A Book of Love

A few years ago I was fortunate to meet the ultimate Airborne Toxic Event fan, Glen Hoos.  He reached out and introduced me to the TATE fan community I’ve grown to adore.  I assumed this was due to my hilarious blog dedicated to documenting my experiences with the band and their concerts.  In actuality, he saw a single tweet where I chomped away on Mikel cookies.  Since then, we’ve met at shows in Seattle and San Francisco, he puts up with all my shenanigans where I embarrass him by telling everyone how famous he is, and fortunately we’ve been long distance friends ever since.

There aren’t many fans who actually “do” anything with their band love.  They may rock out to the song or tell a couple friends, but that’s where their initiative stops.  It certainly doesn’t manifest in starting up a successful blog with a regular posting schedule. <Cough, cough, it’s really tough to punch these out on a regular basis.> And most definitely it doesn’t end up writing a book about your favorite band’s history.


Here we’ll take a look of the crazy fan who wrote a book about The Airborne Toxic Event.

Breaking Books:  Who is Glen…the man…the myth…the legend? Ha!

Glen Hoos:  Just a guy who’s in way over his head. Husband of one, father of fourteen. Oops, I mean, four. It just feels like fourteen sometimes. I’ve got two teenage daughters, a 12-year-old girl and a six-year-old whirling dervish of a son.

My wife and I engage in what we like to call “extreme parenting.” Our 12-year-old has Down syndrome, and has spent the past two years battling leukaemia. Our son, who we adopted four years ago, has a couple of rare genetic syndromes with big names, an intellectual disability and extreme hyperactivity. So basically, our family is an Event in and of itself.

My work life is spent raising money for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. And on the side, I kind of like a band.


BB: How long have you been an Airborne fan and what sparked your passion for them?

GH: I discovered The Airborne Toxic Event in the summer of 2008. A friend introduced me to “Sometime Around Midnight” after we arrived too late to catch their set at Pemberton Music Festival. I was instantly hooked and bought their first album. My appreciation for them steadily grew through the releases of All I Ever Wanted and All At Once.

But the night that changed everything was June 7, 2011. That was the eve of my first Airborne concert, viewed from the front row beneath Anna’s keyboard.

It was a revelation. Four nights earlier, I had seen U2, who had been my musical obsession for 20 years. In my list of top bands, there was U2, and then everybody else was fighting for second. I thought it would always be so. But as the final notes of TATE’s set faded away, I realized that for the first time since I was 15, I had a new favorite band.

BB:  How many concerts have you attended and how many miles have you traveled? What’s the farthest you’ve gone to see them?

GH:  18 shows, and around 9,000 miles of travel from my home base near Vancouver, Canada. (Wow, that sounds like a lot when I put it in writing!) I’ve been to San Francisco twice, Reno, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle and multiple locations here in BC. The furthest I’ve traveled to see them is Red Rocks (Denver), which was a bucket list venue for me.

My furthest show would have been Los Angeles, had life not rudely interrupted. I had tickets to their big homecoming show at the Greek in 2014, but my daughter’s cancer diagnosis hit like a ton of bricks two days before the gig. Needless to say, that put frivolous things like rock shows in their proper perspective really quickly. Still, the fact that I have yet to see them on their home turf is the biggest hole in my TATE fan resume.

BB: Any weird concert traditions you would like to share?

GH:  Don’t think I don’t know why you asked this, Susan!

For the benefit of the reader, my first live Susan experience was at an Airborne show in Seattle in 2013. We already “knew” each other online, and Susan spotted me in a bar, waiting to be let into the venue. She proceeded to offer me every drink on the menu (seriously people, this woman does not take “no thank you” for an answer). I was finally forced to explain to her that I don’t drink any liquids past mid-afternoon on a show day. After spending hours lining up for the perfect spot in the front row, I can’t risk needing a bathroom break once I get in there.

Unfortunately, the older I get, the earlier I have to cut myself off.

There, Susan, now the whole world knows. Are you happy?

BB:  Uh, yeah, seriously I am.  That’s the best story ever.

BB:  When did you start This Is Nowhere and why?

GH:  The short answer is because the band inspires me, and that leads me to try to write it all down.

Beyond that, my other great musical loves, U2 and Springsteen, we’re stoked in large part by the websites atU2.com and backstreets.com, respectively. Both sites are fan-operated, and yet both have an impressive level of professionalism and quality about them I really admired.

As TATE took over first place on my playlist, I would read those sites and think, “Man, if only there was something like this for Airborne.” And then one day it occurred to me: perhaps I could be the one to create it!

Over the subsequent three years, it has grown far beyond what I had envisioned. I just found that I really loved doing it, and I added one piece at a time until it became what it is today.

BB:  Being a fan is one thing, writing a biography is another. What made you want to write a book about them?

GH:  Some times one thing just leads to another…

I recently wrote a whole post on this, so if you want the long version, check that out here. The short version is, I had an idea to write a few articles looking back on key events in the band’s history. Before I started work on any of those, fellow Airborne fan and writer Julie Stoller offered up her treasure trove of TATE articles and interviews that she’d been archiving since the earliest days of their career. Her collection of material was all-encompassing, and it spurred me to sketch out a full history of the band.

It began as a blog series, to be published one chapter at a time, every two weeks for about a year and a half. I kept to that schedule religiously, and partway through I realized that by the end of it, I’d have written a book. So that’s what it became.


BB:  What is your best TATE memory?

GH:  Through 18 shows, I’ve been utterly spoiled. There are more than I can name. But one moment will forever stand above them all.

To be very honest, I’m quite an insecure person. My paranoia can get the best of me, and at times, I’ve worried that Mikel and the band might disapprove of what I’m doing – whether it’s for being too intense of a fan, or writing something that doesn’t accurately represent them, or whatever.

Which is why the first night of the 2014 Fillmore residency meant so much to me. That night, they were to play their first record in its entirety… and that meant that, for the first time, I would see “This is Nowhere” performed live.

What went down is a bit of a blur. I remember Mikel walking over to my front row perch between he and Anna just before launching into the song, leaning down and shaking my hand. I remember him screwing up a line, glancing over at me and winking. And I remember him coming back over to shake my hand again at the end of the song, this time depositing a guitar pick in my clenched fist.

I have little recollection of the next song, “Midnight,” so stunned was I from what had just taken place. It felt like affirmation of all the time and effort I had poured into the website. He had noticed, and he appreciated it. Honestly, it meant the world.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t still wonder at times if they think I’m nuts, or worse. Maybe they’re horrified that I wrote a book about them.

But then I remember that moment at the Fillmore…

BB: Which member is dearest to your heart and why? Yes, I’m asking you to pick one.

GH:  Okay – honestly, I hate this question. Yes, because I love them all. They are all wonderful musicians and, more importantly, excellent people. But more because, for me, being a fan is more about appreciating and connecting with their work than hero worship. (And yeah, I know that the story above probably comes off as idolization, but it was really more about me just needing my insecurities settled.)

So, with that disclaimer aside and a gun to my head, I guess I’ll have to go with Mikel. At heart, I’m a lyric guy, and as much as I’m addicted to the music, it’s the words that get me every time. No matter what I’m going through in life – and I’ve had the full range of emotional experiences since getting hooked on Airborne – Mikel has a lyric for every moment. Through my daughter’s cancer ordeal, it’s been “The Thing About Dreams”: “Circumstance changes and life’s always calling your bluff. Enough is Enough.”

Plus, early on in the writing of the history of the band, I realized I was really writing Mikel’s story. Airborne is built on Mikel’s experiences and his desire to connect with people through his sharing of those experiences. Everything else in the band is ultimately in service of that objective. He succeeded in connecting with me, and that’s what it all comes down to.


BB:  If you could create any fantasy TATE experience what would it be?

GH:  Okay, so, I’m super boring. Some fans may wish to join the band on stage to play or sing or dance; I’m quite happy in front of the stage, thank you very much. Others may dream of hitting the bar with them and partying it up, but that’s not really my scene, and then they’d just find out how lame and awkward I really am (though I suspect Anna already knows).

Truthfully, my dream is pretty close to what they did for some lucky fans last year in Philly – an intimate show for about 80 people, with one fan getting to choose the setlist. The winner generously shared his prize and let other fans help choose the songs. I don’t know if I could be as cool as him. I would kill to choose the setlist.

If you want me to jazz up my fantasy a bit, let’s say the show is at one of their old school venues in LA – perhaps the Satellite, formerly Spaceland, or the Echo, where they played their first show.  And maybe I could hit up El Gran Burrito with them before the gig. I can only embarrass myself so much in the course of a taco.

BB:  What’s been the hardest part being a TATE die hard fan?

GH:  For me the hardest parts relate to running the site and writing the book, rather than just being a fan, per se. Not that I’m more important than any other fan, of course; but I think that in becoming a self-appointed TATE reporter/historian, I’ve put myself in some awkward spots and created pressures for myself that go beyond the typical fan experience.

As a fan, I just really want to be a cheerleader. But in my writing, I try hard not to come off as too much of an overgrown fan boy. Going back to atU2 and Backstreets, that’s what I always admired about them. They are fans, yes, but they also report on things objectively, and ask tough questions, and occasionally take unpopular stances on things.

In the past few years, The Airborne Toxic Event has gone through some controversial stuff. I won’t rehearse it all here (it’s in the book!). Covering those events was really difficult.

As a fan, I had my opinions. As a “reporter,” I wanted to be objective and cover all sides. As someone who wants to do right by the band, I desired to present them in a good light. As a representative of the fans to some extent, I wanted to honor the viewpoints of others, even if I didn’t share them.

It was all terribly complicated and more than a little stressful. But no one put that burden on me; I put it on myself. It’s what I signed up for, even if I didn’t know it at the time.

I eventually realized I can’t please everyone; all I can do is seek out the facts to the best of my ability, and write from the heart.

I will say, the ups and downs of the past three years have made for great story. Every good book needs some conflict!

What has made it all worth it are the relationships I’ve built with my fellow fans, and the encouragement they’ve given me along the way. So many have told me that This Is Nowhere has strengthened their love for the band. I’m genuinely proud of that, and I hope the book will have the same effect on those who read it.

Once again, Glen Hoos amazes.  I am fortunate to know him not only as G-Man Superfan (his nickname on my blog) but also as a friend.  If you would like to get your own copy of Toxic History: The Story of The Airborne Toxic Event, you can purchase the hard copy here or the ebook here.


After a concert trip to Portland where I saw my favorite new band, Coast Modern, I came back with show highlights for the masses.  A common response I receive after hearing about excessive drinking, front row dancing, and photos with the gents is, “It must be so fun to go to concerts with you.”  I usually point these naive people towards Bestie or Ladyfriend so they can be warned.  Either friend usually chuckles it off and gives a flip warning about how it’s not all fun and games rollin’ with me to a rock show.

So, I thought why not pull back the curtain and walk everyone through my concert rituals.  And yes, there are rituals.  Show all the small details involved when you travel hundreds of miles to experience something dear to my heart.  For this case study, I’m using Coast Modern as my subject since I’m still swooning in #CoMo concert juju.  While I always promise an adventure on these trips, it comes with having to bring the heart of a lion to put up with pretty much twenty-four hours of non-stop action.

1.) The Road Trip Prep:

Even before we hit the road, there’s planning.  Lemon drops are pre-made, unhealthy snacks gathered, and a new wardrobe purchased.  Yep, I buy a new outfit for every single concert.  Do you know how many pictures I take?  There are so many it would be recognizable if you saw the same shirt twice.  Sometimes I might slip one back into the rotation, but years needed to have passed or there’s no photo documentation.  Once everything is prepped, we actually get on the road. Early.

2.) The Drive:

I’m always the driver.  Usually it’s a minimum of five hours to get to the closest venue.  The car ride is part of the excitement.  Those crappy snacks we usually don’t splurge on during regular healthy eating days are busted open in about ten minutes after pulling away from the curb.  Being a passenger in my car is not for the weak spirited.  In my car, you better bring your dancing and singing A-game. We crank up the tunes, open up the sun roof, and jam like no other car is watching, even though they all are.  There are car dance competitions and lip sync challenges posted to everyone in my Snap Chat world.  Which brings me to the next detail and it’s HUGE.

3.) Your Picture Will Be Taken:

No ifs, ands, or buts about this.  You will have your picture taken at every moment on the trip.  It’s one of the rules of being in Susan’s universe.  I photograph everything.  There’s something about capturing a moment in time, a memory.  I can’t pass it up.  It may be something sweet, or crass, even a little embarrassing, but it usually always makes me laugh.  If you hate your picture taken, you might want to decline if I ask you to do anything with me.  Don’t worry, all pictures you hate are quickly deleted.  We are friends, remember?


Ladyfriend loves selfies.

4.) The Pre-Show:

It starts about four hours before doors open at the venue.  We chill it in our hotel room, pour a cocktail, and start the beauty prep.  Showers, hair, and make up application while blasting music and enjoying the ultimate girl time.  This is one of my favorite traditions in concerting.  Even alone, it’s a time I seriously enjoy.  There’s something meditative about this calm before the storm.

5.) Box Delivery:

Lately I’ve had packages for some of my favorite band peeps and Coast Modern was no different.  You did read about how much I love them, right?  I load up ten pounds in goods to haul over in the Uber, cart around the venue, and beg someone from security to deliver it to the band.  This is not an easy mission, I’ll tell you. In the Coast Modern delivery, it started with me asking one guy guarding the door.  He said he had to radio someone.  Then a woman came out.  She said she had to radio someone.  Before I knew it there were five guys with five walkie-talkies swarming around until one finally said he would deliver.


Ladyfriend couldn’t believe how difficult a package delivery could be.

6.) Front Row Meet and Greet:

When the doors open, I go for the front.  At Coast Modern, I parked it right under the center mic stand.  Since I’m in position an hour before the show is to start, there’s plenty of time to make friends with everyone around me.  As per usual, I checked with the fifteen people around me to see if they were there for Coast Modern or Temper Trap.  Not surprisingly, the hadn’t heard of the opener.  And that’s when the real fun begins.  I take every moment to tell them why Coast Modern should be their next favorite band.  I brag about their funny tweets and hilarious Snap Chats.  I encourage people in the moment to get out their phone and follow them right away.  (Sometimes I even take their phone and do it for them.  Yeah, I get a little zealous.)

Also, everybody gets a nickname.  At this Coast Modern show, some names given were: Fronts (they were the first in line), Coda (he wrote computer code for a living), Brother (he came with his brother to the show), and Guy Who Came Alone (do I really need to explain it?)  Coda tried to give me his real name three times.  I won’t take it.  We’re never going to see each other again, but he will always remain Coda in my heart.


These are “Fronts.” Cutest thing about them was the guy is wearing 3 shirts.  He wore the concert shirts they bought so she didn’t have to carry hers. So adorable!


The middle guy bought this chick a Coast Modern shirt and they had just met at the merch booth.  I love these kind of stories!

7.) Gear Haul:

At the merch table, I load up.  Usually as I flutter around to chat up the other fans, my concert guest holds all the gear.  I think they do this because I will probably lose everything if left to my own devices.  The co-pilot position also helps keep me on track.  They help snag set lists, round up signatures, and take my pictures with the band in the most flattering angle.


Luke Atlas performs a whole show and still looks amazing. I only have to watch it and look worked.

8.) Party Never Ends:

The show’s over, I’ve got selfies with the band, arms full of tee-shirts, and this is when everyone else heads back to their hotel to go to bed.  Not me.  In my mind, once you go to sleep all the magic from your concert night ends. It leads me to work very hard to keep the party going.  With the alcohol drowning rational thoughts and the venue emptying, Ladyfriend nicely guided me out the doors to call Uber.  Even in a last-ditch effort, I still made another attempt to have people join us for drinks.  After they graciously declined, Uber hauled us back to our hotel and we crashed.  (Note: by this time I’d been awake for 22 hours.)

9.) Early Wake Up Call:

A little known fact about me when I’ve been drinking alcohol…I don’t sleep.  I crash hard for about 2 hours, but then I’m up and wide awake.  My companion does not share the same affliction.  Usually I play on my phone for a few hours, uploading show pictures, texting other friends, and tweeting the shit out of the band with accolades. Then, still way earlier than my traveling friend wants, my stare bores a hole in their head and they wake up.  While they’re groggy and exhausted, I’m bright eyed and ready to do it all over again.  (In my multi-show trip in April to see Dreamers, over the course of 5 days I slept about 16 hours total.)


This is just a great picture of Coleman Trapp so I’m putting it in.

Hopefully this gives you a little insight into how tough my friends are.  They know all this and still sign up to go to shows occasionally.  God bless them for their patience and courage. So if you like the same type of tunes and think you can hang with this kind action, shoot me a text, get a lot of rest ahead of time, and we’ll rock the next show together.

Here’s a video from the show because I adore Coast Modern.  Don’t tell me you watched this and didn’t fall madly in love.  It’s about impossible.  Also, please excuse the terrible filming — I’m having a damn good time.


How To Be a Great Fan

Months ago I wrote a blog about How To Support Your Band and I was pretty content after I did.  Maybe even a little smug. I felt pretty darn good about giving some solid tips on how to help out those hard working musicians in their quest to become the next big thing.  Since then I’ve wondered why some super-talented favorites (cough, cough Dreamers, Coast Modern) aren’t picking up traffic at a lightning pace like they deserve.  They’re creating solid music, pounding the pavement on tour, being adorable in fan pictures, and engaging regularly in the Twitterverse.  And while they’re picking up a steady following along the way, I worry the world is still missing out.

Sure, some of it is luck where Oprah picks them as her favorite thing.  Lightening in a bottle if they’re featured on a crazy video that goes viral.  Or maybe they scored a deal with the Devil? Obviously Twenty-One Pilots must have sold their souls to go from people saying “Twenty what?” to sold out stadiums seemingly overnight.  Since there really isn’t a way to quantify selling your soul, I’ve tried to look a little harder at what works towards a band’s success.  After considering the band’s efforts, I turned the microscope onto my brethren — Fans.  And when I did, I have to say I saw some apathy and selfishness.

Don’t get me wrong out there, Fans.  I love you.  I love you like no other kind of love in this world.  You have a passion so deep the darkest oceans can’t compare to your band commitment.  However, what do you do with this love?  Do you picket the streets with their new album release?  Cold call strangers to try out their latest single?  Stand outside the local mall and hawk digital downloads?  Nope, I didn’t think so.

That’s the thing.  As fans, we bask in our own love.  You may tell friends in passing they should give your new band a shot.  You might even put a sticker on your car and get a question or two at the gas station that you happily answer with over-information.  But we rarely step outside our comfort zone to really support the bands we adore.  Maybe we’re scared. What if they get so big they won’t love us back? Oh, dear fan, that’s a risk we all take.  And honestly, it will happen.  But our selfishness shouldn’t stop us from helping our favorite musician taste success.  (Hint, this is how more music gets made.)  Or maybe it’s because we feel too small to really make a difference.  We don’t have the same platform when we only have 72 Twitter followers.  (Hey if you’re on Twitter, congratulate yourself.  Bestie still can’t figure it out.)

You’d be surprised the difference you can make when you really put some work into it.  Don’t know where to start?  Here are some tips on how to help be a great fan to your band:

Tweet, Facebook, Instragram, YouTube, or Snapchat the shit out of their releases.

It doesn’t matter which social media platform you use, you’re reaching a wider audience.  Be creative.  Make up your own fan art to highlight.  Or if you lack creativity, share what the band’s putting out.  You may have an old acquaintance from high school who is constantly looking for their next favorite band.  They see your messages and give it a go.  Soon they’re telling their friends about it.  Do you see how amazingly influential you are already?

Get everyone you know, in every city, to see their show no matter what you have to do.

Okay, so some of your friends and family can be duds.  You hear their million excuses to why they don’t go out and know it doesn’t do any good to suggest they try something new.  Why not entice them to get out there?  I’ve been known to use a cookie delivery (with a treat for the carrier too) to get some people to shows in their area.  For support, they brought some friends of their own.  Four new bodies primed to be lifelong fans.  Not one yet has come back cursing my name.  In fact, most planned to check out the band again without prompting.


How could you ever pass up the chance to see Nick Wold from Dreamers?

Buy all the merchandise you can stuff in your arms.

Who says you have to only buy a single shirt for yourself?  Your friends don’t have to attend the concert to be a walking billboard for the band.  Sometimes, a new item in their wardrobe encourages them to give the music a go.  They listen so when asked by a stranger about their cool shirt, they have a stronger answer than “Oh, I don’t know, I got the shirt from a friend.”

Remember folks, ticket and merchandise sales are some of the biggest money makers for the artists in this age.  The more coin you drop at their merch booth means more tunes your ears will enjoy in the future.


BONUS:  Sometimes at the merch booth you get to see your faves like Luke Atlas from Coast Modern.

Tell every single radio station in the country how you love them.

Okay, so you’re broke and don’t want to sling any money when you can’t even afford to buy a large pizza for yourself. I get it.  Then let your fingers do the work by contacting your favorite radio stations to work them into the rotation.  With on-line streaming you can listen to any station in any state in this country.  Listener feedback is becoming a staple in creating station playlists.  The more you request, the better chance the station will pick them up.

Caveat: Don’t be a dick.  Don’t spam the station or tell them they’re stupid if they don’t love your band as much as you.  This will actually do your band a disservice and probably get you blocked.

Encourage friends to follow them on social media.

Yep, numbers matter.  The more followers on social media, the more seriously someone is taken.  People assume if fifty thousand other people like a band, they must be good.  If nothing else, media outlets will give them more credibility.  Encourage everyone you meet to like your band on the social platform of their choice.

If they’re the concert opener, talk to everyone in the place about them before they hit the stage.

I know this one takes some extrovert courage, but it pays off.  Most concert attendees don’t give too much attention to the opener even though every great band started there at one time. Instead, attendees check their phone, talk with friends, or get more drinks from the bar while they wait for the main attraction.  You get out there and pique their interest by telling everyone you came for the opener!  If you do, they may give your new favorite band a chance.  And that’s all you want.  Then your band needs to deliver, which you know they will because you love them.

coast modern fans

Look at all the lovely friends I made at the Coast Modern show. (Ignore the weird photography.)

I can hear some of you now, “But that’s a lot of work.”  Yes, it is.  But we’re talking about a band you love, right?  I ached for years as I watched how my favorites, The Airborne Toxic Event and The Limousines, worked relentlessly and baked a cookie or two.  But that was it.  And a band can only take working hard with minimal reward for so long.  Then they have to make decisions about whether the investment is worth the return.  Trust me when I say you don’t want your band to weigh out the pros and cons.

And before someone out there gets righteous — yes, I do these things.  If you doubt it, ask anyone I work with, see at a bar, or stand next to at a Dreamers or Coast Modern show.  I can tell you first hand there’s been a few new fans picked up here and there.  There are days where I think I’m not making much of a difference and other days I want to wallow in selfishness to keep them small.  Those are the days I crank up their songs, remember how they’re good people, and get off my ass to find them more fans.

This Album Does Not Exist

It’s finally here!  After a long wait and tons of work!  Release day for Dreamers!  Yes, all these exclamation marks are necessary.  I couldn’t be more excited (as well as the legions who love them) that their first full length album has been birthed into the world.

I was fortunate to see the gents Wednesday night for an in-store performance in Portland.  They stripped down a few songs into acoustic versions and WOWed  everyone, as they normally do with their live performance.  Come on with that Never Too Late to Dance.  Big heart emoji right there.  They were charming as ever as they signed posters, posed for pictures, and chatted with all the people who came out.

However, my 600 mile round trip had a second purpose.  I couldn’t let those nice guys have a huge celebration without cookies, could I?  What kind of fan do you think I am?  So without further adieu, I introduce the This Album Does Not Exist cookie.


I joked they went out to find the hardest image ever for their cover because they wanted to make sure I had to work for it.

No visit could be complete with Dreamers if I didn’t get a selfie with each.  They’re always too kind to put up with my picture addiction.

Aren’t they just adorable?  Now, head out there to buy their album, see them in concert, and shower them with love.


Kill the Boy BandCover Me:  I love everything about this cover.  The simplicity with the black background and the bold hot pink is killer.  (Pun intended.)  Even after you strip off the book jacket, it reveals a hot pint book binding and I fall in love all over again.  This cover didn’t have to draw me in because I was already in love with the concept when I read about it six months ago.  I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

The Concept:  Four Mega-fans of the boy band The Ruperts get together to find a way into their sold out concert.  Their plan is to stay at the same hotel.  In a short time due to to coincidence, they end up kidnapping the least popular member of the band.  Things go from bad to worse when he ends up dead.

What is there not to love about this concept?  It’s all my favorite things in a nice little package.  Music? Check. Superfans? Yup. Hijinx to get close to their fave band?  Solid.  This concept had me months before it came out.  I couldn’t wait to read it, even before all the terrific reviews rolled in about this dark comedy.

The Peeps:  The main character never gives her name, although she’s made out to be the most sane in the group.  Don’t we all think that when telling our version of the story?  Each of the four girls are described well and have distinct personalities.  The same goes for the The Ruperts, even though they all share the same first name.  I most enjoyed Rupert the Juggler who ends up dying.  Sure he was a giant asshole when talking with the fangirls.  At least he owned it, which was in contrast to his band persona where he really couldn’t find his identity.

The Ending (spoiler alert!):  The story had nice suspense in trying to figure out what happened in the room when Rupert died.  Especially when our main character doubts her sanity and wonders if maybe she did kill him.  Hey, I think we’ve all been there when you get wrapped up in excitement, right?  I know there’s been some times I may have regretted my concert action the next day.  (For the record, no one died.)

The romance between the main character and her favorite Rupert (I think it was K, but I’m not sure any more) was cute.  Isn’t it every fan girl’s dream that when she does meet the object of her affection, he finds her charming, interesting, beautiful in her own way, and wants to continue to hang out with her?  Oh, just me?  I’m not sure this rings anything near reality because Mikel has yet to say anything about my charming personality or wanting to be BFFs.

The actual resolution to the murder mystery was a little flat for me, but I understand why it had to go there.  There were humorous parts to the book, but I wasn’t falling down laughing like I thought I might.  However, it’s still a solid, fun read.

What I Cooked Up:  Since I may know a thing or two about being a fangirl, even at my age, I wanted to incorporate how I appreciate my favorites.  It seemed only fitting to make the band into a cookie.  While I don’t really know what they look like, this was my interpretation.



As you know when my fave bands go on tour, and I’m nowhere near one of their cities, my “fear of missing out” is off the charts.  Throw into the equation Coast Modern and my CoMo FOMO is off the fucking charts.


It was only four weeks ago when I was at their show.

While I will have some shows coming up in the Fall when they open up for Temper Trap, I won’t be part of this tour with the Wombats that started in Milwaukee, WI for Summerfest last night.  So what do I do in these troubled times?  Give away cookies, of course.

Coast Modern 2

So how do you win this CoMo-licious stash?  It’s rather easy — turn your family, friends, and acquaintances into CoMo-sapiens.  Yep, I can do this to every word.  You’ll earn points for getting people to follow their social media accounts, buy their music, and leave reviews.

One point will be awarded for each social account they follow/like, three points for purchasing their three released songs, and three points for each review they write.

You’re probably asking “How will you know?”  First, I like to assume you’re honest.  Come on people, these are cookies.  Let’s not lose our integrity over a dessert.  However, if there is a question of legitimacy, proof will be requested.

Document how many friends did what in the comment section of this contest status for Delish or in the comment section below.  Please list out how many for each category so I know how many points to award.  Example: 5 Facebook “Likes”, 2 Twitter “Follows,” 10 friends bought the songs, 3 left reviews on iTunes.  Easy peasy.

The person with the most points will win and the cookies (more than pictured above) will be shipped to them.  Contest will end at 3:00 pm on July 23, 2016.  If I’ve forgotten something, feel free to hit me up. Good luck and share the #CoMo vibes.

It’s safe to say I haven’t kept up with the Pretending blog series very well.  The idea started after I had some conversations with some pretty kick ass women who were doubting their kick-assery.  Unacceptable.  I made the commitment to be brave and face off against some insecurities to help them see how amazing they truly are.  To be frank, I’ve really let them down in his effort.  Not only because I haven’t been writing about it, but more because I haven’t been living it.  So here I am, ready to be as vulnerable as I can imagine, and hope you will be kind.

We all have some crazy.  We’re human.  Made up of character rich flaws with unique coping mechanisms.  My demons always rise from self-doubt and worrying about ruining things I love.  The anxiety from it can engulf all my thoughts for days on end by over analyzing meaningless details.  Did that sideways look mean I said something stupid?   Did I come off looking too needy by sending a follow-up text when they didn’t text back in the first place?  Oh my God, what are they going to think after watching that five minute drunken snap story?   In a rational mind, I can see these aren’t that big of a deal in the scheme of life.  However, when I’m spiraling, my “crazies” hijack all rationality and tell me I have ruined something important.


Towards the end of last year I struggled with finding a mental balance.  I fluctuated from experiencing fantastic highs on the good days to self-loathing lows when I made a simple mistake.  I punished myself for days by replaying what I saw as poor choices.  Each time asking myself how I could’ve been so stupid. Finally I got to a place where I didn’t want to hate on myself anymore.  I needed some help with perspective to bring my psyche back to an even kilter.

I talk to people every day about how it takes great strength and courage to admit when you need help.  I encourage them to seek assistance with others, even professionals, if they find their support systems aren’t providing relief.  I go on and on about how there’s nothing wrong with going to therapy; it’s just a sounding board to give you an unbiased  opinion.  But there I was, worried about letting anyone know I decided to go.

It wasn’t my first time.  I received great advice years ago and saw results in enhancing important relationships.  So why was it such a big deal now?  Maybe I worried people would think I should be lucky to have such trivial problems. Or  worse, maybe others will blow it out of proportion, which happens after your immediate family member commits suicide.  Even now I struggle to write the words with some fear there will be a perception assigned.

When I went, I confirmed one thing I already knew — I’m an “all or nothing” kind of person.  I want things to mean one thing or another.  Defined.  Judgmental. It’s a very difficult expectation to hold yourself.  What I learned was two things could be true at the same time.  I could be a good person and make a bad decision.  I learned the importance in trusting what people say and not always look for the “what did they really mean.”  Lastly, I got a most helpful “check the facts” sheet.  At those times when I start to awfulize a situation, I have to pull out a questionnaire and write down the answers.  A reality check, if you will.  What are other possible conclusions?  And what’s the absolute worst case scenario?  The process helps see the situation for the importance it should given instead of what my mind wants to blow it into.

The few sessions proved helpful to gain some tools I’d been lacking.  Because she was also an artist, the conversations included subjects around the creative process.  We discussed the benefits of meditation, finding the “wise mind,” and validating my own art.

So why would I share all this information about my mental health?  Something so personal and a topic most people are uncomfortable talking about?  Bringing this subject out into the light is the only way to change the stigmas.  Showing it’s okay to admit we have doubts.  Vulnerabilities.  Insecurities.  Flaws.  Crazies.  I do this to encourage you to share your struggles, appreciate these challenges in each other, and refuse to be embarrassed of what you battle.  Because even if we don’t believe it in the moment, if we want to change how people view mental illness, we need to pretend not to be ashamed of who we truly are.