Apple pies and baby food

Posting this at the beginning of the blog so it’s upfront and center:

Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Wishlist

I ended up making the fried apple pies a bit earlier than expected.

Logan was asked to report to a different job site today for something only a handful of people are qualified to do and it takes a team of four of them to accomplish.  He’s sick as can be now, so will probably be snotting up the “spacesuit” he has to wear while working on this particular equipment…so I figured food would help a lot.  Plus, there are only like ten people that work at this entire facility, so it’s a lot easier to make all of them fried pies than his regular office.  🙂

Logan definitely ate more than his fair share last night.  He even went so far as claiming he’d take one for the team and eat any that he broke while putting them in the container.  I think he was breaking them on purpose after a point.

After my big “wanting to help drama” yesterday, I had another incidence set it off.  I probably went a bit overboard and sent an angry email to the organizer…but I’m all about tattling on myself because it pissed me off, to be quite honest.

Our local theater, which we frequent quite often, has set up a big block party and has involved a lot of the local restaurants and sent out the notice yesterday evening.  It’s a good idea at heart and all proceeds are going to for hurricane relief.  The thing that got under my skin (and apparently a lot of others, based on what I’m seeing on their social media) is that money raised is only going to help people affected by Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida.

Sure, they were impacted severely and the situations there are, by no means, great.  I know a family that was displaced during Irma and they were just recently allowed back home…but they ARE back home.  Conditions were rough and a lot of cleanup and repairs are necessary, but their home is still standing and they have access to everything they need.  I don’t think anybody can argue that people living in Puerto Rico are experiencing the same.

As I was typing this blog out, actually, the theater sent out an updated email that now they’re “considering” including Puerto Rico in the fundraiser tonight.   I guess enough people fussing does help but I don’t like the word “considering”, so still don’t think I’ll be attending unless Logan wants to go…but since he’s not feeling well, we’ll probably be staying in tonight.  Meals are by donation and $5 a person, so our contribution split over two places and a maybe wouldn’t add up to much anyway.

In the end, when I asked myself the question — what would I want in this situation? — actually receiving supplies seemed a lot more beneficial than hearing about money being funneled through who knows what organizations, especially since all that’s being said is the money will be used through “Fundabilities” and that site certainly isn’t any more clear about how they plan on distributing it.  As I said yesterday, I’m probably too skeptical and cynical for my own good…

Instead, I chose to do something that I know will directly benefit people.

The mayor of NYC is running a supply drive for Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria and the FDNY stations are serving as drop off points.  They’re looking for essentials like diapers, baby food, feminine hygiene products, batteries, and first aid.  Since we live a good three hours from the city, it isn’t practical for us to drive in and drop off of a load of supplies, but they’ve set up an Amazon wishlist attached to their Masbia soup kitchens.  Any items ordered from the Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief list will be automatically delivered to the Sunset Park Fire Station.

Finally!  Something I can actually give and know that it will get to somebody that needs it.

I looked at our budget for the month (easy since the month is almost over!) and used what we had left in free spending to send all that we could in baby food and diapers.  I’ve seen on multiple reports that food/water are the biggest concerns, even for adults.  I know baby food isn’t ideal, but in a pinch I’d eat it…especially since it’s liquid and would provide some hydration as well.   …and I’m not a parent, but if I was, I’d know I’d be more concerned about my child than I would be about myself, so I thought diapers may also be more useful than some of the other items.  Babies go through a lot more diapers in a month than I do feminine products and just thinking about the how sick/sore a little one can get when left in a wet or dirty diaper definitely drove that decision.

It’s still not much and I wish I could do more, but every little bit counts, right?

 

 

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Put a little good out into the world.

Bear with me on this post, I didn’t think about it beforehand and it’s hard to tell where my rant will end up before it actually ends.  I’m sure I’ll step on some toes, I usually do.

So, I did a thing that lead to some introspection, as it always does…and then that leads me to the awkward place of both wanting to do more things and wanting to do no things because it feels selfish at the same time.  It’s a weird power struggle.

I don’t know if it’s typical of me or not — some would think it is, some would say it’s not.  I suppose it depends on which side of me that you see.

I am, as a rule, incredibly anti-social.  There are a lot of reasons, but most of it stems from a strong strain of cynicism and, unfortunately, that cynicism reflects on myself as well.  Regardless of how altruistic I intend to be, I get something out of an action.  I get that modicum of joy and satisfaction that I did something good and unasked for.

It’s different when you give somebody $10 to a charity that is begging for it at every checkout in America — that just feels like being nagged out of your money for the unfortunate folks with muscular dystrophy.  Do I still give then?  Of course I do.  I have two cousins that had Duchenne MD (they were brothers) who defied the odds by living into their 50s with the disorder.  They were both fantastic people and I’ve donated every year since I was an adult, first in their honor, now in their memory.

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Not my photo, I totally yoinked it off of one of their Facebook pages so I could share it here.

So even in giving something, you get something in return.  The charity begs through a clerk who doesn’t care one way or another, I write their names on a clover and then I get a little bit of warm-wash in my gut at remembering my cousins.  I also get to hope the money helps out others facing the same hurdles they did…and secretly wish that my paltry $10 goes towards research that will one day find a way to cure or at least mitigate some of the worst symptoms instead of going towards printing out more shamrocks to hang in more stores across the nation.

I always slip money, when I actually have cash on me, into the donation jars of a DAV Forget-Me-Not or VFW Buddy Poppy drive.  I spent so much time a child peddling those little red Buddy Poppies with my Granny Boo that it’s almost an impulse.  The last DAV lady seemed absolutely shocked that a “kid” with wild colored hair and black clothes was handing her money.  I think I have enough of both flowers now that I could probably make a summer wreath out of them and probably should, it would be a pretty tribute on our front door.

Many years ago, when Logan and I first lived together, we fell in love with some foster kids.  One of our friends was a babysitter for social services and I think I spent almost every day at her house playing with the foster kids.  They were all heart-breaking in their own ways, especially knowing the situations they came from.  Logan and I were young and therefore the age of a lot of the kids’ parents, so the kids often opened up to us in a way that they didn’t with their foster parents or their babysitter…even though their parents were often the people that had hurt them, they were all that they had known.  One of the toddlers whose arms were scarred would run to the door to be picked up by me and would want to hold my hand whereas he’d hide them from others.  One of the little girls would let me brush and braid her hair.  One of the little nonverbal boys would shriek with giggles for us, especially when we’d bring our puppy (now hulking huge dog, Thorin) by to play with him.  They’d want to be held, and rocked, and just generally be loved on.

…but there was one set of sisters that absolutely stole our hearts.  The oldest was four and was absolutely in love with her Loooogie (a nickname I still call him).  She was incredibly intelligent and had spent her entire young life watching out for her younger sister, who was sweet and a bit developmentally delayed at the time due to neglect.  One day, as Christmas was approaching, the oldest had curled up in my lap and she asked if Santa existed.  Knowing all that this poor little one had been through, I just asked if her she thought he did, and she hesitated but finally nodded after a few minutes.  She then admitted that she was afraid that Santa wouldn’t know where to find them since they were in foster care (and knowing her foster parents to be miserable human beings, I seconded that sentiment).  My response was that so long as she believed, Santa would always find her.  That Christmas, Logan and I bought gifts for her, her sister, and the other family of foster kids that were staying with them.  Santa was going to find them, hell or high water, even if it was on a part time salary.  The foster parents, of course, changed most of the tags from “Santa” told all the kids that the presents were from them and how hard it was financially for them to buy everything and what a burden they all were.   …but a the important gift made it through.  The little girl got her “puter” (a little VTech laptop that she had told nobody but the library Santa and me that she wanted) from Santa, so the magic stayed alive and a kid that had so much taken from them at such a young age got to have a taste of a childhood a little longer.  Thankfully (or regrettably) the foster parents were deemed unsuitable after bruises were found on the youngest girl and another foster kid testified that they had all been hit at different times.  The girls were then adopted by some of their family members and we received photos of them afterwards — they looked happy (which they never did in foster care), so I’m happy and hope that they’re doing well all these years later.  We still think about both of them often.  The other kids the foster family had were put into emergency custody with our friend the babysitter and she ultimately ended up adopting them, so things worked out for them too.

…but I digress.  With the state of the world, as I perceive it currently, I’ve been feeling a bit helpless lately.  There are so many people hurting and so many things wrong…and people seem to be flipping out over things that are, in my opinion, entirely pointless.  Athletes aren’t standing for the national anthem and suddenly people are having meltdowns?  Shouldn’t we be more worried about the war of words and egos between “Rocket Boy” and “Dotard” that could very quickly escalate into a very real war?  Or what about climate change?  Aren’t those things that should really matter?  I’m just one person who doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, so what can I do about them anyway?

Put a little good out into the world to try to offset all of the bad that I keep seeing around me daily.  That’s all I can really do.  That’s all I can hope to do with my meager resources and influence.  Just a little good.

Logan works a secretive job, one that I can’t know the specifics.  The whole complex is guarded and I’ve only been on site once, for an approved family day where they opened up the grounds and a few buildings to show people that jobs exist.  To work where he works, you have to be a sole U.S. citizen (not a dual citizen and especially not illegal) and there was a very rigorous security clearance process that involved sending people out to interview almost every single person he knew at the time, myself included.

Why did I even mention Logan’s job?  Because in the wake of the devastation from Hurricane Maria, I feel like citizens of our country are being ignored.  In his small, secluded group that work in a locked, guarded room together, he has two Puerto Rican coworkers.  Two guys in an already select group, that make up a huge organization, so you know the numbers grow exponentially as you spread outwards.

Both guys are floundering currently.  One has no clue if his girlfriend is okay.  The other hasn’t heard anything from his entire family.  Can you even begin to imagine not knowing how your loved ones are?  Most of us start to panic if somebody doesn’t answer the phone or return a text after a few minutes.  It has been almost a week since Hurricane Maria tore over one of OUR territories and left nothing but devastation and heartache in her wake.  Puerto Ricans are our fellow country men and women and we’re leaving them in the dark.  Were Irma and Harvey horrible events?  Sure, but fortunately they weren’t islands.  People still had ways to move about, to reach out and find resources, contact their families, find a safe and sanitary place to sleep.  The outcry for aid was strong and it was all I saw on my social media and news.  After Maria, all I’ve seen is outrage over football players.

…so I’m helpless to help and frustrated at being so useless.

I did the only thing I know how to do.  I did the southern thing (well, what Logan and I perceive to be southern — we haven’t noticed it as a trend up here, so please correct me if I’m wrong!) and I sent them food.  On Monday, Logan went to work with a loaf of pumpkin bread for both of his coworkers.  When somebody has hit a rough patch, you feed them.  It’s one less thing they have to worry about and homemade food is always good for your spirits, right?

When his group is having a particularly hard time on a project, I’ll whip up some cookies or send in a cake.  Logan likes it because it wins him some epic brownie points in a company that seems so highly food-motivated.  …and I get to enjoy that glow of knowing that while I can’t fix their problems or actually do anything to really help them, I maybe took away even a bit of stress, even if it’s just for a minute while they’re nomming down.

There’s where the cynicism comes in though.  Giving should be altruistic, shouldn’t it?  I baked the pumpkin bread because I wanted so desperately to be able to do something for both of those guys and knew that, realistically, there wasn’t a thing I -could- do that would actually be useful.  I can’t afford to fly them down to see their family, assuming they could even get flights home.  I certainly can’t fix the infrastructure or our crumbling political system.  I can only do something I’m moderately good at, which is cooking.  Everybody has to eat.

I still get something out of it, though.  I still get to feel like I helped.  I still get to feel a bit of relief that I did something, anything…  I get to hope that I took their minds off a horrible situation, even for a split second, when Logan surprised them by giving them the pumpkin bread.

…and now, a day later, I get to enjoy the high from complements and thanks I wasn’t seeking.  Or was I secretly wanting that validation?  Is that what drove me to do it?  I hope not.  I’m fairly confident in my ability to cook and bake but I have to admit it’s really nice to have the appreciation.

Logan said one of the guys took his bread to share at a meeting with other Puerto Ricans on Monday to spread the love and they devoured it and sent back loads of appreciation and commendation.  The other guy shared some with his cube-mates and then took the rest home to his girlfriend.  The people there all seem really kind and giving, so I’m glad it was spread around even more. Supposedly Logan was even told he was lucky to have me from a guy who apparently didn’t even like pumpkin.  To be fair, I also know that guy and am fond of him; he’s eaten dinner with us and filched some meat pies I’ve packed for Logan’s lunch before, so at least he has more experience to base his judgement. ;P

Putting a little good into the world makes me want to do it even more.  Again, though, I can’t but question my motives.  Am I doing it for me or for them?  Who am I really helping?

Logan asked if I would make some fried apple pies for him to take to work.  I think he also likes the attention and good will.  I’ll make some this weekend.  I have plenty of apple pie filling I canned last year using Cortlands that we picked.  It shouldn’t take long to whip up a big batch of mini pies.  Most of his coworkers have pretty easy lives, but you never know what is boiling beneath the surface.  Some of them are having issues with their kids, or are suffering from losses, or are just downright lonely or stressed.  It’s weird what little things — tiny little things like a random, homemade fried pie at work can sometimes do to make someone’s day a bit more bearable.

I’m also working on my secret “30 for 30” project.  This December, my sister would have turned 30 years old.  It’s crazy to believe…and even harder to think that she’s not been with us for eleven years now.

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Myself and my sister, probably around 3 and 2.

I want to make 30 pillow cases (I use the “Hot Dog” method) to donate to our local Ronald McDonald House (or possibly the one in New Haven, CT if I venture down that way before then).  We spent a lot of time staying in various houses while either she or Dad were at hospitals.  They’re such a fantastic resource for families and patients and we always loved staying at them, especially the one in New Haven.

The houses are always in need of volunteers and all kinds of supplies, and since I sew and have a bunch of cute children fabric on hand, I thought some pillow cases would be fun.  The house can keep them for the rooms or even give them to the kids so they have something bright to take to the hospitals with them…it really doesn’t matter to me.  We would have loved pillow cases with Miss Spider or Babar on them at either place, so hopefully the kids staying there now will too.  I’ll freely admit that I’d still love a Babar pillow so may make myself one when I’m done. 😛

Maybe that’s enough for me, I should quit analyzing (yah right) my motives and just ask:

If I was in x situation, what would I want somebody who had the same resources/skills available as I do, to realistically do?  What would actually help to make my life a bit better?

…and I think I’ll always settle on the answer:  Put a little good out into the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Little things

I’ve been wiffle-waffling over Grandmother’s Christmas present.  I think I want to make her a cardigan this year.  I’ve never made a sweater, so no pressure, right? 😛

I picked up some lovely yarn at Michael’s the other day when I was out adventuring.  I was surprised that I liked it — I usually can’t stand the feel of acrylic yarns, but this one was nice and soft if I make something for Grandmother, I want it to be machine washable.  This fits the bill and is her favorite color!

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Isn’t that such a beautiful blue?  I couldn’t resist nabbing it.  It also didn’t hurt that the guy at the checkout counter scanned a 25% off coupon for me.  Thanks, dude!  🙂

I’ve been spending a lot of time over a Ravelry drooling at patterns and I think I’ve narrowed it down to three contenders.  Hopefully I’ll get it down to one by this week and get a swatch gauged.  I haven’t knit much singularly lately (I’m a huge fan of double knit), so I’ll probably be quite slow at throwing yarn around.

The ones I’m contemplating are:

Really Fits Cardigan — I like the straightforwardness of the pattern and that it looks surprisingly good on every single person that has it in their projects.  What I don’t like is that it looks like any other sweater you could buy at any given store and the rows upon rows of stockinette.  If I drop then twist a stitch (which is my biggest knitting sin and I do it often), it’s going to be painfully obvious and I’m horrible at putting in lifelines, so there will be lots of tinking to fix things.  It looks easily modified to add buttons or clasps, which is also a plus.

Chimney Fire — I love that this one doesn’t look like anything you’d buy “off the rack”.  It’s fun and funky and Grandmother is quite the modern woman, so it seems appropriate.  I also really like that it has moss stitching instead of just straight up knitting, so is more likely to hide my mistakes, even though the pattern is a bit more complicated.  Plus, I love cabling.  Somebody in the projects added a zipper, which is even better than fussing with matching buttons and buttonholes.  I can sew a mean zipper!  …or I could just leave it be and let her fasten it with a copper brooch I made her several years back.  The downside is it’s a bit more boxy than the other two, though it does still look nice on all the ladies in their projects.

Constant Carving — This is probably the most classic looking cardigan of the ones I’m mulling over, which is it’s biggest plus.  Classic = classy…and though she is modern and fun, Grandmother is also very classy and put together.  I like the idea of how this particular cardigan is assembled and like the look of it overall.  The one thing I don’t like about it seems to be the sizing/fit — it seems very clingy on almost every single person, to the point you can tell where bras and pant-lines are.  Without having Grandmother here to test the cardigan every step of the way, I’m afraid I’d end up making her the wrong size — the sizing jumps are inconsistent and I’m basing sizing on the clothing brands/sizes that I know Grandmother regularly wears.  The first size with this pattern has 1.75 inches between it, then another has 2.75, followed by a .50 inch step…so it’s really bizarrely sized.  She’s very petite and I’m built more like a linebacker and outgrew her when I was in 6th grade, so I have absolutely no way of being an accurate judge on this particular pattern.

….and it looks like I just talked myself out of using Constant Carving, regardless of how classic it is.  I guess blogging is useful for something!

In other life news, the water main in our housing development broke this weekend.  Our weird little community has a shared well and I guess the pipes are probably 60 or 70 years old now.  They were able to repair it after we’d been without water for a day — it’s amazing how thirsty you get when you can’t turn on your faucet!  They’re chemically treating the water temporarily (yuck!) and we’re on a boil order from the Health Department until further notice.  The water came back orange when it did finally arrive, so we just bought several gallons and have been rationing it out instead.  The water is clear now, but I definitely didn’t want to use it at first!  Now I at least feel safe showering in it.  I look forward to being able to drink our water again — bottled water just isn’t the same.

 

Shiny

I’m mostly over my ProgPlague now.  I hope.  I can at least semi-breathe instead of wheeze, so that’s a start!

Logan flew back to Atlanta in the wee hours this morning to recruit at the job fair that was postponed.  I think he was regretting not going yesterday, but he tends to be overwhelmed with an odd mix of practicality and sentimentality…and didn’t want to cost the company an extra night at a hotel or “leave his wife” for an extra night.   Thus, he was awake at 3 a.m. this morning to drive to the airport to catch a 6 a.m. flight south.

So now I have two days home alone!

I’m not quite sure what to do with myself other than harass the cats, which I do anyway.

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Joule even managed to crack a smile for me!  I think she was getting ready to yawn but I’ll pretend it was a smile.

Also, if you ever want to hear a cat actually whine…have a dog sneeze on her.  It’s hilarious.

I did finally get up the gumption to go through the bag of stuff Mom sent up here.  She always saves all of her magazines (or at least the recipes) and various other things for me.  I didn’t have time to go through them at her house, so I just threw them in my suitcase and brought them home this time.  o.o;

There was at least one magical item hidden inside:  my yarn!

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I’d had this stuff sent to her house back before we adventured overseas.  Knitpicks discontinued their Diadem yarn and I couldn’t resist grabbing up some of it.  I don’t even know what I’m going to do with it yet…but it’s finally going to be a project for me, so I bought it in my favorite color to wear: black!

I’ve been petting this yarn all week.  It’s ridiculously soft.  I can’t wait to pin down exactly what project to make with it.  I’m strongly leaning towards some sort of fancy shrug or shawl.  I don’t like showing my arms and almost all of my nice clothing is sleeveless, so I often wear it with some sort of sweater.  This is fancy and shiny enough it could be dressy….and it’s soooo soft!

I’m still in a bit of a rut crafting-wise.  My motivation just isn’t there, though I have been slowly adding a few rows to the RPG scarf that never ends.  I did set aside some fabrics for the alpaca quilt I’ve been wanting to make.  Maybe it will be the kick in the pants I need.  I love alpacas.  :3

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The teal background fabric is sparkly.  I think I’m being dazzled by glittery things right now.

ProgPower + Plague

I always seem to catch some sort of plague when I go out in public.  I don’t know if my immune system is just especially protected and low or if people are just -that- gross.  Probably a mixture of both.

*hack, cough, snort, sneeze*

We had to cut our trip south short by a week due to Hurricane Irma.  Logan was supposed to do some recruiting at his alma mater but it was right in the path of the storm, so it the job fair was postponed until next week…so the company will be flying him back again on Monday.  It’s almost ridiculous, right?

ProgPower was, as always, an amazing festival.

Logan built up the courage to go to the floor and mosh for three of the bands: Twilight Force, Amaranthe, and Seven Spires.  He’s in the photo below somewhere.

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One thing I love about ProgPower is you get to see a full show from each of the bands, they don’t skimp on time, so you actually get to enjoy the bands you came to see.  Conversely, if you don’t like a band, you have time to go out and get something to eat and still have plenty of time to get back before the next band.  We saw every band this year, though.  I’ll link up a few of the better ones in the rundown below.

Wednesday: Power Quest, Serenity, Orphaned Land, and Haken

It was Power Quest’s first ever show in the U.S. and they brought one of their former singers with them…as well as the singer from Theocracy (which I can never figure out why he keeps popping up there other than he’s local to Georgia so is always at the show anyway?).

Serenity’s singer stage dove and crowd surfed after their set, which is always fun.

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Orphaned Land is one of the bands that I was most excited to see — they’re Israeli and most of their songs deliver a strong message of peace for the different religions in their homeland.

Haken is a progressive band from London.  I’ll admit, I’m not always a fan of Prog bands — I find a lot of them needlessly tedious or like highschoolers in a garage band that just don’t quite know edit their music or end songs…and Haken falls into that category.

Thursday:  Next to None, Twilight Force, Vandan Plas, Between the Buried and Me, and Metal Church

Next to None is quite literally a band of teenagers.  They’re also a Prog band but they have a lot of potential, most likely because the drummer is Max Portnoy, son of Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy.  They varied their music enough that even a 20 minute song remained interesting.

Twilight Force was Logan’s big draw this year.  They basically LARP on stage, so how could he not be super happy.  He’s also pretty convinced we need to move to Sweden.

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Vandan Plas is a German prog band.  We stayed for about half of their show before we got hungry and ducked out to grab dinner.  They weren’t bad, we were just really hungry after a day of being at the festival.

Between the Buried and Me is another prog band, but from North Carolina.  We came back from food about halfway through their set.  We were pleasantly surprised by them — neither of us had listened to them before.  When we came back, their mosh pit was literally square dancing.  It was highly entertaining.

Metal Church is an oldie but a goodie….as in, they’re way older than us but Logan still rocked out and enjoyed them.  He’s pretty picky about his metal but he’s starting to appreciate older sounds due to Primal Fear and Battle Beast.

Friday: Daydream XI, Distorted Harmony, Lords of Black, Angel Dust, Myrath, Mike Portnoy

Daydream XI is a Brazilian band.  They surprised me….for an unexpected reason.  At ProgPower you tend to make a bit of a family over the years.  You sit in the same place year after year and kind of adopt the people around you.  You never know a single thing about them, but you trust them more than the other weirdos around you.  They won’t steal your shit and they’re somebody to casually chat to if you’re desperately bored.  On Friday, we were missing six people — our tall guy, who doesn’t like prog music, so we weren’t surprised he wasn’t there…but also the five smelly guys.  That was a bit unusual because they never missed anything.  ProgPower is sold in Wednesday/Thursday and Friday/Saturday blocks though, so we thought maybe they just didn’t come for the second part of the Festival and didn’t think much more of it….until those five smelly guys showed up on stage as Daydream XI.  Who on earth would’ve thought it?  Even more surprising, for all their man-buns and body odor, they were actually tolerable.  XD

Distorted Harmony was another prog band from Israel.  Not bad, but not really my cup of tea either.

Lords of Black are a Spanish power metal band.  Definitely a good time.

Angel Dust is an older heavy metal band from Germany.  They were great, of course, but made the mistake of pulling a crazy female fan on stage.  I have no clue what on earth she said to the singer (as she was groping him) but her trip in the spotlight didn’t last long.

Myrath is the other band I was really excited to see.  They’re Tunisian, so not somewhere you’d expect to find a metal band….and let’s be honest, I’m not traveling to Tunisia any time soon, regardless of how much I love these guys.  They’re my brand of prog metal; something unique and varied.  I’ve always loved a bit of local flare and folk music mixed in with metal though.  Zaher, the singer, did something absolutely magical during his set and crawled out into the middle of the moshpit and somehow convinced the entire crowed to SIT on the incredibly nasty floor for a song.  I almost died laughing — the event coordinator posted a video before the event fussing about how nasty people are and how they spill trash and beer everywhere and how gross it is for the crew to clean up…so then they had to sit in their own mess.  Karma at its finest.

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Mike Portnoy did his Shattered Fortress show.  It’s definitely a spectacle.

Saturday: Seven Spires, Dynazty, Snowy Shaw, Pain, Amaranthe, Katatonia

Seven Spires was a surprise because they weren’t supposed to be on the roster.  One of the band members from Teramaze (Australia) was sick and the band had to cancel, so they filled in last minute…quite literally.  It was a happy surprise for us — Seven Spires is a bit of a local band, based out of Boston, so we’ve seen them as an opening act when we’ve attended shows over at the Palladium in Worcester and have chatted with them before. They just put out their first CD a few months ago, so Logan bought it and had them sign it for him.  They’re still very sweet and young….I think the drummer may still be a teenager.  In a bit of awesomeness, I’d seen the guitarist, Jack, walking around Atlanta on Wednesday morning (the show is attended by LOTS of bands in general), so when Teramaze had to cancel, I told Logan I hoped that Seven Spires would be the replacement…then a few hours later they were announced.

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Dynazty started off the rest of the day’s Swedish invasion.  The singer burst his pants wide open on the first song and gleefully showed it off.  No shame — it’s just a sign of his rock prowess. 😛

Snowy Shaw is a legend.  His show was amazing.  Logan didn’t listen to the playlist I had made him to prepare for the show so he had NO clue what to expect.  He was suuuuper happy.

Pain is actually more of a project than a band.  It’s all recorded by a single guy but when he performs shows, he has a band that tours with him.  The project itself is an awesome mix of metal with almost a techno influence — again, Logan was blown away.  I just spent the hour being completely mesmerized by the bassist, Andre Skaug.  That guy should teach headbanging lessons, I’d sign up in a heartbeat.

Amaranthe was awesome, as to be expected, even with their relatively new lineup.  I was a bit surprised that Jake (former male clean vocalist — Amaranthe has three singers) didn’t make an appearance since he was definitely at the show (and did show up on stage with Snowy Shaw).  Logan had a great time as a gate hugger during their show.

Katatonia is more of a death metal prog sound, so was a good, chill way to end the night.  I personally prefer to end the night with really high energy bands as I tend to get tired after being at a festival all day (doors are at 1:30 and the headliners don’t usually go on until at least 10:30), but it was still a good band to end on.

The lineups for next year were also announced and needless to say, we’re already planning on buying tickets the second they go on sale!

Ross the Boss (Manowar set)

Gloryhammer (Logan’s FAVORITE band, another costuming one and the band responsible for both of our ringtones right now)

Nocturnal Rites

Voyager

Cellar Darling

Kingcrow

Dream Evil

Angra

Triosphere

Eclipse

Soen

VUUR (I was tempted to go to Amsterdam to see them while we were in Scotland, so not missing them while they’re here!  It’s Anneke’s new band, hooray!)

Alestorm (One of my old favorites — they’re pirate metal.  How could I not love them?!)

Tarja (Yes, the old voice of Nightwish)

Manimal

Persefone

Bloodbound

Labyrinth

Redemption (with new vocalist Tom Englund)

James LaBrie (from Dream Theater)