2015: A Year in Live Music

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*I forgot I had this post in my drafts. So here it is. 2015’s concerts…published on July 2016…whoops.

Another year of doing what I love – seeing live music. Although this year wasn’t heavy on concerts, the ones I did manage to see where amazing. A few in particular have comments below. Who did you see in 2015? I’d love to know!

April 18 – X Ambassadors @ Mothers, RPI in Troy

One of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. First off, the venue was a tiny rec room in a college campus center. Second, I was about an arm’s length from the stage. This band has soul and energy and every second there was exhilarating.

X Ambassadors. Photo by Era B.

X Ambassadors. Photo by Era B.

April 24 – 26 – Titanics and New Beat Fund at Move Music Festival

May 9 – The Kooks, Joywave @ Tulip Fest

I’ve been a fan of The Kooks since high school so seeing them live was a long time coming!

July 16 – Atlas Genius @ Alive at Five

July 24 – Cold Ward Kids @ Upstate Concert Hall

Sept. 10 – BORNS @ The Hollow

This was a short set but it still left a satisfying impression. His voice is beautiful.

Sept. 12 – Until the Ribbon Breaks @ Pearl Palooza

Sept. 23 – Purity Ring, HANA @ Upstate Concert Hall

Purity Ring was ok…but they’re opening act HANA was AMAZING. What a voice on that girl. I highly recommend checking out her songs.

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The view from behind the counter

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Dunkin Donuts memories I was 19 years old when I got my first job. The Dunkin Donuts up the street. I worked there full-time and then part-time for three and a half years. My favorite part was the people. Interacting with them has been my window into life at all its stages. I saw young customers grow into teenagers, I saw customers get pregnant and have children, change jobs and grieve deaths, get cancer and beat cancer, grow old and become grandparents, and go through countless other life events, all right in front of my counter.

My multiple years at a minimum wage job aren’t exactly an achievement but when I look at it from a different angle I can see its value. All the hours spent there have introduced me to people from all walks of life. I’ve met the nice ones and the crazy ones, the sweet one and the rude ones.

Even if I hated waking up for the six o’clock morning shift or walking in the rain and snow to get to work, looking back, it doesn’t seem all that bad. Yes, there were hard times, long hours on my feet, too many disgusting bathroom cleanups, creepy customers (I had a stalker for a few weeks) and annoying, lazy coworkers but in the end you kinda forget about all that, or you at least learn to laugh about it.

Dunkin has given me so many stories, memories, friends, life lessons, and “firsts”. You may laugh but I was so comfortable at Dunkin and always felt at home there, everything and everyone was familiar, predictable. When you don’t leave a place for basically four years, you end up getting attached to your “work family.”

Here are a few observations from the job:

1. People always complained about prices. And it doesn’t make sense but sometimes the ones complaining were the same people who came to the store every single day. Old habits die hard and those people would stick with their Dunkin treats no matter how much they had to begrudgingly pay.

2. We used up a lot of cardboard and paper. A lot. You should have seen the storage space in the basement. It was full of cardboard boxes. It just made me think of all the hundreds of Dunkin stores across the country all with the same cardboard graveyard in their storage spaces. Really makes you think about the forests we’re cutting down so that we can ship boxes of pumpkin syrup to coffee stores.

And whether or not a customer wanted a receipt, the register was programmed so that a receipt would always print. The “wise guy” customers liked to say “I don’t need it. Save a tree.” Well, the tree is already dead, genius.

3. People are rude. Like really rude. It used to ruin my day but I always tried to shake it off (God, Taylor Swift is everywhere). Their negative energy was so strong and it always left a bitter taste in my mouth especially when they had no logical reason for their mini fit in a store full of customers. Rude customers were just one face in a hundred I would see that day so the sooner I forgot about them the better it was for my sanity.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When I hung up my apron and walked away from the store for the last time as an employee, I felt nothing but appreciation. Working in customer service and the food industry only makes you better understand and appreciate how hard it is to have to pay your dues, suck it up and make a less-than-stellar situation into a learning and growing experience.
Dunkin Donuts memories

What happens to my life when I die?

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Red boxes of

Red boxes of “stuff”

“The things you own end up owning you.” –Chuck Palahniuk

I have three boxes full of stuff I will never throw away. These boxes hold years of memories, some great, some sad and some bittersweet. They contain birthday cards, old school schedules, report cards, my graduation gown and cap, notebooks full of my writing, newspaper clippings, notes from my friends, old agendas, and other stuff useless to others but precious to me.

I left these boxes back in Europe, in storage at my uncle’s house. They’re still there today but I had no space to bring them with me when I moved to New York. So until I go back to visit, they’ll stay boxed up. But over here, I have a new box of memories in my room. Little pieces of my four years here and it’s going to grow bigger over the years.

My dad recently took a trip back to the home country and he had a chance to sort through some of the stuff in storage. When he came back he told me he had thrown out his old military uniform and medals and badges. I was shocked. He was in the military for almost 20 years. How can you just throw away your medals and uniform? If nothing, they’re sentimental but I guess I understand, after all he obviously has no use for them now. Still for a moment there it still came as a surprise.

This made me think of all the stuff I’m hoarding. When will I throw them out? I’ve sorted through them before, and I’ve often thrown away things that have lost their significance over the years but what about the stuff I will never ever throw out? The things I’ll bring with me to every new city and new home in my lifetime? They’ll probably find themselves in a box somewhere in 40 years. Then I’ll die…and then what? Except the occasional piece of jewelry, I don’t own anything of my parents and grandparents. We’re not a family with heirlooms.

I like to thing one day I can show all my stuff to my kids and tell them the story behind each memento. But is that practical? Will they care? Will I still care in 30 years? Right now it feels hard to throw away these things. It’s like I’m erasing a memory and that’s one of my biggest fears. Forgetting. Losing little memories of my life. Getting Alzheimer’s. I’m so desperate to document my life that throwing away these mementos feels like throwing away a little piece of who I used to be. I still want to hold on to what used to be important to be in high school. I have a mason jar filled with old concert tickets and wristbands because I’m happy when I’m at concerts and I want a tangible reminder of that. This is also why I journal. I want to remember the little details of my life at 14, 18 and 22. It’s pretty incredible to read old journal entries and relive the happy days and the stressful ones. It’s like a window into my own life told by the person who knows it best – me.

This is all an attempt to establish my presence on this tiny Earth and huge universe. I don’t want to be nothing when I leave it. Will anyone read this very blog post in 2156? Is there a way my great-grandchildren can find this blog? Who knows what the Internet will even be by that time.

I have dozens of projects, blogs and journals scattered around in my life. I bet it’s now sounding like an unhealthy obsession and truth is it can feel like that sometimes. It’s tiring to update and record and write and take photos when I’m not even sure it will be worth it in the end. I’m realizing that it feels like I’m too busy documenting my life to actually enjoy living it in the moment. That’s also true at times. My argument is that feelings and moments are fleeting. Writing it down, taking a picture – these things help to preserve it so I can enjoy it over and over again. And if you do it well enough, I promise you the feeling is still in there. It’s like when you wish you could bottle up a specific scent. One that takes you back and stirs up that nostalgic feeling. I’m a sucker for nostalgia. I want to relive the good times. And all this documenting we can do? It’s the closest thing we have to a rewind button in life.

Do you collect and save mementos from past years? Is it hard to part with them? What do you do about it?

Big city Boston

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My family and I took a quick trip to Boston over Memorial weekend. It was my first time there but it won’t be my last. Boston was…big and bustling. Boston makes Albany look like a village! I mean look!

Boston photography

We didn’t see too much because we were there for about two days but I loved everything I saw. So many places to eat…and walk to…and look up at.

Boston photography

My brother and I took a Duck Boat Tour where the tour bus rides through the streets of Boston and the guide explains all kinds of historical facts and stories THEN the bus goes into the river and turns into a “boat”. It wasn’t as cool as it sounds and the downtown part was more interesting than the view from the water. However, I can’t wait to go back. I felt good in Boston. I mean, I felt small and in awe but still good and excited to be in such a big city. I’m already planning a second trip. Boston and I have some connecting to do.

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On Repeat #17 – Lovelife

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Moody, electronic pop. This band has some edgy sounds. Definitely a little emo but grown-up emo which is not a “thing” but it could be. Just listen to the first song below if you want something easier to digest.

I discovered Lovelife last summer but they’ve been MIA for a while now so I hope they’ll have some new tunes soon.

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