reply on Twitter?

xolondon @dancpharmd The Kylie mix will tip you into Gayville Dan. It is that good.

While I have to say that it didn't accomplish that (still just an honorary member of that tribe, I guess), it is beyond my wildest expectations for Kylie's album. Kylie's last album, X, was such a grower for me, but from the sounds of the songs on this album, Kylie hit this one out of the park. Listen for yourself - but be prepared for the trip to Gayville that XO warned about.

Is "Hands Up" not the most infectious thing you've heard all year?

What kills me about Kylie is how that paper thin voice of hers can elicit such strong reactions in me. Perhaps it's the production, perhaps it's the unbridled joy in the songs. Whatever it is, she's doing it right.

July 5th cannot come quickly enough.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Year of 25 Books: #9 - Something Wicked This Way Comes

Lest you think I'm behind on my reading goal for the year - never fear, for I am right on target. The end of the 5th month saw me finishing my 9th and 10th books for the book challenge. What I'm really behind on is blogging the books and here's my attempt to remedy that.

I picked up a lost book of my childhood in May - Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. I remember being a kid of maybe 11 or 12 and checking it out from the public library. I read the first couple chapters and then abandoned it. The prose was too thick, the story to moribund. It just seemed like nothing was happening. As a horror novel, it failed for me, which is no surprise since I probably had just finished reading The Exorcist. I was expecting something a lot, well, scarier. So it's a book that I'd been meaning to revisit for a long time, but as these things tend to go, I just hadn't gotten around to it.

A book with a serious autumnal feel, Something Wicked This Way Comes is a classic in its genre, but what exactly that genre is is hard to pin down. It has elements of a horror novel, but also of fantasy and science fiction. A carnival, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show arrives unseasonably late in the small town where Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway live next door to each other. Jim & Will are the best of friends, born minutes apart on each side of midnight. They are quintessential boys, especially of the time period in which the book takes place (1940s or 50s by my estimation.) They are thrilled that a carnival has come to town in late October. Naturally, there is much more to this carnival than meets the eye. Jim's father is absent, while Will's is an 50-something man with whom he has only a passing relationship.

Their boyish curiosity leads them to the carnival after hours where they witness a carousel that, while purportedly broken, actually can age the rider one year for each revolution it makes. Conversely, it will shave a year off their age for every revolution backward. There is a circus full of freaks and Mr. Dark himself is "The Illustrated Man" (a direct reference to one of Bradbury's earlier works) covered in tattoos - tattoos which have a darker, more sinister meaning that unfolds slowly as the book progresses. With each passing page, another evil aspect of the carnival is revealed, but even at the end of the book, much remains shrouded in mystery.

I had very mixed feelings on this book. As a horror novel, I felt it failed miserably. It was never scary. I chalk that up to the time period in which it was written. It had a VERY "literary" feel to it - as if to say, look-at-me-I'm-an-important-book. I can see why I was never able to read it as a kid. Even at nearly 38, there were times I considered bailing and I even started another book before I was finished with it, which is usually the death knell to the temporarily abandoned book. But I persevered and ultimately I appreciated the novel more than I enjoyed it. I feel like the writing was just far too turgid for me to really get into it.

Having said that, Bradbury is a master at setting the scene. Although the weather was warming up and we were headed into summer as I started reading the book, I felt like it should be fall. His descriptions are good without being overdone and I liked how not every little tiny detail about the carnival was revealed all at once. The slow reveal helped make the pay off worth it, even though I felt like the end was a bit of an anticlimax.

But what I loved most about this book was its commentary on accepting one's place in their life. Jim wants nothing more than to ride the carousel so that he can hasten his growing up, while Will's father pines for his younger days. It's only Will that sees the folly in this and serves as the conscience of the story. When both Jim and Mr. Halloway inevitably accepted that life progresses as it does, relationships all around were strengthened and became more authentic. As someone who is only a few years from the end of his 30s, this spoke loud and clear.

I would overall recommend Something Wicked This Way Comes, but I think I would have enjoyed it more as a 16-year-old, even though I have no doubt I would have still had trouble with the writing style. And I know that had I read it then, I would have identified much more with the boys rather than seeing myself in Will's father, despite the fact that I am smack dab in between them in age.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

1st of June

Well, here we are folks. It's June 1st. Where in the world did the first 41.7% of the year go? It seems like just yesterday I was snow-blowing the driveway for the 400th time, and now I have a jungle growing up in my backyard that I can't seem to be home long enough to tame. Getting the yard to the point where I'm not embarrassed by it is the goal for Wednesday afternoon, but now it looks like it's supposed to rain, so who knows if that'll even happen now.

I'm getting ready to work another set of 5 overnight shifts starting the end of the week. I'm weary of working that shift, but in the final analysis it's not all that bad. It's actually harder on my family than it is on me. I'll work the last one on June 8th which means I'll be working for the first 8 hours of my birthday and will miss the season finale of Glee. Because I have awesome family and friends, a whole group of them are going to forgo watching on Tuesday night so that we can all watch together on the night of the 9th. Another unintended benefit of the night shift is that it works out that I have a four day weekend for Capital City Pride in Des Moines, where Heidi and I (along with other friends and family) will have a booth selling her books and promoting Dreamspinner. It'll be a busy weekend but it should be great fun. Anyone who is local (and hey, even those that aren't!) are more than welcome to stop by and say hi. Pride in Des Moines is pretty family friendly and there's a such an amazing mix of people there.

We hit the Furman Aquatic Center here in Ames yesterday for Memorial Day which was beyond fun. It was supposed to open mid-summer of last year, but it was behind schedule and didn't and frankly, I'm glad that they didn't rush it but instead took the time to get it right. It has a little something for everyone and it was just a blast - even though I did sunburn the tops of my feet (they feel better today.)

My goal for the remaining 58.3% of the year is, as trite as it sounds, to live now. I will admit to spending a lot of the first part of the year living in an alternate future with horrific imagined outcomes. That's under better control than it's been in a while, but still, I am me and that is just a part of me. I have learned to respect it and not talk badly to it, but I still fail daily so who knows.

That's it for my inaugural June post. It's not much, but it's what I have.