Monday Earworm: Leonard Cohen

I will be the first to admit that I’m not really a fan of Leonard Cohen. Sorry. I mean, I love the song “Hallelujah,” but I really like the covers of it more than his original, no matter how many dozens of verses he penned.

Have you been watching the third season of American Gods? It’s a really good show — intense, and generally excellent — and based on a really fantastic book by Neil Gaiman. Of course, they’ve gone fairly far afield from the novel by this point. Anyway, this song accompanied the end credits for one of the later episodes in this season, and I’m just not sure there could have been a more fitting ending to the shit that went down in that hour of television.

If this is Holy Week for you, it’s the darkest and most (appropriately) morbid time in the liturgical calendar. And if you’re celebrating Passover, well, that was kind of a dark time, too. It’s a time of sacrifice, perhaps unquestioning and certainly (for some) unquestioned.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the more cheerful and festive and optimistic springtime holidays. (Happy HolI! And Happy Belated Equinox!) But I can’t deny that to have balance we have to acknowledge all the aspects of ourselves, and we are not 2D, flat characters in this life. We are light and dark, we are happy and sorrowful, we are cheerful and morose. We are also everything in between at one time or another. And it’s okay and even important to recognize that.

So here, have an eerie and maybe kind of frightening tune. And later this week, prepare for April.

And what is April here on my blog? A celebration of National Poetry Month! You can look forward to my Poem-A-Day series starting up on Thursday, April 1st. (Please note that while these poems are going up, most other features on the blog, such as the Monday Earworms, will go on hiatus. But never fear, they’ll be back in May.)

Until then, good luck getting this creepy ditty out of your head. (If you need help with that, let me know, and I will prescribe some Sting, which I have to admit has been absolutely branded into my brain the last week or so OMG. I swear some of that dude’s songs are so romantic it’s unfair.)


My Vaccine Experience

Let me start off by saying how grateful I am to be vaccinated against Covid-19, because wow, I am. Working in-person the last six months has been stressful. But we’re making it happen, because reasons.

I was able to get the Pfizer vaccine and didn’t even have to travel farther than the next little town over to get it. I’ve had both doses now and wanted to report back on my side effects experience. Hopefully any of you who might still be on the fence about whether you want to get this vaccine might take some encouragement from how this went down for me. (And frankly, for the vast majority of people I know who have gotten it, as well, since my side effects are not anecdotally unusual in any way.)

Both doses I got were on Saturdays in the waning afternoon, three weeks apart. And in both cases, I totally didn’t feel the shot going into my arm. I am very pro-vax and even get my flu shot every year, but I really don’t love the way it feels when I get poked with a needle. With the Covid vaccine, though, this wasn’t a problem. I didn’t even feel the first one and could barely feel the second one. Neither of them hurt going in at all.

The first one, I had a little soreness in my arm at the injection site by the time I went to bed that evening, and I woke up with arm pain (the usual injection nuisance fare) on Sunday. That arm pain lasted the rest of the day and evening, and Sunday night I had a bit of a headache, but not enough of one that it prevented me from watching TV and having a normal evening. Monday morning I woke up right as rain.

The second one, I had no arm pain until I woke up Sunday morning. I was also slightly congested and had the whisper of a sinus headache thinking about forming. I took some Tylenol, and the arm pain and headache went away. I took some Flonase and got into a hot shower and the congestion was a memory. But I was really fatigued. The whole day, in fact, my energy level waxed and waned and never got very ambitious. By the time I went to bed my arm was a little bit sore again. Monday morning I woke up feeling just fine, but then about an hour or two into my work day I wanted a nap. I was tired all day. Then I was really tired again all Tuesday. I’m talking, barely able to stay awake during the slower parts of my classes and totally unmotivated to do any actual work during my planning periods. One of those days, I had a little nap after school, though I don’t remember which. Wednesday morning I decided to have some caffeinated tea, and I was all right throughout the school day, but still pretty fatigued in the evening. I had a little joint pain at some point during the middle of the week, briefly, in my wrist and hips. Thursday all that seemed to be generally done.

And that was it! WAY better than having an actual illness, wouldn’t you say?

If you get the chance to take the vaccine and don’t have an allergy or condition that would prevent you from having it, I hope you’ll get it. The only way to manage this pandemic requires us to take this responsibility. I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to eating in restaurants and having parties again!

Have a good one.

March Book Chat with Kara

Even though we can’t get away for Spring Break — because, global pandemic — Kara and I are chatting this month about books that transport us far away. Escapist literature, turned up to eleven.

P.S. — For everyone who requested reviews of Erin Morgenstern’s books, this chat is for you.

P.P.S. — Technically, it’s for everybody else, as well, but I wanted to make you Morgenstern-curious readers know I was thinking of you. Cheers!

The Year of Living Pandemically

During first period on Thursday, March 12, 2020, one of the sophomores in my English II class looked up from his phone and said, “They just closed.”

He was referring to one of our peer schools, an institution with whom our school shares a lot of cues – such as when to close down during a global pandemic.

Over the previous couple of weeks, all of my classes had begun with an anxious conversation with my students about Covid-19. They were the ones anxiously asking questions, and I was the one doing my best to answer them in a reassuring way, debunking myths and providing the best information I had about the virus and what we knew and what we still didn’t. Oddly, I was not, myself, feeling their same sense of worry. Yes, I knew things were serious, and yes, I was fairly well informed of the news (the accurate variety), but also? I have a brother who lives in Hong Kong, and so I’d already Continue reading “The Year of Living Pandemically”

Monday Earworm: King Missile

My first year of college, my friends and I listened to a bunch of unusual music, entertaining stuff with a skewed sense of humor. We had dunked ourselves well and truly into the alternative-music waters of the era. One night, my friend AJ convinced me to join him and a few others at the student center for a King Missile concert. I was not super familiar with their music, but the concert was quite memorable and a lot of fun. (Of course, I would probably have enjoyed whatever they put up on the stage that night after the opening act, which was Monks of Doom — a band I’d never heard of before and absolutely the weirdest and most incomprehensible concert set I’d ever seen.)

Here’s one of King Missile’s songs, “Pickaxe,” which was a hit at the time. This really odd sense of humor was definitely their brand.

Monday Earworm: U2

I saw U2 live in concert a few years ago at the biggest stadium in Houston. Like, going in there was literally like walking inside of a hollowed-out little planet. It was my first time to see U2 live, and the thing that astounded me the most was how those four guys FILLED the place with sound. Just them, no backups. Pretty amazing.

This is one of my favorite of their songs.

In other news, I’m grading and working on report card comments. A lot. Peace out till all that’s over with.