Imogen Binnie’s Nevada

Warning: This is going to read like a bunch of dis-jointed thoughts. I posted this stream-of-consciousness without doing any editing on it. It’s written just post-reading of the book while so, so many emotions are swimming in my brain.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you finish a book and you are not entirely sure of the emotions that you’re feeling? Because that is how I feel right now. I just finished reading “Nevada” by Imogen Binnie.

One one hand, I feel this complete and total deep connection with her central character Maria. She…is going through a lot of similar stuff to me. Reading everything I seriously just couldn’t help but be like “yeah, sister, me too!” Or well, at least I had in the past. It’s complicated. Because like, I’m totally not her at all but at the same time I feel like I am if that makes sense. Like I didn’t do any of the crazy high school shit…unless you count accidentally running over my brother’s foot as ‘crazy high school shit’…but I have/had a lot of the same issues and realities in relationships as she does. And hell, I never just jumped in a car and headed west (I should have lol!) Closest I have gotten to that was that moment I decided I was moving to the Twin Cities. (Though a part of me still thinks I should have tried for LA.) I do have one, odd, but interesting question, and maybe I’m reading WAY too much into the character, but I really, really wonder if she is an Aspie. It…just fits way too perfectly.

On the other hand I have this sense of well…I don’t entirely know what it is over the relationship that Maria develops seemingly at random with a Wal-Mart clerk. I guess maybe jealousy is the correct term. I wish I had someone stumble into my lap, so to speak, at 20. I think it would have been very interesting. I know where I stood at 20, and where I stand at 32. And it could have been much more, shall we say, interesting. Closest I have had to that were my friends I made on LiveJournal and MySpace in the later part of the last decade. (You know. The one between the 90′s and the 10′s. Le sigh. I can’t believe the 90′s were that long ago.) I’m still friends with a few of them, and I consider at least one of them family.

Ok and on a third hand, or well, I guess I’m branching out to feet here, I feel a profound sense of longing and disappointment. Without giving away any spoilers here, I… Just the way the book ended. I was expecting something more and then all of a sudden it was like “oh…this is the about the author page now. But…But…Moooooooooooooooooooooooooore please!!!”

Honestly, I love this book. It’s just…awesome. You should take the time to sit down and read it. And interestingly, I don’t know what it is lately, maybe it’s the fact I’m finding books I enjoy lately, but this was ANOTHER book I finished in a mere matter of hours, not days/weeks like some books I have read. Ok. Time for dinner.

That time when I helped run a Punk/Ska radio station

So thanks to a tweet in my stream today I managed to take a walk down memory lane.

All the way back to…well not quite the year 2000. It was more like 2003-2004. A much simpler time then. I was in my senior year of college. Probably taking a boat load of clases. Running shop at MUTV 20 hours a week. Oh and Pete and I hosted a 2-hour radio experiment every Tuesday at 11pm. But yet somehow I managed to find time to help Scott Hanson, Don Wadewitz, and friend with this little thing called XROXX.com. Now, the website is sort of up still, but I had some fun diging in it via the Web Archive Project’s “Wayback Machine”

XROXX was way ahead of it’s time. Today, if kids still listened to the radio, and well, if Punk/Ska were still the “in” music, we probably would have had a much better shot at making it. Back then, it was tough for an internet only radio station to exist. You didn’t really have smart phones (heck the iPhone 1 didn’t come out until 2007). People didn’t use their computers for much beyond information. There was no YouTube, no Hulu, and well I don’t even think Netflix was around back then. So to have a radio station which required you to listen only on your computer was a long shot. Sure things like Pandora, Radio Paradise, and WOXY.com proved in the long run that people will listen to internet radio, they were all helped out by the fact that the iPhone became so popular, and well most had an app for that. (For the record: WOXY.com did eventually go under, whereas, Radio Paradise and Pandora are still around.) We didn’t have that in 2004.

As I recall, XROXX didn’t last very long as a streaming station. And eventually, without the stream, the website kind of fell into the nether regions of the forgotton lands of the web. Interestingly, if you go to XROXX.com you’ll get the front page of the site. Which means Don or Scottie or someone is actually still paying to host it and the domain. Weird, right?

Anyway. So the fun things that I found? Well for starters…my bio page. Yikes, right? Also you HAVE to love the fact that I had a TechTV reference on there. Nope. Wasn’t at all a geek right? And I can’t believe some of the answers I gave. A lot of this has greately evolved since then. Like… Pink Floyd, still top billing. Dark Side of the Moon is probably the greatest album ever made. But…times change right now I’d say Against Me! and Beyoncé are 2 and 3. I mean, what did I know back then about music? I was 21! Now I’d of gotten the correct Yoda quote. “Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.” is the actual quote. Oh and uh… I um…actually don’t like Piña Colladas. I’m uh kind of allergic to pineapple.

And funny I should mention Against Me! Not only did we apparently review one of their early albums. But a week or so ago, my brother asked me essentially if I only listened to them because Laura Jane Grance is trans. Well. Um. I hate to burst his bubble, no. I very, very much found them organically. I think I said something along the lines of I heard them on Pandora, but the more I think about it I played them on the radio. I believe XROXX was one of the spots, but I still swear that Pete and I played them on Marquette Radio at some point. Additionally, I own the “Rock Against Bush” CD. It’s somewhere in one of my binders of discs. Now, I wish I hadn’t lost contact with Pete. He would know instantly. True story, I ran into him about 4 years after we’d done our last show and he asked me if I’d seen the success of The Plain White T’s, who were a band that was basically a staple of our show.

Here’s some relevant tweets that I sent out shortly after this:

So there you have it. My walk down memory lane. If you got this far I commend you for reading through my dis-jointed rantiness.

I’ll leave you with this:

“Good Night and Good Luck.” – Edward R. Murrow

Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness

I am finally getting a chance to sit down and write my thoughts about Redefining Realness onto paper, or well, electronic 1′s and 0′s. But you ask, shouldn’t I have done this a month ago? Probably, but believe it or not, even though I work in a communication field, sometimes it’s hard for me to find the right words.

Redefining Realness is by far one of the best and most powerful books that I have read in a very, very long time. I have said time-and-again that this is the sort of book that I wish had existed a long while ago. Janet’s words are very powerful, and very personal, in many ways. She has the ability though to draw the reader into her world. As I read the book, I was overcome with emotion: happiness, sadness, anxiety, and yes even a scosh of jealousy.

I think that one of the best parts of Redefining Realness is the fact that it leaves the reader with a sense of “OMG I need to know what happens next!” Truthfully, even though I know the outcome of some of the events she wrote about, such as her relationship, there was still this moment of “oh no how will he react?” when Janet finally opens up to Aaron. That is the kind of emotion that I am talking about that is present throughout.

Now, my off-topic…ish aside: Pop culture. Pop culture is one of the things that is talked about with-in Redefining Realness. I want to share one of my reactions when reading that involves pop culture. Specifically, television. There was at one point where Janet mentions watching a lot of shows on Nick as a kid. I had one of those “OMG” style moments for a second where I realized that these were the same things I was watching at the time. It also, too, helps in a way to illustrate just how pop culture binds us together.

Overall I can’t stop telling people that they need to read Redefining Realness. I’ve even gotten some friends, and an aunt on the super Catholic conservative side of the family on board with reading. This is how highly I recommend the book. I think that everyone should read it. So seriously, why have you not stopped reading this and picked up your copy? Oh and as a total aside: Redefining Realness is the first physical book that I have purchased since probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released in 2007. I usually read books via Kindle or iPad these days. So, with that said, pop on down to your local bookstore, if you still have one, or at least click on over and get your copy. (Or your local library may be an option too if you can’t afford to buy a book. Remember them? Libraries are kinda awesome still ya know.)

Oh and before I forget. If you have the opportunity to see her in person at an event… GO! There is a great story to go with this picture, but that is for another time.

Getting my picture taken with Janet at her event in St. Paul

Getting my picture taken with Janet at her event in St. Paul

Upper Midwest Regional Emmy™ Award Winning Director A. Chernow