Monday, December 2, 2013

Racism is Everywhere (and it's not cute)

Okay, I'm pretty sure we're all tired of seeing this shirt by now. A little backstory; Mastodon recently put out this shirt. It's stupid and racist but they don't want to say that because that would make them sound like dumb racists. Even MetalSucks is on this shit, defending the t-shirt from the perspective of a white person who has probably never had to live the life of a native American person.

Okay, let me take a step back. Is the t-shirt stupid and racist? Absolutely. Is Mastodon a bunch of KKK members who want to purge America of indigenous peoples? No. What they are is a bunch of dudes who have no idea what it's like to be an indigenous American. Or even a brown person. Mastodon is made up of four white dudes. Is there anything wrong with being a white dude? Of course not! I love white dudes! Being white is cool, but you have to realize that you, as a white person, have a vastly different life experience than someone who is not white. You can't understand what it's like as a brown person to see brown people depicted in these ways and maybe that's why they thought it would be okay to make this t-shirt. Mastodon even came out and said:

Regarding our thanks giving shirt, whether you choose to believe or not, (who doesn't believe this??) the American Indians were massacred by the white settlers who became the Americans we are today.

This shirt represents this atrocity and celebrating in the face of this atrocity is chilling. (I wasn't aware that we celebrated this during Thanksgiving.. am I doing it wrong?)

We may have a sick sense of humor, but we are far from being “Racist” as some of you who might not get it are calling us.

I personally don't believe they are racist. What I believe is that Mastodon doesn't understand what they did or why it offended people, and that happens a lot. It doesn't make them racist, it just makes their opinions the product of certain racist elements that are readily accepted in society. We see them every day and we've learned to live with them, especially in regards to Native Americans. Thankfully, we have (for the most part) put a lot of really horrible Black stereotypes to rest in this country, because duh, Black people aren't too keen on seeing stuff like this in the media. So they spoke up and people realized how stupid they were being. I'm sure there were plenty of people saying that those uppety Black folks should stop complaining and know their place, but they didn't listen. They fought against racism and are continuing an upward battle against it, today. And that's something to be proud of. So why do people get pissy when native peoples do the same?

Because they don't see them as actual people. The image of a native woman on her knees is every bit as racist as the "atrocity" that Mastodon is trying to educate us on. The idea that they feel we should be educated is even more insulting; please, tell me, who in America doesn't realize that the native people here were screwed during European colonization? I learned that in elementary school. Are some kids not learning that? I'm sure you can educate them way better than with a t-shirt.

And next time you want to bring attention to the plight of another group of people, you might want to try asking their opinion first.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Inappropriately Shaped

Butter me up, bitches. I am on a roll, today.

Backstory:
A few years ago, I worked as a software trainer. I liked teaching. Sometimes my students (shitty self-entitled adults) were irritating, but actually, I'm a pretty good teacher. I liked talking all day, I liked showing people how to do stuff. I also knew how to dress for the job. Knee-length skirts, blouses, pantyhose, slacks, blazers, ect. Nothing too tight or too revealing. At one point, I asked my boss if how I was dressed was ok. He said I was fine. Fast forward to several months later, I'm being laid off and he's telling me lies TO MY FACE. "Your co-worker had an intervention with you about the way you dress..." he lied, to my face, as they gave me severance pay. I'd later find out that they had a high turnover rate and would constantly hire/lay-off/fire people. But that whole inappropriate dressing thing always stuck with me, so I always made sure to dress in such a way that couldn't possibly be inappropriate. No cleavage. Skirts to my knees. It's easy when you're 5' tall!!

This lady is taller than I am, so
on me, the dress goes to my
knees!
So imagine my shock when my co-worker got an e-mail from another person we work with saying that my dress, the same dress I've worn several times before (without complaint), was "inappropriate". "Club dress". I'm not even kidding. Keep in mind, I paired this non-cleavage bearing knee-length free-flowing empire-waist dress with black tights, heels, and a sweater. It is indeed the same dress to the left. I wore purple jewelry (which got a lot of compliments!), and I guess that somehow translated to "people are paying attention to what she's wearing and this is bad". Not only that, but I wore this because she agreed that my old uniform, a shapeless polyester men's shirt and black slacks, was terrible. I even asked this person if my dresses were okay! I got feedback on every single outfit! Honestly, I don't know. This being the second time my clothes have been criticized, I'm starting to wonder if the clothes aren't the problem.

Maybe I'm the problem.

I think maybe, I'm inappropriately shaped. My figure is so awe inspiring, it makes people think that, regardless of what I wear, I am so fucking hot it's distracting. That's really the only explanation I can come up with. As a pear-shaped person, my small waist and wide hips immediately make you think of sex, which is my fault. Sorry about that. I'll be sure to wear my designated burlap sack in the future.

Monday, November 18, 2013

So what's it like to be a woman in metal?

First of all, if you groaned or made any kind of eye rolling gesture at the title of this blurg, shut the fuck up and give me a fucking break. Not only am I sick of people getting pissy whenever anyone brings up the word "woman", but I'm sick of people getting pissy when I make any mention of my gender when talking about metal. Lets have some real talk.

A few days ago, Metal Sucks posted this fucking gem about why "It’s Time to Stop Thinking of Women in Metal as WOMEN in Metal" . This was in reference to me doing a Q & A on Jezebel, a feminist website for women. So Leyla at Metal Sucks decided to pick apart the idea of women calling attention to their gender because if we want to be treated equally, we should stop shouting our womenhood from the hills or some kind of bullshit like that. What she failed to mention is that Jezebel is a website for mainstream women, most of which have no idea what's going on in the metal world, as a way for me to say, "hey normal ladies, metal isn't so scary! It's actually full of women! Let me tell you what it's like!" So of course in my efforts to bring more people into metal, what happens? We get an article that tries to punish us for talking to ladies about being ladies because that's wrong somehow. And we get comments from the local metal trolls about how women don't belong in metal, how men do it better, and how in general, women in metal are a bunch of whores who use our tits to get ahead. (AHAHAHA) Ahead? In metal? Are you out of your mind??


Now look, I will be the first person to roll my eyes when a girl in a metal band uses her body to sell her band because it annoys me on a personal level.. hell, even the women who did that are suddenly discovering that people aren't as stupid as to equate boobs with good music. But does that mean that every time a woman calls herself a woman or says, "Hey, check it out, I'm a woman" she's doing something wrong? Fuck you, why is that wrong? Why aren't we even allowed to talk about our gender? Once again, men are telling us what is right and what is wrong. Being a woman in metal sucks sometimes. I'm the last person you will see trying to be sexy or trying to flaunt her body (lol) or anything like that, and I still have bad experiences in the metal scene from misogynists who think it's ok to put their hands on me whenever they want. You think I'm kidding? I just got back from a tour that we're calling "the tour where things got creepy".

I'm sure I'll get plenty of dudes who will say "well if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!". Haha, fuck you. Fuck you and keep your fucking hands off me. If we've just met, I do not want to hug you. I reserve hugs (and touching of any kind) to people I choose to hug (like friends) and I do not need your lingering odor all over me because you think it's cool to embrace someone three times smaller than you over and over again. Take a hint. I understand that some people are socially awkward, but I don't think every creepy dude I encountered on this trip has autism. I think they're just used to thinking that hugging a woman over and over again is okay for some reason. Stop fucking hugging me. It's exhausting. Stop grabbing my hand and trying to pull me places. Have a conversation like a normal person. Would you hug a dude you just met over and over again? Probably not.

And that's why I'm sick of this whole "if you want to be treated equally, act like a guy!" bullshit. Are you fucking kidding me? I go out there in jeans and a t-shirt and I still have sweaty man children trying to fondle me. I don't allow strange men to buy me drinks because I think it's mean to lead men on, so don't even think of accusing me of it. I don't tell men I'm single, I don't tell men I'm available to date, all I do is tell them I'm in a band and if they'd like to stick around and watch the show I would appreciate it. You watching me does not mean you are allowed to grab me. Hands off.


That includes you, Facebook stalkers. Please, come say hello. I'm fine with saying hello. Just keep your hands off of me, don't get frighteningly drunk, and know when to say goodbye.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Sound of Thunder Announces New Album, Smashes Crowd-Funding Goal in Four Days

Extra, extra! Read all about it! A Sound of Thunder's fans are fucking incredible!

Seriously. As of yesterday, we made our 1st stretch goal of $12,000. As of Monday, we made our original goal, $10,000, to finish recording The Lesser Key of Solomon. The stretch goal was added so we could do something fun (I REQUIRE FUN), so we said, hey, lets do something silly for the sake of all metal and record a female-perspective version of Pleasure Slave. Because what could be funnier than a bunch of dudes groaning as I sing about being served by them? NOTHING. So we said, hey, if people really want it, lets find out. Apparently, people really wanted it. Well, they wanted that, and all the other extras. Like... the hardcover book full of art and lyrics. The hockey jersey (my idea!!). The t-shirts. The limited edition CDs. People actually wanted this stuff and, lo and behold, people wanted us to cover their favorite songs that they were willing to shell out a thousand bucks (two people!) for a demo and THREE THOUSAND BUCKS for a professionally recorded version. Yes, someone likes us enough that they're gonna pay three grand just to hear us cover something.

Okay, I don't know about you, but that shit floored me. That and the fact that people like our products so much, the average pledge amount is a hundred bucks. So far, in a week, we've got 123 people who actually want to put money toward us playing and recording and making things. That is incredibly generous and awesome. To me, this says we've got not only fans, but a good product.. and we are the product! How's that for the best Halloween ever? Not only do I get to celebrate my favorite holiday, but my band is being financed by people who want to see us succeed. Truly, my black little heart is weeping tears of blood and mercury.

Now, after weeks of focusing on recording, we've got to get back to practicing the set so we can go on tour. The tour will last for a lot of the KickStarter so we can work on making new fans. By the time we get back, the KickStarter will almost be over and we can put that money toward finishing the album and, in my case... layout. Oh, layout. How I love and hate thee. If you didn't know, I do the layout for all of our products. CDs, records, books, everything. It saves us money and gives me the opportunity to get away with adding my own little touch to everything. I'm looking forward to all the photos of our fans we'll be adding, this time, as well as photos from the tour. If all goes well next week, we'll be recording video of us going to various eateries and posting them to YouTube, but that's another story.

Today is Halloween and today we celebrate that metal is indeed alive and well, thanks to incredible fans and a lot of good old fashioned hard work. And vodka.

Happy Halloween!!


Monday, October 28, 2013

This is Halloween!

I just had the most Halloween-filled weekend of my life! Friday - party. Saturday - party. Sunday - party... cleanup. Epic. During this weekend's festivities, it was difficult not to find myself glued to my phone since we also launched our new KickStarter campaign. After only a few days, we've nearly reached our half-point goal and LEMME TELL YA, I'm pretty shocked by how much people gave and how quickly! At this point I'm just worried it will slow down! I understand there's usually a lull after the initial boom period, so here's hoping it doesn't end too abruptly. Not only do we have to make our initial goal, but I -really- want to hit that $12k stretch goal so we can record Pleasure Slave.

And of course, just in time for Halloween, we finally introduce our new music video for I'll Walk With You! Hurray for gore!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

SECRET EXCITEMENT

I'm not allowed to say why I'm so excited. All I can do is share my feelings with you through a single gif.


Happy speculating!

NaNoWriMo 2013

Alright, so we're halfway through October and I'm already panicking. No, not because my costume wig came and wasn't exactly how I wanted it (I can use rollers on fake hair, right??) but because next month is National Novel Writing Month and I'm starting to wonder if I can pull it off.
The last time I tried NaNoWriMo, I got as far as 42k words before I couldn't get any further. So close to the 50k goal!! I have no idea why I stopped, but I tend to do that when I write. I'll write a big chunk of stuff and somehow stop and not have the will to continue. I don't know if it's writer's block, because I knew where I wanted the story to go, or just a lack of motivation. I was having fun with that book but halfway through I began to doubt myself. I mean, sure, this is supposed to be for fun, but then I start to think if what I'm writing is just a bunch of crap and it all crumbles. This year, I've got a head start with my outline, and I keep going back and changing things because the more I look at it, the stupider it seems. So I keep going back and changing it, and wondering to myself, "when did I fall in love with my RP characters and why?" Because damn, I used to churn out stories for my RP characters like it was nothing, yet I can't fall in love with new people?

Why is this hot?? 
That's when I decided that this is exactly what I need to write. I've got to create characters I actually like, which sounds easier than it really is. I don't like Mary Sue's. I don't like it when one person is "the chosen one" (Harry Potter) and when one person is perfect and beautiful and different (Twilight, Diversient) so my goal here is to create a character that is both normal and engaging. I look to books like Wool for inspiration on that end, because I really think that the author did a good job by creating a main character that is both female AND not breathtakingly amazingly beautiful. Also, get this, she's OLDER than her love interest. She's in her thirties. When was the last time that happened?? I'm actually pretty guilty of the old man/young woman trope when it comes to romance. It's been hammered into my head so many times (hello, Pretty Woman??) that it just seems right to me, even if it might not always be. I'll totally admit that I enjoy writing that kind of dynamic. Maybe it's the teacher/student thing. Maybe I just like facial hair and some grizzled old-man lines. Who knows. I'm just sayin', most of the dudes I'm into (looks wise) have 3 things in common; facial hair, long hair, and a couple of wrinkles. Just a couple, though. I'm not into like.. Sir Anthony Hopkins-like dudes, just yet. Maybe someday. We'll see. In the meantime, Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter era, with the long white hair, I DON'T CARE IF IT'S A WIG) is pretty much #1 in my brain.

So without giving too much away, my project for NaNoWriMo is (as usual) a mixture of fantasy and horror. I'm hoping I can get down the main idea without getting too bogged down by details, as I usually do. I really do want to finish something for once. Being on tour in November probably won't help, and I doubt I'll be able to type enough on my phone to keep up, so that's gonna be my biggest challenge; getting in the  1,700 words a day I need to make my goal. I really don't want to have to write everything by hand and count out the words! It's times like this I wish I had a working laptop, again...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What your music taste says about you on a date...

A friend of mine posted a silly list from a silly website about what your music taste says about you on a date that was written in 2011. The artists are still pretty current, so it being two years old doesn't mean much. I won't make you click on the link, so here's a few key quotes:

Rihanna: You’re hot.
Judas Priest: At some point in your life, you’ve sniffed a little glue.
Nicki Minaj: You’re awesome. 


If you look like this, you might be a "straight", and I
probably fear you.
Ahahahaha!! Okay, lets stop right there. First of all, I understand that this is on a silly little website marketed toward normal people, a group I refer to as "the straights". The straights are people who I usually don't (and try not to) associate with because we don't get along. Not for lack of trying, mind you! I've got a few things in common with normal people; sports, for example. I read the sports page and I'm on Deadspin often enough to know what's what in the world of sports. I'm no expert, but for the most part, I can take part in a conversation on the Redskins. I admit though, I am way more versed in the Capitals and hockey, but hey, hockey is becoming an everyman's sport so there ya go! If I need to talk to a normal folk, we'll talk about sports. Or news. I know what's going on in the world because I enjoy listening to NPR and reading the newspaper. I am by no means an awkward nerd.

All of this being said, music is where I get weird, because music is where my heart is. Specifically, my heart is in a kind of music that most straights either know nothing about or are afraid of, so this is where we have some disagreements. My husband, thankfully, doesn't make me sick with his music choices. Sure, he and I have some disagreements when it comes to King Diamond, but I can respect that. Some people just don't get King Diamond. I was once one of them. I get it. What I don't get is the mindset people have when they choose to listen to things like Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. 



Zakk Wylde, the sexiest and manliest of men.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not judging people who like this kind of music. I just don't understand it. I mean, I kind of understand it. People like catchy music. Okay, I get that. But in my head, this music isn't catchy. It's grating. I'm sure people think the same way I do when it comes to heavy metal, which is why I think, deep down, this is why I just can't get involved too deeply with "the straights". Somewhere in our brains, we are wired differently. Some people will hear a Miley Cyrus song and think, "wow, that's awesome, I'm gonna buy that!" and I'll hear it and think, "this is really boring". That isn't to say that all metal fans agree on everything, either. We can be some of the pickiest SOBs in the world and we fight over the dumbest shit. Being classified as a metal band doesn't necessarily mean I'm gonna enjoy the music, and I'll be the first to tell you how much I loathe most bands that have -core at the end of their description.

But I digress. This list was interesting to me because I can see this as how the normal world views us. I listen to Judas Priest, so there's probably something wrong with me. Well, in my vision, the world is the opposite. I see people who listen to Britney Spears and wonder what's wrong with them. We walk along these separate paths and meet in the middle to discuss beer and hockey, but it's times like these I'm glad I don't date, because I can't imagine what it would be like to meet a handsome man and discover he's into Miley Cyrus. Of course, my definition of "handsome" includes long hair and a beard, so, that probably wouldn't happen... but if it did, I might be devastated.


I don't want to write down my own judgmental list of  ways in which I look down on others. I understand that saying "You listen to Kanye West? EW GROSS!" would make me look kinda bitchy. So instead, I'll write down a list of my real-life reactions to people's musical taste. Here goes!


Miley Cyrus: ..really? Even with the.. huh. Okay. Well.. okay.

Judas Priest: Which era? Can we be friends forever?
Nikki  Minaj: I like her pants?
Black Sabbath: Which era? 
Adele: She's very talented!
X Japan: I love you. Lets sing Kurenai together and lament the death of hide almost as dramatically as Yoshiki.
Lady Gaga: Whatever you wanna do, man.
Metallica: You mean now?
John Mayer: Who?
Iron Maiden: Lets frolic TO THE HILLS together!
Beyonce: You mean on your own time?
Dio: Sorry, but I'm already married.

One Direction: Who?
Maroon 5: Who?
Imagine Dragons: Did you say Dragonforce?? No? Oh. Who?
Dragonforce: Lets be friends forever! Do you play D & D?


Thursday, August 29, 2013

A big %&$# you to the Canadian government!

"Holy shit!" I said to myself as the e-mail came back. The date was open. They'd put it on hold 'til we signed a contract. Hurray!! Our first show in Canada! We'd be playing in Montreal, a magical city that boasts a beautiful night life and metal fans who like clean vocals. It was an amazing feeling. I felt accomplished.

Then this happened.

New fees for international touring musicians entering Canada


THANKS, CANADIAN GOVERNMENT. In a nutshell, they raised the cost of band members entering Canada, which means it costs$450 PER PERSON to play. I have a four piece band, so it's almost two thousand bucks to play a show that might make us a hundred bucks. Ahahahahahahanonononono. Thanks, Canada, for robbing our Canadian fans of the chance to see us near them. Thanks for sucking the life out of the local clubs who get American bands in there. From what I've heard, this is all part of some scheme to try and get Canada to promote more Canadian musicians.

Hey, I'm all for promoting locals. But don't forget that traveling musicians often help boost attendance to local performances! Playing with bands from Europe has helped us immensely. I can't imagine what it would be like if we couldn't have bands like Primal Fear or Doro come to the US, bands that are (despite their fame and history) considered "small" in our area. I doubt pop stars are gonna have a problem paying these fees, but smaller musicians? DIY bands trying to make it in a market that largely rejects them? This isn't gonna go well for us, and now it's likely we'll have to cancel our plans.

Sigh.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gratitude Project (in a nutshell)

So if you're on my friends list, odds are you've come across the "gratitude project" in which people will list one thing they're grateful for every day. Every year I see this and think, "that's a great idea!", and every year I feel kind of guilty for wanting to put what I'm grateful for on Facebook every day because it feels like bragging. So instead, I'm just gonna put it on this blurg for today because on the way into work, I had a thought.

It's freaking gorgeous outside, today. This is the kind of day I should be going on a trip to the beach with Willy to frolic amidst the sand in the sun. I hate being cooped up on pretty days, especially on a Monday when I'm tired and annoyed. However. Then I remember what it was like before I had a decent job, when waking up meant facing the realization that I'd been laid off one of those three times. The third time gave way to the most depressing moment of my life, when I was laid off from a job that I actually liked and where I actually tried really hard to be an upbeat productive member of a team. I came to work early every day. I got my work done early. I spoke up during every meeting, voicing my opinion, giving feedback, and generally acting like a leader in an area I had actual knowledge in (educational gaming software) only for them to tell me, after a few months, that the client no longer wanted a fun game and they wouldn't need me anymore. Bye bye. Go away. The receptionist will see you out.

Oh. Okay.

Enter a good month of depression where I applied to every single job in the world and was THIS CLOSE to waitressing at a seafood restaurant. I have no shame when it comes to work. I do not believe in jobs being "beneath me". I believe in jobs and I believe in working hard because when my parents came to this country, they had nothing. I've got a college degree, so what's my excuse for not working? Oh, it doesn't pay enough? Too fucking bad. I was willing to work at McDonalds until I could find better. I wound up working in a greenhouse, which I actually sort of enjoyed because I love plants and I was able to grow food on our balcony on the cheap. I was getting paid half of what I was used to and living in a studio apartment with another human and my cat. It was sad. I was sad. All the time. This was actually when I met Josh and Chris and was introduced to A Sound of Thunder, which made me very not sad. This was also when I got married! Even during the worst time of my life, I had blessings. I'm fortunate.

And now? I can't even begin to list my blessings. Not only do I have a good job in the city (which I love), but it pays well. I can get overtime. I get to wear dresses and get mani/pedis every two weeks. I make enough money to pay for whatever car I want and live in a nice neighborhood with nice neighbors. I can walk to my grocery store. I can afford artisan cheese every week. I can eat a low carb diet and feel healthy. Despite my many complaints about my body, I'm very healthy and can function as a productive member of society. I'm not disfigured in any way, so dudes still buy me drinks. I've got a band. I'm recording a new album. There are people all over the world who listen to me and enjoy hearing me sing. I have fans. I still have a 27" waist. I have someone who loves me. My teeth are straight.

I can't list all my blessings on here because there are way too many. I'm lucky, not just because I was given a great family with great values, but because I inherited their work ethic. I see ladies cleaning sinks and cutting grass, and (our race in common aside...), that could easily have been me. I could be the janitor working at the office building, but instead I'm the lady in the dress sitting at the front desk. I might get annoyed with some tenets of the job, but who isn't sometimes? The fact is that I was able to move up from a greenhouse to a place that will allow me to live in a way that I don't only enjoy, but love. So instead of being annoyed that I have to be at work on a Monday, I'm thankful that I get to be at work on a Monday. Sure, some people have it better, but some people also have it much much worse.

And at least I get to go for a nice walk on my lunch break.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerd!

This weekend brings me back to a time before time; when I, once young and carefree, would go to conventions dressed as cartoon characters and sell DVDs to my fellow fans with whoever I was dating at the time. It was a good time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven't been to a convention since graduating, and I've missed the camaraderie that comes from being in a group full of my fellow fans, so this trip to Otakon will be fun. I'm going there specifically to pass around flyers and handbills for Metal Quest II, so here's hoping it winds up being successful! I had a hard time finding a venue since Baltimore venues currently SUCK TOTAL ASS when it comes to actually speaking to people. Oh well. The Sidebar is a cool place and I imagine we're going to pack it tight. 

I'm pretty excited about this show, because I get to, once again, host one of my favorite bands; Dethlehem. These guys are everything I ever wanted in a D&D themed band, and much more. I hope I see people moshing in the Sidebar with their foam swords in full costume, because there's nothing sweeter then a floor full of weirdos like me. I'm trying to figure out what to do, costume-wise, because I don't want me and the guys to FAIL yet again and not have a band costume. I HATE THAT. IT'S WRONG. We should all have costumes, damn it! So I'll figure something out, and God willing, we'll all look ridiculous and it will be great.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Oh the pain, the pain of it all!

I'm starting to wonder if I'm one of those "chronic pain" sufferers. It's true that I live with pain just about every day, but it's not mind-numbing. Not every day, anyway.
Now, after looking at this chart, I've got NO FREAKING IDEA which one I am. I've been told by my doctor that I have weak neck muscles because I sit in a desk all day and getting up and moving might help fix that. Well, I do that. I get up and walk every few minutes, and then of course I work out during the day. I'm fairly certain that my chronic pain is a result of being in THREE CAR ACCIDENTS where I was rear-ended. The pain always goes from my neck, to my shoulders, and sometimes eventually down my arms. I get headaches. It sucks. So what does my doctor give me?

Valium! I haven't had Valium since my last car accident in 2011, when my beloved Celica was destroyed. They gave it to me at the hospital and gave me a prescription for a few more, which I'd take at night if I was in a ton of pain. I recall waking up one morning, feeling like I couldn't move, and taking a Valium before work. Boy was THAT a bad idea! I walked around in a daze for a few hours. Good thing I don't drive to work!! But after that incident, I didn't have any left. Well I have a few now, and two nights ago I was in a ton of pain again. I took the Valium and felt absolutely nothing. What gives? Have my years of vodka killed my Valium receptors? I dunno, maybe it was just because I took it after I ate. I'll give it another try when it hurts too bad (and I'm safely at home with nowhere to go), but this pain in my neck is a real pain in my ass.

First off, I can't work out when it hurts too bad. Doctor's orders. Which SUCKS because when I don't work out, I feel lazy and yes, fat. I hate that feeling. I work my ass off in the gym not to feel that feeling, and when I'm in pain I just wanna lie on the couch and eat pizza and drink champagne out of a coffee mug and watch Andrew Zimmern eat weird shit. I need a personal chef who will cook me healthy food when I'm in pain so I'm not tempted to order junk food because let me tell you, when you can't think, a deal from Pizza Hutt is mighty tempting.

So what is there to do when one is faced with chronic pain? I have no idea. I'm poppin' Advils three times a day just to get it under control (again, doctor's orders) and I still just want to have my own personal masseuse (preferably a handsome male one.. with long hair) rub my neck and shoulders 24/7. And cook for me. And clean for me. Man, the Drow really have the right idea.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Muscle loss!?

ARGHHHH MUSCLE LOSS!? Yeah, it happened. It happened because I was busy running like a jackass instead of lifting like I should be doing. Well, it's been almost a month since I did that whole "let me run 5k every day!" bullshit, and I'm already done with it. Don't get me wrong, running is great for the heart and the stamina and junk but I've only got about 45 minutes worth of gym time and if I'm spending half of that running, I don't have enough time to lift.

So I went back to lifting and maaaaaaaaaan could I feel it! I worked a bit harder than usual out of pure guilt. My poor muscles were so weak after a few weeks of not lifting so I'm pretty confident that tomorrow is going to hurt like hell, BUT, I feel way better than I did when I was just running. Oh well. I'd like to keep running twice a week, just to keep up with my stamina, so maybe I can squeeze it into my routine. I just don't want to lose muscle again. It's weird when you start feeling flabby after just a few weeks!

Monday, July 8, 2013

I must be delicious!

It's been a few weeks since I started the 5k-a-day challenge. I've kept up with it, mostly, by running a 5k every time I go to the gym. There are days when I can't do it (my mom comes to have lunch with me), and I wind up not going, but I still run so even if I miss two days out of the week, I'm clocking in a good 9+ miles. All that being said, I've lost absolutely no weight. Why? Probably due to the 4th of July and all the other excuses I make for eating something stupid during the week. I'm not one of those people who can say "I run 15 miles a week so I can eat what I want!", because while I may run 15 miles a week, it sure doesn't look like I do, even if I'm in better shape now than I've ever been in my entire life.

But that's what sucks about having my body-type. I don't look like I can run for a long time or spend hours in the sun doing strenuous work, but I can. Yesterday I spent the entire day outside, filming a music video in the sun. I wore heavy boots and jeans and I felt absolutely miserable with how I looked. I know I'm heavier than I was last year, but was I in good shape last year? No, which is what makes it all so frustrating. I was just fine running from zombies in the heat, but my mind was focused on how I looked. It's distracting and annoying. I'm proud of myself and ashamed at the same time.

So, here's to me making yet another attempt to eat clean for a few weeks in the hopes that it will help me lose the extra weight I've put on. It's not like I eat a lot, but those tiny allowances I've made for myself this past year have clearly caught up with me and I can't forget that the whole reason I've made the decision to not live my life as a fat-ass is because of the people who matter the most to me.

My band.

Also, my husband, though he'd love me no matter what.

Go ahead, there's plenty to go around!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Have you tried that crazy wrap thing?

No.

And let me tell you why!

First, a disclaimer.

I have a few friends who are selling wraps. Some of them have suggested that I buy one. I'm not against people selling things (I'm a musician... lol), and I'll happily buy lotions and make-up and stuff like that from people. The only thing I absolutely refuse to buy is a wrap product, and it has nothing to do with my friends or that they're selling it. It has everything to do with me and my own brain and how it works whenever weight loss or anything like that is concerned.

Before I go on, I'm just gonna go ahead and write this with the assumption that maybe the wraps do work. If they do, and people buy them, that's great. Nothing against you guys. But even if they do work, for someone like me who has always had issues with my looks and my weight, the idea that I can pay 75$ + for a wrap that will take off maybe an inch sounds too good to be true. Even if it does work, the product is meant to be used a few times for the effects to last or improve, which means I'm stuck paying 75$ + to wrap myself. On the website, a single "Ultimate Body Applicator" costs $99. There is also a "Loyal Customer Price" of $59, which means if you buy more they cost less. 

For someone like me, who pinches every penny to go into the band, I just can't see myself paying that much money for a product that might take off an inch temporarily and then have to keep buying it. Even if it does work, all it does is remove a little bit of flesh from me, and that's all. Will a wrap improve my stamina? No. Will a wrap improve my health? No. More importantly, will a wrap improve my mental health? Absolutely not.  Like I said, I have problems when it comes to body image and the idea of a product that will melt inches off of me in exchange for wads of cash sounds so good I know for a fact that I would become addicted. Which, of course, is what fuels the entire sale of this product. Women who want to take off a few inches.

Why is the one on the left so sad!?
Again, nothing against ladies who buy or sell these things. If you can buy or sell one without and detrimental blows to your mental health, knock yourself out. But if I'm going to be addicted to something, it's not going to be a product. I want to be addicted to working out and eating right. I want to be addicted to a healthy body image, which is something else I see in the marketing involved with these body wraps; lots and lots of body shaming.

I understand that they're trying to sell a product that promises firmer toned bellies and thighs. And that's cool. But shaming people to get your point across isn't cool. A wrap isn't going to take someone from a size 20 to a size 2. I've seen some pretty terrible ads by people trying to sell wraps and I'm not cool with this sales tactic. It reminds me of how PETA tried to shame fat people into eating vegan by calling them "whales". I've lived a lifetime of feeling ashamed of my looks just to have people continue to shame us so they can sell us a beauty product. I don't mind as much when it's big companies run by assholes I can't talk to, but when it's friends? Or even friends of friends? That makes me sad. Not mad, sad.

And then there's all the "science" they say is behind these wraps. Come on. Really? You're putting down people who diet and exercise so you can sell a body wrap? I'm sorry, but there's no way to "cleanse" your body without eating a diet full of nutritionally rich food. Like vegetables. Do you want to "cleanse" yourself? EAT VEGETABLES AND DRINK WATER. And no, vegetable juice mixed with fruit juice doesn't count. In fact, drinking fruit juice might make you gain weight because of all the concentrated sugar! EAT. YOUR. VEGETABLES. I won't guarantee you'll look like Heidi Klum, but I will guarantee that you will feel better and live longer. A wrap can't promise that.

"Keeps the body naturally lean", because you're naturally supposed to wrap your body in plastic wrap.
So please, if you're selling wraps, I appreciate your business but I can't buy one. I have cellulite and yes, I hate it, but I can't afford to buy wraps. What I can do is continue to work out, because at least that way I'll be able to run longer and have better lung capacity. Maybe I'll never be able to wear shorts, but at least I'll be saving my money for things that will make me feel good about myself.

However, if you're selling some really good lotions, sign me up.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Damn you, schedule!

Don't be fooled by my lack of a Friday post. I ran. It sucked, and I hated it. Today (which is Monday, June 17th 2013), I also ran. It sucked, and I hated it. But to be honest, I didn't feel like a complete wreck, afterwards. That feels good. It's not a huge accomplishment, but I'd like to get to the point where I can run a 5k without feeling awful during AND after. I feel like my endurance is getting better, but I still don't feel very fit. It's weird and annoying.

Look at this chick.
So on the one hand, I've been lifting weights for the past few months without seeing much in the way of physical changes. At least not in my opinion. I'm still a bit heavier than I'd like to be. Not by a huge amount, mind you, but enough that I'm annoyed. So I went back to running because when I was running just 1-2 times a week, I felt like I was in the best shape. My weight was lower, my shape was better, overall I was happier. So now I'm running again, and I feel guilty because I'm not taking as much time to lift weights. One side of my brain says that a ton of cardio doesn't help burn fat as well as building muscle does, the other side of my brain is reminding me that running is better for my stage performance and lung capacity.

I don't even know. I'm just annoyed with myself. Technically, I'm in the best shape of my life, and I still don't feel good about it. I see other women who run as much as I do, and they're all skinny, and I'm not. And it's annoying. Like, WTF do I have to do? It's not like I eat a lot, or I eat poorly. I get more vegetables than anyone I know and I don't eat sugar or refined carbs regularly. Is it my nightly martinis? Must I cut out -everything- just to get back to 120lbs? I'm eating the same way I was back then, and I still can't figure out what's wrong.

MAYBE THAT'S THE ANSWER. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG. Maybe I'm in good shape and the vanity pounds I care so much about won't go anywhere because that's just how I'm built. This is the best explanation I can come up with and MAN does it piss me off.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

5 days - 25k (Days 3 & 4)

 Whoops! Didn't update, yesterday. In case you were wondering, I totally did day #3, and it sucked. Lets talk about that.

The thing about running is that it takes a lot of energy. I've got like, zero energy in the afternoon, because it's been 6 hours since my last meal and running AFTER I eat is disgusting. I always feel like I'm gonna vomit. So I run before I eat and I'm tired. And sore, from the day before. During day 3, I was able to get a WiFi signal so I watched a few episodes of Metalocalypse. I love watching TV when I run because it's a good distraction away from the utter exhaustion I feel. Not giving myself a day to recover in between these 5ks is brutal. The muscles in the front of my thighs are sore and no stretching in the world is enough to un-sore them. My arms were exhausted after yesterday's run and it was hard to lift them enough to wash my hair, and I didn't even work my upper body, this is all from running.

Today was day 4, and it was probably the hardest run yet. I ate around 6:30 this morning then drank a protein shake (low carb) around 12 before running around 12:30. I was so ragged. It was hard not to give myself breaks between each 1/2 mile, but I  managed to push through. With a crappy WiFi connection, I couldn't watch TV so I listened to my work out mix instead. There's a lot of Hammerfall in that mix, lemme tell ya. Sometimes it's inspiring, but today it wasn't doing it for me. To tell you the truth, nothing really did it for me today. I was tired, and hungry, and miserable, but I did it so I could say I did it and it suuuuucked but I did it.

I'm only hoping that tomorrow won't suck as much as I'm dreading it will. I hate running outside, but because I have a show tomorrow in Raleigh (at The Maywood!), I tool the day off. So I'll be at home and I'll be able to get up, eat, rest a bit, then run a bit sooner after a meal which will hopefully give me more energy. We'll see. Either way, I'll do it so I can finish this 25k, and hopefully not drop dead.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

5 Days - 25K (Day 2)

DAY 2! My thighs are KILLING me... specifically, the muscles at the front. Very sore, hard to walk after today's 5k. I didn't have much energy and kind of had to force my way through the pain. I had a late start to my lunch and didn't start running until about 12:45, and I was dumb so I skipped breakfast. No breakfast, no lunch, running basically on water and a single cup of coffee, no fun. But I did it, because I knew I had to, and man-oh-man did I sweat. I was listening to King Diamond's "Voodoo", which was more or less inspiring. More, because it's great music, less, because it's a new album (for me) and I don't know most of the music so I was trying to pay attention while kicking my ass on that treadmill. It was an OKAY workout, but I didn't have time to lift weights so that's disappointing. I hope I'll get time, tomorrow. I don't like doing just cardio, but it's better than nothing.

Monday, June 10, 2013

5 Days - 25K

Well, this weekend kicked all kinds of ass. Our album release show for Time's Arrow was absolutely successful. We sold a ton of merch, made some new fans, and got to play a whole new set! I even got to do a costume change! I can't complain about my performance, either. I did a lot of prepping to make sure that I didn't talk for the entire day, just because I wanted to make sure I could hit every high note repeatedly and growl in the spots I wanted to growl. I did my make-up different, added a few hair extensions, and wore my brand new show goggles. They were crafted by a dude on Etsy. Here is his shop! (The Real Broken Brains) It was great!

My one regret is an old one; ugh, I hate the way I look right now. Not that I can complain that I'm out of shape or anything, as I work out at least 4 days a week and don't eat badly. That being said, I'm thinking that maybe the elliptical isn't doing it for me. It always felt weird to use and never gave me that feeling of accomplishment that I do when I run. A year ago, at our last album release show, I was running a 5k maybe.... twice a week. But I felt and looked thinner than I do now, so I'm gonna give that a shot again and see how I feel about it. And goodness knows I love crashing into things, so I've decided to try and run a 5k every day for the next week. Don't worry, I'll still be lifting weights too. If you'd like to join me, by all means give it a try! For beginners, just try walking the first 5k. Eventually, sprinkle some jogging in there, and before you know it, you'll be running with me! Probably faster, though. I have short legs and run a 5k in 20 minutes IF I'm lucky!

Well that's it for now. I'll be headed to Raleigh this Friday for a gig, so my Friday 5k will have to be outside. I'M SCARED. I hate running outside, but I WILL DO IT! In closing, here's why I kill myself in the gym; metal love.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

I need a &%*$ing beach!!

Summer is almost upon us, and with it, the heat. Oh, the glorious wondrous heat. While some people run to their air-conditioned hovels to wait out nature's sauna, I luxuriate in the feel of my skin baking. I look forward to this time all year. No longer hidden behind layers of wool and fur, I'm finally free to wear as little as I possibly can and frolic amongst the newborn goose babies running around the metro area. Spring is ending, and with it goes the irritating downpours and wishy-washy "am I cold or warm this morning?" bullshit weather. Unfortunately, this also means that everyone is turning their air conditioning to maximum capacity and I've still got to pack a sweater if I want to be indoors.

Bethany Beach, DE
So now that it's getting warmer, I find myself drawn to the beach. I love the beach. I do not love wearing a swimsuit in front of people, being that I am not thin and probably never will be and I continue to feel like a beached whale amongst the skinny white beach-goers in their tiny revealing bikinis. Bitches. Still, I love being at the beach and wear what I feel comfortable in (which consists of, this year, the same black bikini shorts I've had for the past 10 years and a leopard print push-up top), and I'm looking forward to going. Unfortunately, for me, time is sparse. I have a busy weekend schedule. Shows and rehearsals and social obligations add up, so when I get a free weekend, I salivate at the idea of laying on a towel in the sun eating boardwalk fries while reading a sci fi novel.

This all stems from habit. My dad would wake us up before dawn to rush us out of the house and on the road so we could beat traffic on the Bay Bridge. We used to "vacation" in Ocean City, which for people of our means meant we pitched a tent at a nearby campground. That was camping for us. Camping at the beach. We'd go to the beach during the day, sleep in a tent, cook crabs over an open fire, go fishing.. that kinda thing. It was fun because I was too young to hate being poor.

Now the issue is that my extremely Irish husband burns in the shade, and I have an allergy to water that causes me to break out in hives unless I'm doped up on Benadryl. Which means I spend half of the time on the beach sleeping. Now, personally, that's fine with me. Unfortunately, it leaves my husband feeling bored and burned so now there's no way I can just escape to the beach unless I do so alone. Which sucks. I really want to go to the beach, if only for a day, because these summer days don't last very long. I've got a three month window where I can go lounge on the sand and listen to waves and seagulls, before it's taken away by fall's icy death grip. I really hate how short our summers are.

Mostly, I need an escape. I've been overworked for the past several months because the new album is fast approaching the release date. I've had to work my ass off to get things designed and laid out and we've hit a few snags on the way that nearly made the band want to murder each other. Now that it's coming to a finish, all I want to do is get a book and read on the sand. I think I deserve it after all the crap I've had to put up with, don't you?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Reocurring Nightmares

Ever since I got sick on Friday, I've had a lot of dreams. I've also had the same nightmare about three times. Maybe it's a result of taking so much NyQuil, I dunno, but I've had this particular nightmare before. In fact, I've had this nightmare since I graduated from college.

No, not this kind of Nightmare you nerds!
Now, when I say "nightmare", I don't mean monsters. I've had those before, but this is totally different. It still terrifies me and fills me with anxiety even after I wake up, to the point where I begin questioning my reality. This particular nightmare is always the same in terms of the situation. I'm always faced with the sudden realization that I have overbooked myself; I have (at least) 2 full-time jobs, I'm missing class in school, and I have no idea what my school schedule is. So I'm suddenly in this frantic panic about the fact that I'm missing school AND my jobs AND I have no way of getting to either. It's terrible. Throughout my dream, I try to navigate my way toward one of these things until eventually I wake up and feel really dumb. I graduated from college a good 7 years ago. I've only got one job (that pays), and my other job is fun. Why do I keep having the same nightmare about a conflicting work/school schedule?

I know that I miss school. I enjoyed college a lot, especially the classes I actually wanted to take. I never really experienced fear when it came to exams or finals or anything like that. So why all the fear?

I have no idea. I'd love to go back to school, but for now I can't. Is this my brain telling me I've crammed too many things into my schedule? Or I really really want to go back to school? Stupid brain.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I'm sick. -_-

This post comes to you straight from my sofa. I'm sick at home, which means I'm sad and angry. I woke up on Friday with all sorts of weekend plans. Willy has been sick all week so I've been taking care of him, waiting for my chance to do fun stuff starting Friday. Except my immune system was like LOLNOPE and have me his illness.

My throat hurt so bad last night and this morning, so I'm happy that part of it seems to be gone. Now I'm dealing with the stuffy nose. I haven't eaten much. I have no appetite! I woke up at 12, played a little Neverwinter, and went back to sleep. Woke up again around 6. I ate a bowl of soup, some hummus, water, and tea. That's it. And I'm just not hungry. I'm disappointed that I didn't get to work out yesterday, as intended. I wanted to work my arms. Laying around all day just makes me feel so lazy and I hate that feeling.

Ugh. I hate this.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rant ahead! Shield your eyes!

Well, Lent ended a while ago. Did I make it? I sure did!! However, I had to alter my diet dramatically to make up for the loss of fat and wound up needing a banana every day just to stay coherent. So, I never lost any weight. Willy wound up losing almost 10lbs and lowered his blood pressure. GO FIGURE!

Anyway, now that I'm back on MY plan, I'm back to working out in a way more efficient way. The way that makes me feel like a freaking superwoman; weight lifting.

My dream thighs.
How I've missed you, weight lifting! Throughout my early 20's all I could do to keep the weight off was run like a jackass, when it's been proven time and time again that if you want to keep fat off, weight lifting is the way to go. But I was never able to lift very heavy so I kept running. Well screw that. I'm tired of being fat AND weak. So I'm lifting weights and trying my best to be stronger so that one day my arms will rival She-Hulks. To do this, I'm actually eating real food and drinking lots of water and grunting while I lift because that shit helps. I don't know why I got so lazy, before. I know I feel better when I eat right and lift. Whenever I eat more carbs than usual, I get all bloaty and gross and then I regret it. I ALWAYS REGRET IT. And I'm still at the same weight I was all those weeks ago, which really pisses me off. At least when I lift and eat right, I don't feel guilt. I always feel guilt when I eat bad and I feel like it translates through my appearance. I tried wearing skinny jeans to a gig a few days ago and the photo evidence is not good, so I'm upping my gym work.

While perusing the internet for ways in which to get my ass in shape, I've noticed a lot more BS from people all over the internet. Here's a few that annoy the hell out of me:

1. I can't lift weights or I'll get big muscles!
AAAAAAHHHHH MMMMYYYYYY GAAAAWDDDD SHUT UP NO YOU WON'T!! Here is a good link that disproves this annoying-ass myth. You will find more everywhere. Hell, ask a personal trainer. A real personal trainer.

2. I heard that the elliptical/stair machine/doing squats with weights/ect. makes your butt BIGGER!
Who told you this? Whoever told you this is dumb. SO DUMB. Your butt is made of fat and muscle. Muscle is smaller and more dense than fat. Building muscle burns fat. Just because you're building muscle under fat doesn't mean your butt will get bigger. In fact, it means your butt will look smoother because there will be more muscle and less fat.

Do you want this butt? BUILD MUSCLE.
3. You look great, all you need to do is tone!
THERE IS NO SUCH THING. Whoever made up the term "tone" can DIAF. "Toning" is what women think happens when you've got a little flabbyness and you exercise just enough to make it go away. No. It doesn't happen that way. What does happen is that if you build muscle, it will replace fat, and you will look tighter and less flabby. MUSCLE = GOOD You want a nice curvy butt? BUILD MUSCLE. You want a nice pair of legs? BUILD MUSCLE.

4. Well I just want thinner thighs so I'm just going to target them with this machine.
Ughhhhhhhhhh...!! NO. There is no such thing as "spot training". When your body burns fat for fuel, you don't get to decide where that fat comes from. Let me tell you, that shit sucks. I have the tiniest upper body, hardly any boobs to speak of, and yet my thighs are still a constant annoyance. Does that mean I can just work out my legs? No. Then I'd have a weak upper body with no muscle definition and that would look dumb. DUMB DUMB DUMB.

Now that those are out of the way, here are some other smaller things that annoy me:

Juice cleanses. Eat vegetables. If you need to add apple juice to your kale to eat it, you've got a sugar addiction. Just eat the freaking vegetables! Juice isn't going to cleanse your freaking colon, fiber is, and you're losing like 80% or MORE of the fiber in your vegetables by juicing them! This ridiculous fad is a money-making machine. Don't be a patsy. Be a grown up and buy some broccoli.

Body wraps. I get that if you want to get rid of a little fat for a big date or a big show or something, this might be a good idea. But I'm not going to pay upwards to fifty bucks to wrap my stomach in plastic wrap for less than an inch of fat that will just come back once I drink some water.

Instant flavored oatmeal. Oh sure, let me just eat less than a hundred calories worth of empty carbohydrates first thing in the morning so I can crave sugar all day and pass out from hunger around noon. That sounds amazing. And healthy.

Disclaimer:
Please keep in mind, I'm not a professional. All I know is from what I've learned from professionals and my own personal experience in losing weight. I'm not blogging so I can sell something, I'm just ranting because I'm tired of getting advice from people who don't know what they're talking about. Rumors ruin people's health. I've done nearly every diet under the sun in the hopes of losing weight, and have discovered through trial and error what works for me.

Friday, March 29, 2013

About songwriting..

Iron Maiden's Dave Murray
Yesterday, Josh compared me to Dave Murray (Iron Maiden). Apparently, Bruce Dickinson says that his songwriting can be compared to "trying to give birth to an elephant". He writes a song once every few years, which is kinda like me I guess. The last song I wrote the melody for was The Night Witch. It wound up being a favorite by a lot of fans, so I'm really proud of that. Whenever I write, I have a certain "style" in mind. For The Night Witch, I wanted a Danny Elfman (Nightmare Before Christmas, Oingo Boingo) feel. Well, Wednesday night, as Josh and I were coming back from a show around 1am, we were listening to Dio's The Eyes and having been up since 6am just like every morning, I was exhausted. This seems to be a pretty good combo, for me. Whenever I'm heavily exhausted, I think too much. So here I am, listening to Dio and thinking too much and boom! A song pops into my head. I think about it for the 4-5 hours I could sleep before waking up at 6 and still thought about it. I thought about it in the morning, on my way to work. I thought about it while I put away newspapers and greeted the morning's guests. I thought about it until FINALLY, I could get some lyrics down.

But unlike a lot of my sets of lyrics, this time I knew exactly how I wanted this song to be sung. I sang it while writing it, I sang it in the gym, and I sang it walking to the Metro on my way to a short band practice. And then, HELL YES WE WROTE THAT SHIT. Because it felt good, and it felt right.

And that, my friends (all two of you!) is how I write a song. I have it squishing in my brain, begging me to release it, until finally.. FINALLY, I force it out. Songwriting. YEAH. Look for it on CD 4. I'll squeeze it in, somehow.. e_e

Thursday, March 28, 2013

STFU, SRSLY

Alright Nina, time to STFU. I already wrote about how Willy has been telling you to stop beating yourself up, and here you are, speaking in the 3rd person.

Okay, so last night I did a gig and it was fun. I was a little bummed by how I looked because I hadn't gone to the gym and ate an apple AND a pear so my stupid lady brain told me that I felt fat. Well, Bobbie took a picture of us on stage and of course I'm making one of my signature goofy-ass faces. I always feel fat at shows because wah wah wah, so I'm trying to reprogram myself to stop being so critical. After all, I kill myself in the gym enough that I think I'm entitled to a little bit of pride. So today, before the massacre (and this is after having slept only 5 hours last night...) I checked myself out in the mirror and decided that I wasn't a total loss after all. Maybe sometimes, it's just an unflattering photo because you're at a weird angle and you're making a stupid face.

Maybe I just need to get a new shirt that fits me better. Seriously, I've been wearing that red shirt for at least 5 years, now. I can afford a new shirt from Walmart.

Anyway, I took a picture of myself in the gym because that's where I always feel like I'm at my best. I'm trying really hard not to be critical of myself, and I just had to stop myself from writing another complaint. So I'm just gonna put up this picture of myself, before my workout, when I thought, "You know what? Not bad."


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How much is enough exercise?

So I've gotten to the point where I'm working out way more than I ever have before. I think the "fittest" I ever was must have been when I was on the swim team, swimming laps endlessly for the amusement of nobody. I wasn't very fast, I never really won anything, and I was still fat, BUT! I could swim those laps over and over again and I didn't really get winded, so I suppose I must have been in okay shape. Under all the fat.

Anyway, nowadays I work out four days a week. Five, if I'm not going to band practice. I go during my lunch break and usually the folks I work with are generous toward me (as I am toward them) and we let each other extend our breaks a bit longer than an hour. This allows me to do everything I feel is necessary in the gym, so, I spend half an hour lifting weights, and then thirty to forty minutes doing cardio. Half of that cardio is sprint training on the treadmill, where I alternate running 8MPH with jogging at around 5MPH. After the running, I do the elliptical and alternate heavy resistance with light resistance. I switch up the amounts I do of each, every day, to try and trick my body into burning more calories. Recently, I've increased the amount from burning 300+ calories to 350+. Today, I'll probably be doing 400+.

(Here's some information on sprint training and why it's more effective vs low intensity cardio.)

After all this, plus not eating meat and eating very healthy throughout the week, I still haven't lost any weight. Willy told me something very helpful, last week. He said that I should try to look for the positives instead of the negatives and that my self-destructive thought process was causing me unneeded stress. He's probably right, so I started trying to look at the positives, but it's still difficult. This morning, I had my breakfast and thought, "It's okay that I haven't lost any weight. Maybe this is just how I'm meant to look. I'm very healthy, so a little extra fat on my thighs isn't killing me."

Then I went and read an article about another female vocalist for a metal band. Alissa White-Gluz is the lead vocalist of The Agonist, who also does guest vocals for Kamelot. She's a vegan who works out for three hours every day.

Three hours.

Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist
And she looks physically perfect, which just gives me someone else to compare myself to. Why can't I be that perfect looking? It's not fair. I don't have the time to work out for three hours every single day. When I get home, it's around 7pm, which gives me just enough time to cook dinner, work on graphics, and go to bed. How could I possibly fit more exercise into my routine? As for veganism, it's bad enough that I'm pescatarian right now and unable to lose weight. I can't imagine what restricting myself even more would do.

Now, I could chalk all this up to "different body types" and just say, "Don't worry about it. Everyone is different, you're made to look this way". But what I'm really thinking is just "You're not trying hard enough."

And that's what it always boils down to, in the end. I always feel like I could be doing more to lose weight. There's something I haven't found, some magic cure for chubby thighs, and it's just beyond my reach. I'm not so self destructive that I'm willing to do anything crazy, because like most narcissists, I value myself and my health too much. How am I supposed to sing for an audience and run around like a maniac if I'm passing out from malnutrition? I'm not willing to do that. But there should be something I can do that's within my reach.

Something else I'm fully aware of is the fact that most women who weight train for fitness aren't waify. They're strong ladies, usually a little thick, and I absolutely adore them and how hard they work. So I could be content with the way I'm currently built because as it is, I'm able to lift way more than I used to and run way longer and way faster than I used to. I should be proud of what I've accomplished, but instead I'm still beating myself up because I'm not thin.

So yeah, Willy's right. I'm entirely too negative about myself and it's causing me nothing but stress. At this point, I've got to figure out whether I want to continue beating myself up or try and accept that what I am is okay. Except that accepting what I am feels like giving up. It feels like failure. I feel like a failure.

How messed up is that?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

$^#&ing scale!!

Look, I know losing weight takes a while. I know. I've been spoiled by having been able to, in the past, lose 5lbs in a week. And usually, that's all I needed to feel okay. I would go from 122-127, diet for a week, lose that water weight and be back to my old self. Well that isn't working, now. Since last year's tour, parties, and Holiday season, I got so far over 130 that now I can't climb back down from it. 130. That horrible horrible number.

Let me tell you about 130. 130 was my goal, once. I saw it as an obtainable goal. Something that, as a teenager who weighed 180lbs, I could gain and feel good about. Hell, I would have been happy at 150. 150 was a nice round number, right? Not right. I lost weight so damn fast it was mind blowing. Suddenly I was 150, and I had no idea, because I had no scale. I remember at some point trying to put on an old pair of jeans and being shocked at how huge they were. Then, one day, I was 130. My "goal". I thought to myself, "woah". But I didn't stop. I never really stopped dieting and at my lowest weight, while living in a one bedroom studio in Manassas and working at a greenhouse, I hit 119 and felt like singing and screaming because that was my lowest weight ever and I WAS STILL FAT.

Well, not really. But I always FELT fat.

Now, I'm 130 again. I actually lost about 8-10lbs since November, but I can't get past this 130 mark. It's like a thorn in my side that refuses to remove itself. I can't tell if it's fat, or if it's a combination of losing fat and growing muscle, but I still can't wear my old jeans and it is seriously pissing me off. Like, what the hell more can I do? I already don't eat anything with sugar, or bread, or joy. My breakfast is one plain Greek yogurt. My lunch is tuna. My dinner is some kind of fish smothered in vegetables. My snacks are raw unsalted nuts (hehe) and my beverage of choice is either water, black coffee, OR if I'm feeling REALLY cheeky, coffee with a splash of cream. Or a diet Coke. THAT'S IT. I don't eat sweets, or junk food. I work out four times a week. I stretch, I lift, I run, I bike, I sweat, and I work until my muscles feel like they're going to revolt.

So why the %$&# am I still stuck at this mother $&#*ing 130lbs!?

Rant aside, I decided to venture forth in skinny jeans for our last show. I do not think I will ever be able to pull off that look. I've got massive thighs and I don't know how to tame them. Don't believe me? Take a look at this bullshit.


What the hell was I thinking!? Maybe I was hoping that I've really just got body dysmorphia and I see myself as fatter than I really am. Nope. I'm fat. I'm not fat enough that it's a health concern, I'm not fat enough that I can complain that nobody carries my size, I'm just fat enough that I can't wear skinny jeans and I'm very upset that it feels like I can't do anything about it. I can hear the calls of "LOL join and gym" and "cut down on the burgers" and what not from here. I just don't get it. What am I doing wrong? How is it possible to eat like this, sweat like this, and beat myself up like this and not lose weight? What do I have to do, stop eating entirely? Is it time to give fasting a try? Because I've done that and all I get are massive headaches.

And I refuse to believe that I was just meant to be fat. I refuse. This is absolute bull$#&* and I'm going to find a way out if it kills me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Adventures in Trenton, NJ

It began innocently enough. We arrived in Trenton NJ with Bobbie, our friend and temporary merch-lady, in Josh's black Toyota soccer mom-SUV. We parked beside the venue, a small place called the Champion Sports Bar & Grill, which sat conveniently next to a liquor store. In all honesty, this was far from the worst place ever. In fact, after going inside to stash our gear, the place appeared to be downright charming. I love dive bars and this place had a great crowd and a great vibe. The bartender was friendly, the fans were cool, and the bands all seemed really eager to put on a good show. I felt great about the whole thing.

We went to check into our hotel and change, after which we came across our first street fight. From the safety of the mom-mobile, Josh and I watched as one lone white guy tried to take one three black guys who were clearly trying their best not to go to jail for manslaughter. This guy was pushing them, yelling at them, and generally making an ass of himself until what I assume to be his friend had to grab him by the shoulders and drag him away. Into the Pollo Campero, which made me even more sad I can't eat meat because POLLO CAMPERO.

This being my first time in New Jersey, I felt pretty amused, and we went to the Champion with high spirits. I asked the bartender to fill my mug with rail vodka and diet Coke, which he did with guso, promptly filling 2/3s of my mug with rail vodka before splashing some diet Coke on top. I took sips from this for the rest of the evening. I went back into the stage room to watch the band playing, a hardcore band called True Rumors. I'll admit that I am not a fan of hardcore bands, but I appreciate seeing a woman who can do it well. They didn't seem very happy when they weren't given any extra time on stage, and I felt bad for the sound guy (who actually did a really good job). I really need to start bringing sound guys candy or something.

When it was finally time to take the stage, I asked the same bartender to give us shots (3 Jack, 1 Ketel One, as is tradition). He did the shots with us and we took to the stage. The sound guy dimmed the lights for us (again, awesome job) and regardless of how small the room was, all the people there made it feel very big. We had a fantastic audience and played one of our best sets. We managed to sell a really good amount of merchandise, which believe me, I appreciate. I did what I like to call my "A" set, because this was a stand-alone show and I wasn't saving my voice for anything else. I love doing shows like that because it allows me to go as hard as I want.

Jenn and myself!
When we were finished, we stayed around to watch JENNCiTY, Jennifer Arroyo's new band. They had great energy and have the potential to become something really awesome. I was especially enamored with their bass player, who wore a Green Lantern belt and was one of the happiest dudes I've ever met. Jenn herself was a really enthusiastic frontwoman, and I was fairly jealous of her ability to  play the audience. I'm looking forward to seeing more of them, and hopefully we'll play together again!

Of course, it wouldn't be a real trip to Jersey without us seeing at least one more street fight. As we were packing the mom-mobile, a really big heavy white dude suddenly burst from the door of Champion and fell down the stairs. With his pants down. Big white butt everywhere. Three black dudes followed him out, who I had spoken to earlier (security guys, very nice), and tried to convince this big drunk guy to leave. He responded by hurling the "n" word a couple of times and throwing some punches. They gave him a few curb stomps, decided that he wasn't worth going to jail for, and went back inside. The guys and I made a last tour of the bar to make sure we had all our gear, and said farewell to the venue. All in all, it was a triumphant night. We played our first New Jersey show, saw some fights, made some fans, and sold some merchandise.

Yes, of course I would do it again. This is the stuff that my dreams are made of!