Tag Archives: Grunge Gods and Graveyards

It’s a Mad, Mad World

August 26th 2014

I’m super excited because GG&G is in Mad Magazine! My book is part of the long-standing Mad Letters giveaway. I’ve loved Mad Magazine since I was a kid. Whenever I got sick, my mom would stop by the local convenience store and pick me up Pine Bros. lozenges and Mad Magazine. They always made me feel better. And this, this right here, makes me feel awesome!

Looky here!!

Mad

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Cake

June 17th 2014

*I’m on a roll using 90s references for blog post titles.*

My thoughtful brother-in-law and sister-in-law had this jazzy Carvel ice cream cake (that’s right, mothereffin Carvel) made with my book cover on it! We had a large Father’s Day gathering so the extended family could meet our baby girl and they bring this baby out during dessert hour (my inlaws are Italian — we have a dessert hour). It was truly a stupendous, not to mention delicious surprise.

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Carvel cake with my book on it!

photo 2-12Isn’t this absolutely amazing? Not to mention my sister-in-law requested extra crunchies. Seriously. And there were leftovers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s me posing in front of said cake. And my book, let’s not forget that baby.

Since my book’s release, I have been blessed with an incredible show of support from friends and family. Not only does it feel like everyone I know has bought the ebook, but some people have bought the ebook and paperback or multiple copies of the paperback (thanks, Dad and Alyssa!). I don’t think it’s possible to fully express my gratitude. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

 

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Doc Martens, cropped tops & carpenter jeans

June 3rd 2014

Ah, the 90s. The decade of really, really baggy jeans and baby Ts and slip dresses with work boots. God, I miss all that. Although, I never wore a slip dress. I did have an awesome pair of orange Vans sneakers though. They had a shiny vinyl top and were loud. They cost $44 at JCPenney and I remember thinking they were too much money and my mom would make me return them (she didn’t). Actually, she never balked at the price. (I think my dad did though. Dad: $44 for sneakers?! Mom: That’s what they cost nowadays.) Thanks, Mom! Within weeks the vinyl cracked and my grandpa sweet-talked the cashier into allowing me to exchange them for a green pair with no vinyl. They lasted a lot longer. After all, they had cost $44.

I'm in a cast because I dislocated my wrist. But check out my kicks!

I’m in a cast because I dislocated my wrist. But check out my kicks!

As you can see, my 90s style was pretty simple. Carpenter jeans from Old Navy and long-sleeve t-shirts were my uniform. I also enjoyed the layering look. I had a Hawaiian shirt I wore over my long-sleeve Ts. That outfit looked better than it sounds now. I never really did have good style. Kinda, still don’t.

The 90s were not about polished looks. Teens put thought into what they were wearing but the look was far from fussy. If anything it was the antithesis of fussy.

I decided when writing my main character, Lainey, that I wanted her style to be simple, but a little edgier than mine (and Wilder’s style is edgier than Lainey’s). I imagined her scoring finds in vintage shops and thrift stores. Also, bell bottoms had made a huge comeback so I also pictured her rummaging through her mom’s closet. Since Lainey and I are the same age (theoretically), her mom would be my mom’s age (theoretically) and she would have owned bell bottoms or she’d be shopping for super flared Mudd jeans. Below, you can see what clothing I thought Lainey would wear on a typical September day in 1996.

Lainey Bloom's look

Lainey Bloom’s look is simple and slightly edgy.

Danny’s clothes reflect his musician persona. He’s not a glam rock star; he’s into grunge and alternative rock. He wears his favorite bands on his t-shirts and his black Converse are torn up. His look is laid back, like him. And his jeans are baggy. Below is Danny’s typical wardrobe.

Danny Obregon's look is laid back.

Danny Obregon’s look is laid back.

Wilder’s look is definitely edgier than Lainey’s. She likes dark colors and ripped fabrics. Holes in the knees of her jeans and loose flannel shirts. Shredded fishnets. Corduroy and leather skirts. Doc Martens. If it was up to me, she’d have an eyebrow ring but alas, Uncle Carl won’t allow it. I doubt he’d allow her to wear those stockings, but they are immensely cool.

Wilder's look is edgy.

Wilder’s look is edgy.

I’m curious, what was your favorite 90s style? What did you wear in 1996? What do you miss most?

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There’s no alternative for 90s alternative music

June 3rd 2014

All the bands featured in Grunge Gods are bands I listened to as a teenager. And they are bands I listen to now.

Radiohead. Tori Amos. Bush. The Afghan Whigs. Bjork. Sarah McLachlan.

I was careful when selecting song titles to use as chapter headings so that the songs represented the tone and theme of the chapter. And that all the songs were released before September 1996. (Side note: The band is called The Prodigy, not Prodigy. I learned that late. Did anyone else know this?)

Here’s the playlist (via Spotify) for Grunge Gods and Graveyards. Each of these song titles is a chapter heading. And then if you’re up to it, tell me in the comments which song from the playlist you loved most. Enjoy!

Anytime I hear 90s music I’m transported back in time. The minute I hear Sarah McLachlan’s “Ice Cream” or The Wallflowers’ “One Headlight,” I’m back in my friend’s car driving to high school at 7am. Space Hog’s “In the Meantime” makes me think of junior year art class (the teacher kept the radio on) when I made a terrible sculpture of my dog, Rudy. (My mom still has it.) Oasis…man, anytime I hear “Wonderwall” I think of a ridiculous short story I wrote where I based the romantic lead on Liam Gallagher. (He was such a hottie in the video.)

Music was such a big part of my teenage life, as I imagine it is for most teens today. However, I discovered new bands via music videos on MTV. MTV was a far cry from what it used to be. Sure, we had reality shows (The Real World!) and dating shows (Singled Out!) and my all-time favorite sketch comedy show, The State!!!, but we also had music videos. Plenty of them. We didn’t have YouTube. We had to wait until they were on the TV to actually see them. My friend would call me (on my own phone line cuz I was cool like that) and say, “Quick. Put on MTV. The Bjork video is on!” And I’d stop whatever I was doing to run to my TV and turn on channel 30 (I think, VH1 might’ve been 29) just to watch the video. I’d be so grateful to her for calling me because I would’ve hated to miss it.

Music was everything back then. I became obsessed with my musician idols like Tori Amos and The Afghan Whigs. I used to daydream about being Greg Dulli’s girlfriend and tried to justify in my head the 14-year age difference. The Afghan Whigs are touring this year and will be in NYC in October, but alas, I’m nursing a baby. Plus, it’s my husband’s birthday weekend and I feel bad dragging him to a concert (an awesome concert) when it’s not his thing. Alas, these are the concessions we make as adults.

I still listen to 90s alternative rock. It’s been difficult for me to discover new music. I discovered a few new bands when they were (and I’m not ashamed to admit this) when they were featured on Gossip Girl. MGMT! Manchester Orchestra! Check them out.

I could ramble on and on about 90s music, but I’d much rather hear about the music you love. Share in the comments your favorite bands, either from the 90s or now. Or before. Can’t count out classic rock.

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Old Tennent Cemetery

June 3rd 2014

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been fascinated with graveyards and cemeteries. (Do you know the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery? A graveyard is on consecrated ground and a cemetery is not.) It kind of began when my grandmother would take me on a “tour” of the Jewish cemetery where all our relatives are buried. When I was a little kid, all these older relatives died around the same time — my grandpa’s sister and brother; my great grandparents. My brother and I were too little to be left alone so we went to the funerals and my grandmother would feed me sponge cake and show me the family plots. She’d place a stone on top of the headstones of our relatives and tell me about them. Then we’d walk around and explore. The one tidbit I remember the most was when she showed me a headstone in the shape of a tree trunk. “It’s for a young person who was cut down in the prime of their life,” she had said. Anyway, I’ve never associated cemeteries with anything morbid or macabre. For me, they’re like taking a tour of history.

[I’ve meandered through cemeteries in Boston and Key West (Key West City Cemetery being my favorite). To check out some of my cemetery pics, go to my Pinterest page here.]

When I was a sophomore in high school, my neighbor and I walked from our high school to the Old Tennent Cemetery. It was a quick walk down Church Lane meant to kill some time and satiate some curiosity. There were rumors that the pews inside the church still had blood stains from Revolutionary War soldiers (P.S. I used this tidbit in my book). We never went inside the church but we did find some interesting tombstones. If I recall, a relative of Cotton Mather is buried in the cemetery (we were reading The Crucible that year).

I recently returned to the cemetery this April when I made the two-hour pilgrimage home to Manalapan and my dad and I stopped in to take some photos. Well, I jumped out of the car and my dad stayed with my boys in the minivan. I wish I could’ve spent more time there, but I did come away with some cool photos.

The sign upon entering the cemetery

The sign upon entering the cemetery

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Old Tennent Cemetery

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Looks like a Freemason symbol is engraved on the tombstone

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A very old headstone

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Look how close these graves are to one another

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Clearly a new stone; a fascinating read

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A larger view

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Col. John Conover’s stone

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Glad to see some stones are still intact

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A close-up view of the church

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Plaque on the church exterior

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How gorgeous is this!

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