Friday, August 28, 2015

New Music ! Maddie and Tae Debut Album: Start Here

My ear holes were so happy today. I finally had my hands on the new Maddie and Tae album Start Here. If you don’t know the Country Duo Maddie and Tae (Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye both 20 years old) you likely know their music but soon you will also know their names, faces, and story. Their “hit” list includes their break out single Girl in a Country Song and their current single Fly.

Long before Tomatogate, Maddie and Tae burst on the scene in 2014 with “Girl in a Country Song” which shined the spotlight on the way “females” are talked about in recent country “hits” by artist who frankly couldn’t carry this duo’s guitar straps. It was brilliant and the way Country radio embraced it was awesome to watch too! They were nominated for several CMT Music Awards in 2015 and more nominations will be coming in the future for this duo.

These ladies, while beautiful, have amazing talent and that combination will keep them around for a while. They wrote or co-wrote ALL of the tracks on their album, which includes the songs from their earlier released EP and 6 brand new tracks! They are currently on tour with Dierks Bentley on his Sounds of Summer Tour, if they come near you check them out.

You can find out more about them on their website including a tour schedule.

It’s been a while since I put up a music post and what better way than to do a critique an album that I have literally been waiting on for what seems like forever! What’s awesome about Start Here is that typically there are a few “throw away” tracks on an album, ones that you skip over after a while but I've had this album on repeat all day long and have yet to skip a single track. It’s that good people. Even if you aren’t a “country” fan your soul needs this album.

1. “Waitin’ on a Plane”    *new track

I love the way this duo writes, the way they tell their tale with cleaver metaphors. The line, “cause it’s my time to paint a little streak on a blue sky” makes me see the trail from the plane in the sky as I’m listening to the track. I love when that happens. I also love the expert way they harmonize throughout this track. This track was a great way to start this album cause it’s a girl power type song without throwing it in your face. The young lady in the track is moving on with her life and can’t wait for her next adventure. She’s not running away from anything, she’s running to something and I love that. She’s not waiting on someone to make life better for her, like other female based songs, she’s making it happen for herself, cause she can. That’s what I love most about Maddie and Tae they make girls sound like powerful women with a brain.

2. “Girl in a Country Song”

The first time I heard this track, I was in the car on my way to hear Markus Fox and The Highway on XM radio was talking about this new track and I was in heavy traffic. All of the sudden this song comes on and I’m immediately out of traffic and sucked into this song. I LOVE EVERY LYRIC on this song. It was about time someone said it and that it was these two young unknowns made it even better. I remember telling Markus all about it at his show, I wanted to talk more about this song than what he was up to, which is saying something. I’m not a fan of the “bro country” that’s vomited all over the radio lately and this was such a refreshing sound I couldn’t wait to get home and look it up. Then I got home I was crushed that all I had was their video, which I must have played a million times. I immediately followed them on twitter and read every line on their website. I was so excited when I heard they were releasing an EP. The love from the EP eventually led to this album. I can’t think Maddie and Tae enough for this track because it gave birth to this album and started a dialogue in this genre that was long over due.

3. “Smoke”    *new track

Another new track and when it first came on the fact it was slower made me stop and really pay attention to it. I’m a lyric person, I love lyrics and finding the fun little nods in a song that others might not notice, like Bryan White yelling in the chorus Another Day in the Sun. The chorus of this song is amazing. It’s a fantastic reminder that these ladies know how to string an idea together. I mean whose brain comes up with something like this …

Baby, you're just like smoke, blowing on the wind
One minute, you're by my side and then you're gone again
You might be bad for me, but I just wanna breathe you in
Every time I reach out, I find there ain't nothing to hold
Boy, you're just like smoke

These ladies have mastered the use of metaphors in a song and I for one appreciate the effort.

4. “Shut Up and Fish”    *new track

A fun cute track that's funny as hell! It makes me smile everytime I hear it, and I can’t wait for this video. I can see it in my head as I listen to it. I’m not giving anything away on this track cause if I do I deprive you the joy of hearing it the first time and realizing damn these girls are talented as hell. Is it a little pandering, maybe, but it’s such a fun ride it’s not something I mind. One of my favorite lines on this CD can be found in this song … see if you can guess it :D

5. “Fly”

I am so glad this became their second single, cause when I heard it on the EP I knew these ladies weren’t going to be just “one hit wonders” with GIACS. This was the song that, in my opinion, made these ladies true Artist. It showed their true talent far more than any other track they have released. The first time I heard this song, I won’t lie, I cried. It transported me back to when my Dad basically told me I could do anything when he was leaving me at college for the first time. I was scared as hell about what I had gotten myself into (this was prior to meeting Golden, my suite mate, and realizing that was I was going to be ok) and my dad pulled me aside and “it’s ok to be a little overwhelmed, it’s ok to fail, it’s ok to want to turn and run but you are exactly where you need to be. You have worked for this and you are ready for this now go get em." My dad is a man of few words and it meant the world to me. This song took right back to that moment and I think of all the young ladies/young men who need to hear that and might not have a dad to say it to them. This song will now give them that conversation. So glad it was released.

6. “Sierra”

I LOVE this track. I love everything about it. I love the sass, the playfulness, the polite way it tells Sierra to “duck off” (stupid auto correct). :D I hope there’s a Sierra out there who knows this song is about them, and if there isn’t I don’t want to know. Everyone has a Sierra in their lives and when you listen to this song you dream of saying these things to your Sierra and hope she hears it and knows it about her. This is just a brilliant track in the writing, the delivery of it, and the message behind it. BRAVO!

7. “Your Side of Town”

This is another fast catchy song that stays with you for a while after you listen to it. It’s another song about broken love, but the way they do it is refreshing. It’s not a young girl waiting for her man to come back and break her heart again, it’s not a young lady saying oh woe is me he’s gone, or even a lady saying how she can fix him. It's a young lady saying you had your chance now get away from me and stay there. It makes me think of Reba McEntire or Martina McBride. Try to listen to it without tapping your foot or nodding your head … I dare you.

8. “Right Here, Right Now”    *new track

As much as I love their fast catchy songs, when they slow it down and rock a track with soulful lyrics this Duo is even better. They blend perfectly on this track and know what they want and how to ask for it. It’s sultry without being slutty and I love that. In a world where artist now a days feel they have to be sexy or frankly naked on a stage to get attention it’s nice to hear a track from two very attractive young ladies who show us that a girl can be both sexy and not slutty. Well played Maddie and Tae.

9. “No Place Like You”    *new track

I love the banjo in this track, it moves the track forward and you can almost picture them moving through the day. Again it’s a track about a young lady who is following her dream but remembering what’s at home waiting on her and able to have both. This reminded me of Bryan Whites Every Where I Turn and I love any track that makes me think of Bryan White.

10. “After the Storm Blows Through”    *new track

When I heard this song today, for the first time, while at work, I started crying. I don’t know if it’s the anniversary of Katrina and all of that being on the news, but I was transported back to that moment when a friend calls to say they have lost everything and not having a clue how to respond to it. This song could literally be about anything, from a personal struggle, or health problems, basically it’s saying whatever you have to face I’m there with you let’s go do this. This one reminded me of Carrie Underwood, which is a huge compliment for these ladies. I have yet to get through this track without tearing up and hope I never do. As well as they do fun catchy Country, these ladies do soulful better than anyone I’ve ever heard and they are only 20 .... think about that for a second. Simply amazing. If you get no other track get this one, and then you’ll go back for the others.

11. “Downside of Growing Up”    *new track

This song perfectly sums up growing up, from moving away for the first time to dealing with life’s drama on your own, and coming out of it with lessons learned. This one is a lot like Fly and has a similar feel but more upbeat. I can see this track being the “class song” of 2015 if it gets released as a single and I really think that it should. It's another track where I can see the video in my head as I listen. It’s the perfect transitioning from this moment to the next moment song.

So that’s the album in a nutshell. I know I gushed over a few of these tracks and maybe fan girled a little bit more than I meant to but when I tell you this is the first album in a while I was really excited about that means something. It’s an album the world needs it’s an album that deserves some love and I hope the Country community continues to embrace these ladies cause I think Country Music, or Music in general needs role models like Maddie and Tae if only so that things like Tomatogate don’t happen again.

Check out the album and if you download Smoke, Fly, After the Storm Blows Through, and Downside of Growing up, I swear you’ll go back for the rest.
Follow these ladies on Twitter and get to know them they will be here for a while. 


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cosplay is not my forte

Don’t get me wrong I love Cosplay I really do but it’s like a LOVE/HATE relationship. It’s weird cause I totally LOVE Halloween. I love the idea that for one night I can literally be anything that I want. I mean one year for Halloween I made a Dog costume because my nephew who was going to be SpiderMan that year said SpiderMan needed a dog. So Dave the dog was born. I had a blast doing that, yet can’t seem to get geared up for DragonCon Cosplay. I don’t understand why other than the pressure to do something really good or not at all...

Something like …. Say … this …. I mean whose brain comes up with something like this?

Or this …. I don't even want to know how many hours this took to create

Or this …I wasn't even sure what this was but it was cool!

There are several things wrong with this pressure however….
  1. I like to be comfortable and walking around Atlanta at the end of August/early September just sounds HOT right now and I’m talking temperature hot. Like it’s stupid hot outside and a costume with wigs and outfits just sounds suffocating, especially when you start thinking about accessories.
  2. Have you ever tried to get in the back of an Uber car in a costume? How about on the bus? When not staying at a host hotel it’s just damn inconvenient. I want to be comfortable, I want to enjoy the Con, I want to look at all the pretty people and be in awe of their talents. These people btw are insanely talented if you've never been to one of these that's the thing that strikes you the most the amount of talent that Hollywood is letting go to waste!
  3. Anything over a size XL looks like a queen’s dress or some long velvet dress from the mid-ages, or tries to "make a big girl sexy!" I’m not sexy, never going to be sexy, don't no body want to see this body, and again a long velvet dress of say the Queen of England is not in my mind true Cosplay. Plus as I said before it’s too fucking hot for a velvet dress.
  4. I’d much rather be the person at the Con in jeans and a super hero T carrying around my camera taking pictures of all the awesome Cosplayers on the "display floor" of the host hotel. As I’ve said on numerous occasions I don’t like being the center of attention, I HATE having my picture made so to wear some Cosplay that gets attention would be awful. If I’m not wearing it to get attention when what’s the point?
  5. Cosplay, when done right, is time consuming. I have run out of time to put some real effort into a costume at this point and to half ass it seems, just well wrong. We won’t even discuss the amount of money people spend on their Cosplay because if I could buy a decent looking costume that wouldn't mean trading in my car, thus not being able to get to the Con, I’d totally do it. That’s not lazy that’s just smart!
  6. People can tell when you are phoning it in. Not all costumes have to be elaborate and have electronics involved but if you just put on a hoodie and a mask in my opinion you are just announcing the fact that you didn’t want to put the effort into this but you wanted to participate. I don’t know it just seems disrespectful to the people who have been working on their costumes since they woke up from their Con Coma last year.
So basically dear reader this post is my confession to Golden and our DragonCon crew that this year I will not be wearing any costumes. This is NOT a call to Golden and our crew to CREATE me a costume, PLEASE for the love of all that is holy don’t! I want to enjoy the Con, I want to walk around for a few days in jeans and a t-shirt, comfortable shoes, and just enjoy being with some awesome people. I want to take pictures, I want to share those pictures, and I want to enjoy my vacation stress free (stress less?). I also, if I’m making a want/wish list, want the DragonCon people to give the Windows Phone users an app that we can utilize throughout the Con, I want to stay in a host hotel next year, and lastly I want to watch DragonCon TV in an overflow hotel. I don't believe that I'm asking for too much here!

So until next time friends, I'll be the one in the Coulson/Fury T-shirt standing off to the side holding her camera and smiling at all the pretty!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

It’s DRAGON CON TIME … almost

Cue the Swedish rock band, Europe's 1986 bitchin anthem, The Final Countdown because DragonCon is almost here! To the young ass kid reading this … you tube Final Countdown by Europe then go to your room, you are grounded for not knowing it before, your parents should be ashamed!

*synthesizer rocks out*
 Dunna dun nun, duna dun dun dun  
It's DRAGON CON TIME !!! (I picture you reader... reading that in the same what you'd say it's Adventure Time!) Well at least time to get my butt in gear so I can be ready for DragonCon!
 It's less than three weeks away and I have, let's see, if I add up that, with this, carry the two, multiply that by …. Oh no wait that’s right it's FUCKING ZERO! Not a damn thing done! This wouldn’t be a problem except for IT’S LESS THAN THREE WEEKS AWAY!!!!!!!
I have had to focus on my medical treatments so intensely for the past 2 months that DragonCon has just snuck up on my ass! So I am very… very… very far behind! So far behind I'm looking at DragonCon from light years away.

BUT.... I have not yet conceded to give up, like some lame ass people *Marcy* whom I won’t call out on this blog because I’m classy and she *Marcy* knows who the hell I’m talking about. No way! I have 19 days to whoop my ass into con greatness!
That's 19 days to brainstorm and execute some rad cosplay that someone will want to take a picture with.
19 days to arrange a sitter for LuLu, my crack addicted puppy who thinks that she is grown up enough to stay by herself! But I really don't think that she is responsible enough. Did you read her post after last year’s DragonCon, she definitely can’t stay alone for an extended time frame … yet.
19 days to plan out which events to schedule. 19 days to get my house amazingly clean because can't nobody go on vacation and come home to a dirty ass house. 19 days to get packed. 19 DAYS! OMG!!!! DRAGONCON IS IN LESS THAN THREE WEEKS PEOPLE!!!!!
Breathe Golden …. It’s ok

So I guess it all starts TODAY. Today I shall attack the day with fervor! Today I shall jump up first thing in the noonish and work on some cosplay. Today is the first day of the rest of my life!

...well that's a bit fucking dramatic. Maybe let me bring the focus back down a bit. Today is the beginning of the DragonCon Final Countdown and the beginning of Golden being super hyper drive busy ! (which is always a good time for the outsider looking in) But it will all be worth it come September!

I hope to keep you all informed along the way so keep an eye out for new blog posts. You can also follow along on Twitter, where I will be posting updates leading up to DragonCon, some flashbacks from last years DragonCon (which is really where this Blog hit its stride afterall) and the insanity expected for this year's event. My crew has their memberships, the hotel is booked, now it’s up to us to get our asses in gear so this is a fun vacation, looking at you MARCY! 
If you have any suggestions, ideas or con helpfuls just hit me up and share the wealth!

Now let’s get busy … after this marathon of Doctor Who of course.

 -golden (@theonlygolden)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Kick it with Karsyn

Back in February I started a plan to celebrate the return of NASCAR for the 2015 season, support my favorite driver Jeff Gordon, and help out one of my favorite charities all at the same time. I figured now that we were well past half way through the season it would be nice to update you guys on how it’s going and tell you how you can get involved.

I’d love to tell you guys that Jeff is burning up the track in his final season, I can’t ... however there is a lot of racing left; he's still in the running for the Chase and he's had some good promising finishes for a final season of racing. Plus not all of the issues have been in their control and that's just racin' though I'd love to see him pull into Victory lane one more time! The best part of this "subpar" season is that due to the season he is having the charity is a big winner, as least as far as my challenge goes!

To RECAP: I decided that a win by Jeff was worth $24 dollars to the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation through my friend Larry. If Jeff starts on the pole I’d add 5$ to the final total. The finish of the day dictates the amount of the donation for that week. AKA – if he finished 1st and started on the pole, then the donation would be at best $28 bucks, if he finished 12th but did not start on the pole the donation would be $12 dollars, 12th with a pole start would be $17 bucks and so on..... The goal with this project was to show people that it’s not the “big donations” that make a difference, though I’m sure Larry appreciates those, it’s the small amounts that add up to big donations overtime. The average donation has been around $15 bucks a race, I spend that much on lunch, sometimes.

I realized early in this process the worse Jeff does the higher my donation became, which was bad for Jeff but after several rough finishes has been great for the charity. Who knows maybe Jeff is doing it on purpose, nah he's an athlete, he wants to win. Win he shall I'm sure, but so far this season, based on Jeff’s results so far, I have donated $372.00 to support my friend Larry, who runs and his fight against pediatric cancer through the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. My latest donation went straight to the Kick it with Karsyn event coming up in September in Wabash, Indiana and that's where you guys can join in the fun. 

This is the 2nd annual kick ball tournament to benefit childhood cancer research. Every dollar raised in the event will benefit the Jeff Gordon Pediatric Cancer Research Lab at Riley Hospital where Karsyn and others like her receive their treatments. The most exciting thing about this event is that Jeff has pledged to MATCH ALL donations to make a larger impact through this event.

If you can PLEASE donate to this event via the donation site here Kick it withKarsyn and let’s help fight Pediatric Cancer! At 12 years old, Karsyn has been battling cancer since she was 4 years old, it’s crazy to me that the tools and medicine used in her battle are older than her parents.

In honor of all who continue to fight, in memory of those who we have lost, and for the future children whom I hope will have an easier time because of events like this, I beg you to visit the links throughout this post (and below) then consider donating to this cause. Funding research to fight pediatric cancer is important and the Kick It Event is a fantastic way to allow a small donation to have a HUGE impact.
Twitter: @KarsynKickIt
2nd Annual Kick It With Karsyn Donation/Details page:
Hospital Facebook Page:
Benefits: Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation / Kick-It)
Gordonline Facebook:
Larry's Essay on Karsyn:
The Inspiration for it all: Jackson Panzarello

Thanks for your time, please consider a donation, if you can, and if you can't at least share this post so others who can donate might be moved to do so.

If you are in or near Wabash, IN and want to volunteer or just see a fun event check out the links above and get involved! If you aren't in Wabash, IN check out the Kick It With Jeff Gordon website to see if there are events closer to where you live!

Fight on! 

-Marcy (@beaslma)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Blog Challenge - When I Feel Frustrated ...

So the other day I climbed on my soap box and talked about how we needed to elevate the level of discourse on Social Media. I’ve been thinking about how I can do that, knowing I won't solve it on my own but at least I'll know I'm trying. I can’t do that with a non-existent blog so if I’m going to have this thing ... I’m going to use it. Well I’m going to make more of an effort to use it.

For me, the biggest issue with this blog is I don’t know what to write. Bitching about work seems like a waste cause this is suppose to be a break from work stress, plus who the hell wants to read that? They have their own work stress and also need a break from it so they see that and say yeah i'm done with that and click away. Talking about TV seems to also be a waste of everyone’s time cause if you want to see what I’m watching you could just follow me on twitter (@beaslma). I’ve written several posts about music and don’t worry those will continue, but for now I’ve decided to take a different route. I found this site run by Chris Brogan who posted “100 blog topics I hope you write” and I’ve decided to take up his call to arms--keyboard ?

The first one I’ve decided to tackle is #47 (cause anyone can start at the top or the bottom) When I Feel Frustrated! So here goes ……

Now notice Mr. Brogan didn’t tell us is what you are supposed to write about frustration, and I guess that’s where I come in. I mean I guess I have to bring something to the table huh? There’s no free ride in this game. I’ve decided to take frustrated at face value and talk about WHAT makes me frustrated and how I deal with it, or in most cases don't "deal" with it.

My major source of frustration is work mostly because it is typically a result of someone else doing something that affects my ability to do my job and feeling like it's something I have zero control of. It's majorly frustrating knowing there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. I can preplan, I can prepare, I can create a schedule, but if any of the guys I work with ignore it, or don’t follow it I end up running around like a chicken with my head cut off and people think I didn’t do MY job. Well people at work know me well enough to know that’s not the case, but that’s the way I feel. I’m so nuts about it I’ve even built what I call “BS time” into my job cause I know at some point during my process I’m going to be spinning my wheels or waiting on someone to do their part so I can do mine.

It’s why I’ve never liked it when the teacher assigned a group project. I’d rather do it myself than rely on other people to help me, however the real world is all about working as a team or group. I’m not good at that, but that’s mostly because I don’t trust people to do it was well as me, or to do it at all. Giving away a piece of a part of my job just seems to always make the process harder. Not only do I feel the need to explain it, but I also have anxiety in wondering if they are doing it, how they are doing it, what it will look like, and if I’m going to have time to redo it when they finally send it to me.

All of that being said … what really frustrates me the most is HOW I deal with my frustrations. I get angry, I grit my teeth,  I hit myself in the head cause I can't hit them, I get snippy with people, I get tunnel vision, I just need to finish my task and move on. I need everyone to get the haties out of my way and let me do it. I’ll admit I’ve been known to throw things and cuss other things. I know all that does is raise my blood pressure, I know it isn’t professional, and when I throw things I just have to go and pick them up which irritates me even more.

So what I have learned through this process…. How I deal with frustration is not healthy, and after typing it out I hope that the next time I’m in a frustrating situation I’ll take a deep breath, look around, and deal with my frustration in a productive way, but the truth is I likely won’t. I know me and I also know that part of my frustration is a pride in doing something the right way and when I’m forced to half ass something I get frustrated not because of anything I can control but because it seems like a giant waste of my efforts. You’d think the part of my brain that gives into frustration would hook up with the part of my brain who realizes that the way I deal with frustration is not productive. However apparently they aren’t friends.

Frustration always wins. Stupid frustration.

Thanks Chris Brogan for the inspiration and I’ll be using your site for posts in the future cause you have some great ideas there and I thank you for that cause that’s half the blog battle.

-Marcy (@beaslma)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Everyone please calm down! *SoapBox Post*

Takes a deep breath and climbs up on my soap box.

“I need everyone to calm down ….Please”

A few years ago I had a boss, that was one of those people who always had a cause that she was very passionate about. No matter what her cause was, various non-profits, homelessness and how to deal with the problem, charity’s that she supported, all very good causes, and I admired her for having them, but I also resented the hell out of her for making HER causes MINE.

I admire the passion and drive that people are showing their respective causes of the moment but as I said to my boss on several occasions I also need everyone to just calm down. It’s exhausting, dealing with the causes of the world. In the last few months my social media has exploded with causes that people support and while I appreciate a good tweet/post supporting this or that the never ending tweets and posts of the masses are just … exhausting my level of social media.

As a nation, hell universally, we are more connected than we have ever been but also so polarized in our “outrage” at times we don’t even know what we are outraged about. From gay marriage (PS can we just call it marriage now?!) to the confederate flag, to a US dentist killing a lion, downed planes, Pro military, anti military, Cops VS everyone, abortion, animals being mistreated, missing children, and guns rights, it’s all becoming too much. I’ve even seen people attacking others for the stores they shop at, the restaurants they frequent, and the cars they drive. This never ending assault on my various Timelines for and against all of these things is taking its toll on me.

Again, I don’t have a problem with people posting their beliefs and would NEVER tell someone not to do so, as that’s the reason social media exists, what I DO have a problem with is when those beliefs are posted and someone jumps someone else’s ass for not sharing their particular belief. The discourse that we are currently inflicting on each other goes against EVERYTHING social media was born for.

Oh you want the confederate flag to fly you are a racist, you agree that Marriage should be legal for all then you are going to hell, Religious posts vs you are going to hell posts really drive me crazy. I mean my goodness people at one point over the last year we were arguing about a freaking dress color. I mean guys come on what are we doing with this amazing tool that has been given to us?! We don’t debate this shit at all we call someone a name and then the piranhas of social media pounce until that person either blocks everyone or just goes away entirely. Lord help us all if it’s a celebrity and their “fan base” that get involved cause the piranhas become zombies hell bent on taking someone down in the name of loyalty to their favorite actor, athlete, activist, or author. It’s no wonder that one of the Presidential nominees is running away with the race at the moment as his biggest response is they are an idiot. IT’s enough to make someone want to cancel their internet connection.

Let’s realize that not everyone is going to back the same cause, that no cause is more important or bigger than the last, that there’s room for everyone in this arena. Let’s all strive to put the SOCIAL back in Social media, to have discussions even if they make us slightly uncomfortable, let’s hear one another out and have meaningful discussions. Let’s debate topics that concern us all and maybe, just maybe we’ll all learn something in the process.

Most important let’s do whatever we can to raise the level of discourse of our politicians cause goodness knows it can’t go lower.

-Marcy (@beaslma)
 -- who is jumping off her soap box now. :D Thanks for letting me rant now let's start a discussion.