|Yours truly in an authentic Japanese yukata.|
|Praise Jesus, Leo finally won!!!!|
This was a fun month, I made up for all of the time lost in February by having an eventful March! We kicked off March with our first show since January; once again it was back at Sinclair's pub. This ended up being a last minute show; a band dropped out and the promoter asked us if we would fill in. Of course we hopped on it, especially since we were sharing the stage with our friends in Logan's
|At Sinclair's with Logan's Room, Vigil Antics & Cherry Pop|
April...was an extremely eventful month, and one of my favorites this year. I apologize in advance to anyone who doesn't like to read long segments, but this month was so good that I had to include every detail possible.
The first weekend of April, my band played at Grizzly's Sports Den in Bay Shore for the very first time, thanks to Patty Dodge. Not a lot of our friends were able to make it because they were playing shows, or had prior engagements to attend. But one of my close friends surprised me to no end; my friend Alex, who I haven't seen in years, showed up at Grizzly's with his friend Julian and videotaped my band's set. Neither of them are really into punk rock, but fell in love with our music. That is a really beautiful thing to do for a friend...unconditional support. It turns out that we have a lot of mutual friends, so that was a good laugh too.
After the show ended, we ended up at our usual post-show food joint, Massapequa Diner. That emotional high was unfortunately shortlived, because the following weekend, I got sick for the first time in three years. I'm dead serious; the last time I felt so sick that I couldn't even get out of bed was in February of 2013. And no, this was not the throwing up kind of sick; it was an upper respitory infection kind of sick. I was prescribed ammoxicilin and probiotics that were supposed to last me for two weeks. For the very first time since working at Kravet, I called out of work that Monday. That's how my boss knew that I was a mess; I NEVER call out of work an hour before I'm supposed to come in. It sucked, in retrospect, my body could not have picked a more perfect time to shut down on me because it was literally the only weekend where I didn't have something to do. So, I spent that Monday binge watching movies on whatever movie channels had something good. I finally saw the movie The Fault In Our Stars and nearly cried at the end of the movie.
I was pretty much back to normal that Tuesday, but I was drowning in emails since no one covered me while I was gone. I was mess that week, but I was determined to make myself better by the end of the week because I had something amazing to look forward to that Friday: my first solo trip out of New York to support my friends Joe and Tyler in Ashes to Oranges for their CD release show at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, New Jersey.
|My 25th birthday :)|
After recovering from a crazy week, I voted in my first presidential primaries since I wasn't old enough to vote in the primaries in 2008, and in 2012, there were no primaries. I voted for Bernie Sanders and I miss him terribly. But the following weekend, my band played a show at The Hub in Island Park for the first time in over a year. Although it's a bit of a hike for a lot of our friends, it's a great venue with a nice open room and a decent sized stage. Then that Sunday, my parents got me and Eddie tickets to see Jersey Boys on Broadway for a matinee show as my 25th birthday present. Joseph Leo Bwarie, the guy who played Frankie Valli, had his final performance that night, so Mom and Dad made sure we didn't miss it. Jersey Boys became my favorite Broadway show.
And then finally, the highlight of this whole month: my 25th birthday; I missed a handful of friends who couldn't make it due to prior engagements, but I still enjoyed it with the ones who did take the time to see me. What a perfect way to end an amazing month.
May was pretty eventful, and went pretty fast. I kicked off May by venturing into the city to see one of my favorite bands for the first time, Local H, at the Bowery Ballroom. I brought Eddie and Dillon with me, and we met up with our favorite Jersey boys, Joe and Tyler(Ashes To Oranges♥), and Jarred! This was Local H's 20th anniversary of their album As Good As Dead, so not only was Scott Lucas performing with his current drummer, Ryan Harding, but also played a set with the original drummer, Joe Daniels. It was awesome to say that I've seen Local H's original line up as well as their current line up. They literally played all of my favorite songs, like "The One With Kid," "California Songs," "City of Knives," "Freshly Fucked," and the entire As Good As Dead album. It was definitely my favorite concert so far. Unfortnately, since I had work early the next morning, I had to leave before the concert ended so I didn't get a chance to meet Local H. I didn't fret too hard, I knew they'd play a show in New York again soon. That weekend, we once again shared the stage with our friends in Logan's Room, and networked with other local bands that night. The following Monday, however, was a sad day. It was the 4 year anniversary since the death of my friend Casey, so I was pretty emotional that day and night. To this day, I can't thank Matt and Rosalie for consoling me as I cried on their shoulders from missing Casey so much. They're amazing friends, and I got to spend almost every weekend with them. We either ended up at a bowling alley, Applebee's, karaoke, or back at Eddie's house to play Cards Against Humanity. Another weekend, I took Eddie and Brendan to see Captain America: Civil War and I thorougly enjoyed it; first half was pretty boring, but once Ant-Man and Spiderman made an appearance, it got so much better. It's one of my favorite Marvel movies now. Towards the end of the month, my friend Phil came up to visit New York and brought his lovely girlfriend(now fiancée) and introduced them to Rick and Morty. And finally, the highlight of May ended up being the end of the month. We played a show at a Memorial Day festival; also Eddie's birthday. This festival is definitely up there in my top favorite shows of all time; good handful of our friends showed up, and we got to celebrate Eddie's birthday too.
Summer was finally around the corner, and I began my summer schedule at work: every other Friday off, so I was actually able to do more summer activities during the week and getting three day weekends instead of being confined to a desk in a room with no windows when the weather is really nice for 40 hours a week. One highlight was seeing two of my favorite bands, Fawkes and Logan's Room, play a show at Revolution! Another weekend consisted of playing minigolf with Eddie, Brendan, and Dillon, and then finally watching Deadpool once the night came to a close.Mini golf became a common activity this summer; especially when Matt and Rosalie joined us and we ended up back at Eddie's where I made everyone milkshakes and/or root beer floats. We even ventured into NYC to celebrate my friend Sarah's birthday at Fort Tyron Park! However, if there is one thing that stuck with me this month, it was the morning of June 18th, 2016. My friend Patrick Keenan asked me if I wanted to jam with his band consisting himself, my friend Matt and their other guitarrist Eric on a Saturday in June. I accepted the invite, but like I said in my previous blogpost about Heartstone, I was terrified because I didn't know what to expect. However, I faced my fears and discovered that I had some serious chemistry with these guys; I discovered Matt is a fantastic drummer,(I'm only used to seeing him as the guitarrist for Logan's Room) and I clicked with him immediately as a bassist. I met Eric, who is a very talented guitar player and sings very well too. Pat was nervous, but determined to make his dream of being in a band come true. Because of how well my "audition" went, Pat was thoroughly impressed with me. The next day, Pat asked me if I would like to be his permanent bassist, and I originally said no because I was afraid of commiting myself to another band when I already had my hands full with Bending Over Backwards. However, he told me that this was going to be based around OUR availabilities and won't have a strict schedule. He'd never do that to us. So, I changed my mind and became a part of a project outside my comfort zone. I've never been happier. My confidence and self esteem skyrocketed, and I feel that I'm slowly growing into a developed musician. Thank you Pat for asking me to be a part of this amazing project and allowing myself to see my full potential.
We kicked off July by playing a backyard show at our friend Conor's house(He's the lead vocalist of Vigil Antics, by the way) along with other acoustic artists. Unfortunately, we couldn't play in the backyard because it was raining, so we moved the show to his basement, and we had our very first acoustic show with Dillon. I must say, it was one of the most fun and intimate shows we've ever played. Every single person who was watching us was really into us; singing along to our covers, adding chants and making circle pits during every song. I still smile about it. The next day, we returned to Grizzly's in Bay Shore and shared the stage with Gutterlife, Straw Away, Cherry Pop, and other local bands who played both the indoor AND outdoor stage. The next day was Amy's 25th
birthday at the Nautical Mile in Freeport. We couldn't have asked for the most perfect weather. It wasn't humid, and there was no wind either; usually when you're by the water, it's naturally cooler. The next day was 4th of July so I was off from work and spent it outside, stuffing my face with your typical BBQ cuisine. Around that time was when Pokemon Go came out, and virtually anyone with a mobile phone was able to download the app, walk the streets of their neighborhood and catch Pokemon. Since I was playing Pokemon X, I didn't want to download it since I was already in the middle of playing a videogame; I can't multitask like that! Not to mention if I downloaded it, and since everyone on Earth was playing it, all it would have done is freeze and lag due to the high traffic on the app. So, Dana never experienced Pokemon Go. I'm not losing sleep over it, though. I didn't really have interest to begin with anyway. However, I did accompany Rosalie in an epic Pokemon catching quest Port Jefferson on a beautiful summer night and got Ralph's, and then the next day I had "pre-planned hooky" and went to Jones Beach with my longtime friend Kate; the ocean was like a washing machine, but it totally beat going to work. I even discovered a new favorite book that Dillon recommended to me: It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. That weekend, we played a show at Hollis Wood Community Church and met new bands we've never played with before, like Canker Blossom.
|Amy's 25th birthday at the Nautical Mile|
Like April, this was one of my favorite months this year; extremely eventful and memorable, so once again, please forgive me for another long segment. First, I discovered that I don't need to drive to Queens or take a train into NYC to get great quality halal food. There's a halal joint right off Route 107 in Hicksville; I go there for lunch ALL THE TIME. Then later on that week, I spent the afternoon and evening with my relatives in Long Beach since they rent a house out there every summer; I discovered a really great sushi joint literally called "Asian Fusion" and I wish I could go there more often. The following weekend, I ventured into NYC to see my friends Kate, Sarah, David, and my other friend who is also named Kate; we watched Sarah and her mom perform in a short play,NYC with Dillon, and reuniting with our favorite Jersey boys: Joe, Tyler and Jarred. That was an eventful day, let me tell you. Now, I've spent an entire day with Eddie, and I've spent an entire day with Brendan. But I've never spent a full day and evening with Dillon before, so this was truly a first for me.(Eddie and Brendan aren't really into Baroness, hence why I only took Dillon with me, and Eddie had to be up at 4:30am for work the next day.) We took the train from Mineola and got to the city around noon; what we didn't know was how ungodly hot it was going to be that day; wandering the streets of NYC in the blistering heat and pure humidity was exhausting, but it was so worth it because I got to spend an entire day with some of my favorite people in the world, who I don't get to see as often as I'd like due to the distance. Since I was the only one who had excellent navigation skills, I was the designated NYC tour guide as I took the boys to visit smoke shops, comic shops, a vintage videogame store, and ended up at a kickass BBQ joint a few blocks away from Webster Hall called Mighty Quinn's.When we got to Webster Hall, a doom metal band called Pallbearer opened up for Baroness. Oh my God, they were so terrible that I nearly fell asleep standing up; this happened FOUR MONTHS AGO, and I STILL can't get over how terrible they were! But that disappointment was expunged, as Baroness took the stage and put on one of the best performances I've ever seen. A few days later, we played a backyard show in East Meadow and actually got to perform in said backyard since it was a beautiful afternoon/evening. The next day, I needed a short break from Long Island, so I took it upon myself to take a little roadtrip to Brick, New Jersey and got to hang out with Joe, Tyler, Jarred, and my newest friend from New Jersey, Krystin. It was the first time I saw these guys without one or both of our bands playing a show, or attending a concert in NYC; it was very much needed and I intend to go back there in the near future; especially since I returned home with two beautiful glass pendants(One shattered, unfortunately) that Joe made me. The next day I had a beach day with Eddie; we spent the entire time in the water because it was just too perfect to leave. We ended that weekend by ressurecting "bro night" with Evan by having Eddie's homemade halal food, and playing Mortal Kombat like the old days. That week off was polished off by watching Summerslam with Eddie, Brendan, Dillon, Matt, Steve, and Amy; that was an eventful WWE pay-per-view. We spent the final weekend of August by playing a show at Mr. Beery's in Bethpage where we met Mia, Dillon's soon-to-be girlfriend, and going to a carnival down the block from Eddie's house the following night. The ultimate highlight? I discovered the TV show My Name Is Earl. I think that just about covers the month of August. On to the next...
and then grabbed lunch/dinner at an English sandwich joint called "Pret A Manger." It was a bit pricy, but I enjoyed the company of friends I don't get to see as often as I'd like. That night, I took Eddie, Brendan, and Dillon to see Suicide Squad. It was a good movie, but I felt there was just a little too much exposition and not enough Joker, haha, but it was still a lot of fun. I have a confession: it took me SEVEN YEARS to admit this, but I truly do enjoy Lady Gaga. Thank you Brendan for making that happen, haha. Thanks to newly discovered music, rediscovered To Kill a Mockingbird, I got through an exhausting and stressful week at work. However, I had something amazing to look forward to: a full week off from work in the summer; something I thought I'd never have. I kicked off that week off by playing a show at Grizzly's in Bay Shore with Logan's Room, and a select few other bands who played that outdoor stage. It was a pig roast, so not only did we get to play music, we were well fed! The only crazy thing that happened was that in the middle of our set, my guitar strap broke off completely. But did that stop me from performing the song? NOPE. I took that microphone and continued the song as the sound guy and maybe a few others were taking care of my bass. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can stop me from performing with my band. I finish the song no matter what happens to me. Despite that little hiccup, I had something amazing to look forward to the following day: I was going to see Baroness at Webster Hall in
|Playing at Grizzly's on the outdoor stage :)|
|Sarah sent me a Beatles postcard from Liverpool!|
Something amazing happened towards the end of the month, though. When I was driving to practice with Heartstone, my car's exhaust pipe decided it didn't want to live anymore, so it was hanging on by a thread and dragging across the cement as I drove. So, I stopped on the side of the road and saw what happened. All of a sudden, a guy and his sister come to my aid and just so happened to have tape and wires to keep the exhaust pipe from dragging on the ground. I couldn't believe how kindhearted he was to me; and when I tried to give him some money as a token of my appreciation, he refused it and said "Just paying it forward." What a perfect example of restoring someone's faith in humanity. Karma, my friends.
Oh, October. Where do I begin with how much of a perfect month this was for me? The beginning, perhaps? First and foremost, I learned how to play the bassline to the Beatles song "All My Loving." I've been trying to learn that song for years, and I finally took the time to play along with it, as you can see here. It's not perfect, but I'm really proud of this one. I still have no idea how Paul McCartney was able to play this bass riff AND SING LEAD VOCALS at the EXACT SAME TIME.
The next day, we played at a venue called The Space in Westbury. I met and became friends with a band called Maybe Later and truly enjoyed their sound; they've got great potential and a lot of talent. I was also super thrilled that my friend from high school, Kelly, came out to support us that night. And then, the following Friday became the most memorable moment of my entire 25 years of existing on this planet.
So, as previously stated above regarding Heartstine's debut on Friday, October 14th, the line up also consisted of my band, Vigil Antics, Ashes To Oranges, and Logan's Room. Heartstone's first performance went really well; most first performances tank, but we pulled it off well. We ended our set with Rob Zombie's "Living Dead Girl" which came out flawlessly, but when we had it videotaped, the battery died so unless you were there that night, you didn't see it. Then Vigil Antics followed, and they were solid! Then, my band was up next and I couldn't believe how many people enjoyed our set. Some people were singing along, wanting to dance, joined in with gang vocals, it's still my favorite performance. Ashes to Oranges was next, and since I'm a huge fan, I was pumped and was singing/shouting the lyrics from the audience; heading banging included. I was so into it, they even gave me a shoutout for being the most supportive fan they had. I was more excited to see these guys play a show because the last time I saw them live, it was in April. I waited six months for that to happen again. After they played their single "Mirrors" and then "Mother Goose," the most magical moment of my life happened around 11:30 that night:
Tyler: Hey Dana, do you know the words to all of our songs?
Me: *bashful* Yeah, pretty much...I've listened to your album at least a dozen times...
Tyler: Do you know them well enough to sing the next song with us?
*crowd EXPLODES and cheers as Joe and Tyler motion me to go up on stage with them*
I walk onto that stage, and I'm not exaggerating here; the ENTIRE BAR was cheering and CHANTING MY NAME as if I was the most special human being on Earth. Never in my life has an entire room of people been so happy to see me; I was covering my face trying not to cry happy tears while saying "oh my God" at least twenty times while this was all going on; it was like a dream. I'm 25 years old and this was by far the most overwhelming experience of my life, and I sang that song with them; my friend Meg videotaped that performance here:
I felt so alive; and cried the happiest tears afterwards. Guys, call me pathetic, but it's been two months since that happened, and I still think about that moment every single day. No one comprehends how special that was for me. Later on, it was brought to my attention that "Euthanasia" was not supposed to be on the set list; they made that change just because they wanted to let me know how special I was to everyone. I still get emotional over it. Thank you Pat, Joe, and Tyler for giving me that special moment. I love you guys so much.
The night ended with Logan's Room, as they took the stage with a brand new look and new sound with new songs. Literally, the debut of new Logan's Room.
The next day, we played our third and final show of that week at The Hub in Island Park; not as big of a turnout at the night before, but The Hub is still one of my favorite places to play. I wasn't even that disappointed from the lack of a turnout because I was still glowing from that surprise the night before. Then, on October 18th, I celebrated my EIGHT YEAR anniversary with Eddie! That's right; EIGHT YEARS TOGETHER. We went to our favorite place to get sushi, then went to Witches Brew for dessert; a perfect date for our anniversary, and many many many more anniversaries to come.♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
The following weekend, I ventured into NYC to see my friend Kate and she introduced me to SUSHI BURRITOS at a place called Pokeworks, located on the corner of 6th avenue and 37th street...later on that night, we saw the movie The Girl on the Train. It movie was literally the film adaptaion of the book in almost every single way, with the major exception of the setting: the book took place in England, the film took place in New York. And finally, Halloweekend. Since Halloween landed on a Monday this year, I threw my first Halloween party for the first time in about 12 years the Saturday before Halloween. I was especially happy that my friend Brian came out that night since it was the first time seeing him a very long time. Man, was October perfect; I wish I could relive that month over and over and over again. I literally saw all of my favorite people that month. I love you all so much.
November was a lot more quiet than October, especially due to the fact that we didn't play three shows in the same week. Since the holidays were coming up, shows were getting scarce as winter was slowly approaching us.
One night during the week, I was looking to add new music to my iPod, and I re-discovered a band I haven't listened to since I was maybe 16 or 17 yers old: NoFX. The only CD I had was their greatest hits CD, so I downloaded all of my favorites from that album, along with new songs I've never heard before. I believe the reason why I stopped listening to NoFX was because I kept hearing that the lead vocalist, Fat Mike, was disrespectful to his fans. However, I saw the punk rock documentary The Other F Word and saw that he is a loving father to his daughter; nothing but respect for that.
A couple of days later, I got a Snapchat notification from my friend Alex; I was assuming itg was something silly, funny, or just a simple hello. I opened up the message, and it's a picture of himself wearing our band t-shirt. I was so overcome with emotions that I silently let tears fall from my eyes because I had no idea people actually rock our merchendise. So many times I've wondered if people actually wore our t-shirts and our CD's are just collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. Alex is one of my closest friends, and I'm thankful to have him in my life.
The number one highlight of this month was an amazing one for sure. Remember how I saw Local H in May? Well, they returned to New York City again; except this time it was at the
|Me and Scott Lucas of Local H♥|
About a week or two later, we played a matinee show at Amityville Music Hall and shared the stage with out friends Maybe Later, Ashes In The Sky, and Urbanoid(half of Fawkes). It was quite an eclectic night; not to mention we were interviewed and then had our set videotaped. Our set went well, but the person who was running the show tried to make us cough up 50 dollars(pay to play douchebag) because we apparently didn't sell enough tickets. If you haven't heard, we strictly do not condone "pay-to-play" or anything remotely related to that asinine policy. Pay-to-play should be illegal. It's like hiring a plumber, but you charge him for fixing your toilet. I'm serious, if you charge local bands to play a show at a venue, you ought to be thrown in jail. Thanksgiving was around the corner, and I was truly thankful for people who had my back when people gave me trouble. They know what I'm talking about and who I'm refering to. Thank you again, guys.
And so we're at the final month of 2016; the last month of an amazing year. I must say, movies made a huge portion on my highlights this month. I either watched movies I've never seen before, or discussed movies that I have seen. First, I kicked off December by venturing into the city again to celebrate my friend Kate's birthday. The past few times I've gone to the city for her birthday, we either ended up at a pub or a sushi joint. This time, I went to a cafe that I never thought I'd ever go to: a vegan cafe. I've always wanted to try vegan food; aside from Witches Brew, I've never been to any restaurants or cafes that were vegan. Afterwards, we went to the movies and saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It truly was one of the best movies I've seen this year; even if you're not familiar with the Harry Potter universe, you can still enjoy it because you don't have to know the events that took place in the books and movies.
I saw another movie the following weekend, but it wasn't in theaters, and it's been out for nearly 30 years: The Princess Bride. Yeah, go ahead and laugh. Make fun of me for being late to the party; but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd watch it again if I ever catch it on TV or something.
On a random weeknight when no one was around to hang out with, I snuggled up in my bed and watched the movie Stranger Than Fiction as per recommendation of my friend Pat. I usually see Will Farrell in comedies, but I've never seen him in a dramatic role before. Most of the time, when an actor/actress is typecasted to comedic roles, they tend to not perform as well. Will Farrell is a major exception to that; he pulled it off phenominally. Since Pat recommended one of his favorite movies to me, I had to return the favor and recommend my favorite movie to him: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He loved it as much as I do; if not more.
|I wasn't lying about the ugly sweater.|
One of my favorite things about this month? Not only does Christmas land towards the end of the month, but my job shuts down between Christmas and New Year's so I get a week off from work. Since I wasn't on the other side of the planet this year, I was able to do what I wanted duirng my time off. Once the Christmas festivities ended that weekend, I began that Monday by meeting up with Pat and Barnes and Noble; an afternoon with one of my best friends at one of my favorite stores with a cute little Starbucks cafe. The next day, I went on a double date with Eddie, Alex, and his girlfriend from California, Jumanja. We grabbed dinner at Dave & Busters and then headed to the arcade. The next day, I picked up Brendan and we ventured around Long Island; first we went to our usual stomping ground, the Smithhaven Mall. Then we ended up at Roosevelt Field Mall so I could grab a quick dinner and spend a little bit of my Christmas money. Out of all the days this week, Thursday was definitely my favorite; well, the afternoon and evening. That morning was my friend's dad's funeral; it was an emotional morning, but it felt good being there to show my unconditional love and support. After the funeral, I took a roadtrip back down to New Jersey and hung out with Joe, Tyler, his girlfriend Mia, and their friend Krystin! I experienced Chic-Fil-A, and it's my new favorite place to get a chicken sandwich. Joe and Tyler introduced me to my new favorite standup comedian, Anthony Jeselnik. He had me laughing so hard that my sides hurt. New Jersey also has a convenience store called "Wawa." In otherwords, it's 7-11 with a deli and it's a lot cleaner than 7-11. And towards the end of the night, they taught me how to play Rummy. The only card games I know how to play are Bullshit and Black Jack; never played Rummy before. I did surprisingly well for a first try. Funny, I've been to New Jersey more this year than my entire life, and I'm telling you right now; it will feel 100% wrong if I go to New Jersey and not see my boys in Ashes to Oranges and any of their friends as well.
Yesterday, I ventured into NYC for the last time in 2016 to see Kate, the big ass Christmas tree in Rockefeller Centre, and an off-Broadway show, Puffs. In essenence, this play took place in the perspective of Hufflepuffs instead of Harry Potter's point of view. It was HILARIOUS and I'm so glad Kate suggested that we see it.
And finally, today is New Year's Eve; the final day of 2016. I spent my morning and the first half of this morning rehearsing with Heartstone; I was so happy to see everyone again for the first time since our debut performance in October. We would have had practices earlier this month, but due to scheduling conflicts or health issues, we had to keep rescheduling. But today, we got two new songs in the works; perhaps at our next rehearsal, Pat will add lyrics. I cannot wait for where I will go in 2017 with Heartstone. 2017 will be our year.
Everyone, thank you so much for reading my year-in-rview. I never loved a year as much as this one in my whole life. I discovered who my true friends were, made several new friends, experienced so many things I never thought I'd experience, and I truly never felt so happy to be alive today. I love each and every one of you for being in my life, and I cannot wait to see how 2017 treats us. God bless you, Happy New Year, and see you in 2017.