The Soundtrack of My Life – Track 7

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TRACK 7: EXPLORERS BY MUSE

Lyrics

Written by Matthew Bellamy

Fun fact about me, I absolutely love space. Galaxies, planets, the endlessness of it all, I adore it all. When I saw the trailer for Interstellar, I knew I needed to see that movie. The shot of them flying past planets and black holes blew me away. I knew it wasn’t real, but it gave me chills. I think it’s one of the best trailers of all time. So, why am I talking about Interstellar? I’m simply emphasizing my love for space. It transcends books, movies, television and even music.

Muse is one of my favorite modern bands. Every song of theirs I have on my massive Spotify playlist is completely different and yet unmistakably Muse. Today I’m going to talk about one of these songs, but trust me when I say there will be more in the future.

I’ve included a variety of different songs so far on this soundtrack, but I feel this song speaks to me more than any of the others. This is where my love of space comes in as the song presents a world in which there isn’t any more room and that there has to be another world out there. The song is soft and beautiful which is unlike most of Muse’s music. It has an almost lullaby sound to it and I definitely think Matt Bellamy’s voice emphasizes that.

Personally, a great song is a combination of excellent music and meaningful lyrics. I’d even add in the emotion in the singer’s voice. This song is a combination of all three plus it’s about space and what might be beyond our world. Exploring other places where maybe they can belong. Honestly, that’s something I can relate to. 

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Chantel’s Journal Week 4 (07/22/18 – 07/28/18)

Wednesday, July 25th

11 pages: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Friday, July 27th

26 pages: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

7 pages: The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir

So, as you can see, I read a little this week. Basically, I’ve been bored of reading the same three books for the last three months and that’s why I decided to start The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth. I’m not far into it, but so far I’m enjoying it. I’m pretty close to DNFing The Book of Essie because it’s not capturing my attention at all, but I’m trying to give it a chance. 

Anyway, that’s all I have for this week. I would like to link to my post about The BW Book Initiative which is an international lending library I’m hoping to start and really that’s the most important thing that happened to me this week. 

Total read this week: 44 pages

The BW Book Inititave

Monday morning I ran across this thread by author Adam Silvera.

As most of us know, he has written very popular queer fiction such as More Happy Than Not and They Both Die At the End. In this thread, Silvera was talking specifically about book piracy and how wrong it is. How that takes money out of his pocket. In response, I wrote my own thread.

As the day went on, I saw Silvera getting more and more frustrated with people defending pirating for similar reasons. He acknowledges that some people don’t have access to and/or money for books and they shouldn’t steal them. I agree.

But. This is an international problem that there isn’t much being done about.

I want to do something.

For months now, I’ve had the idea of doing an international lending library. I want to be able to send books to those who can’t afford them and don’t have access to them for free. Now, this is clearly going to be a big project and it’s quite overwhelming honestly, but I personally know how powerful and important books can be.

By no means, is this an attack on Adam or anyone who supports or disagrees with him. I was simply tired of seeing an argument and no solution.

I’m not trying to end book pirating or save the world. I just think books should be accessible for everyone. No matter how much you make, where you live, or any other reason outside your control.

This is why we want to do something to help with whatever small reach we have. To gauge responses, we made a survey to find out some details about your life. It’s completely anonymous! We just want to know if there’s a want or need for this. If there is an interest, we would set up some sort of system to take requests or donations.

But first, please take our survey down below!! We really want to find out what you all think about it. Thank you!

Chantel’s Journal Week Three (07/15/18 – 07/21/18)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Does anyone else feel like this year is going by way too fast? It’s already mid-July! Anyway, today I started playing a new game. One that I’d never heard of before, but that’s just because I don’t keep up with newer games. Now that I have a PS4 Pro, however, I want to know what games are new and popular. So, I started playing Horizon Zero Dawn. Let me tell you, this game is amazing.

You know how like 5 years ago Skyrim was the coolest thing ever with the open world and dragons? Yeah, Horizon Zero Dawn blows Skyrim out of the water. This game is so complex and fun and difficult. I love every minute of it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I actually read today. When I got home from work today, I had a burst of energy. Most of that energy went into listening to music but I ended up writing the next installment of The Soundtrack of My Life which was fantastic. I’m feeling really great about it and I can’t wait for everyone to read it on Saturday.

I don’t have much more to say tonight. I might read a bit more which will be recorded below, but other than that, it’s been a good day. I hope tomorrow is as good.

16 pages: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

  • Harry fought a dragon, made up with Ron, and got sassy with Rita Skeeter. I definitely enjoyed the bit I read today at lunchtime. Now I don’t have to bitch about Ron and Harry fighting anymore. When Hermione burst out into tears and called them stupid, I related so much.

27 pages: The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir

  • I may not be far into this book, but I’m not particularly interested in the plot.

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

6%: Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

  • Every time I start reading this book, I get so engrossed in it. I wish I picked it up more because it’s really good and I’d like to get a review done eventually. I’ve said it before, but I feel like this book was released without fanfare despite the fact that it has a black, gay, protagonist whose love interest is Hispanic. Not to mention, it’s very emotionally charged and tense. I haven’t finished it yet, but I would definitely recommend it. It’s important and relevant.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

5%: Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

  • Don’t have much more to add except Moss and Javier are so freaking adorable. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

I may not have gotten a lot of reading done this week, but the fact that I read at all is an achievement for me. Some people spend their weekends curled up with a nice book and then there’s me that spent all day playing The Last of Us. We all have our things. I think for me, the most important thing to realize is to not force myself to read. That never works. I have started carrying my Kindle everywhere again because if I have it with me, then I’m more likely to read. I also got an XL Book Beau so there are no excuses for me not having something to read (other than my phone) when I go out.

I can’t believe there are only ten days left in July; it’s just flown by so fast. The year will be over before we know it. Sometimes, I just wish time wouldn’t go by so quickly.

Total pages read this week: 43 + 11% of Anger Is a Gift (48% total)

  • For me, any reading in a week is a win. Especially considering that I spent my weekend playing video games. 

The Soundtrack of My Life – Track 6

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This week I’m back and I’m adding one of my favorite all time songs by my all time favorite band. This won’t be last time I feature them, but I chose this song first because it is without a doubt my favorite song of theirs. This band means so much to me and every time I come back to them, there’s a familiarity while at the same time it’s like I’m experiencing their music for the first time. I just love them and I believe that they are the best band of all time. 

Track 6: While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles

Lyrics

Written by George Harrison

When it came to The Beatles, the stars were John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Nearly every song the Beatles released was written by the songwriting pair Lennon-McCartney. However, George Harrison is absolutely underrated as a singer and writer. Especially when the shadows of John and Paul were so large. They were larger than life personalities and George was “The Quiet One”. 

For those who are unfamiliar with The Beatles, George Harrison often played lead guitar for the band and sung backup. He had two standout songs during his time with The Beatles. Something, which is off of Abbey Road, one of the best love songs ever. And While My Guitar Gently Weeps which is off of The White Album. It stands out especially during a time where the band was already starting to fracture. This song certainly reflects how Harrison felt about that, but I think the lyrics say a lot more than just how he felt about the band. 

When I talk about this song, it’s not just the lyrics or the music. It’s everything. The lyrics fit the song perfectly as they are almost haunting. The Beatles were never shy about writing lyrics that reflected the world they lived in, from Revolution to Blackbird, they wrote about war and racism that was prevalent then and is still prevalent now. While My Guitar Gently Weeps isn’t specifically about a certain event, but it’s a look through at the world through George Harrison’s eyes and how the world could be so much better. In my opinion that will continue to be relevant until there is real change. 

My favorite part of this song is the guitar playing which was performed by Eric Clapton.  I don’t know anything about guitar mechanics, but they did a very good job to make it sound like the guitar is truly weeping. There are two guitar solos in this song and the first blows me away. This song is worth a listen to just to hear the guitar, and honestly, if there was a version without lyrics then I would still listen to it. 

George Harrison died in 2001 from lung cancer and I wish he could’ve known that his music would transcend time. That 50 years later, While My Guitar Gently Weeps would still be as effective as it was then and would go down in history as one of the best songs ever. In my opinion, he truly created a masterpiece that rivals anything John and Paul wrote during the entirety of The Beatles’ career. 

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Chantel’s Journal Week Two (07/08/18 – 07/14/18)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

So, you know how this is supposed to be a reading journal? Well, it’s Thursday and I haven’t read anything since Saturday. I’m not surprised at all. I went to my mom’s house which ended with me buying a PS4 Pro, then on Sunday, I went to the beach with a coworker and her friends and family. It was a lot of fun and I got sunburnt.

The days this week have been going by like molasses to me. The heat wave of the summer has finally hit and I’m just exhausted. In between keeping caught up with Big Brother, playing with my PS4, and trying to get some sleep, I haven’t carved any time out for reading. At all. If I’m being honest, this is more like a normal week. The days go by slow and the week is over before I know it.

Even now as I’m writing this, I’m playing The Last of Us Remastered. My attention span is incredibly short, which is why reading is difficult for me. I wish it wasn’t that way. I wish I could read as much as Caidyn, but it’s not the way my mind works.

For the record, I did DNF Becoming a Visible Man by Jamison Green. I only DNF a book when the thought of reading it just sounds like a chore. Unfortunately, that was the case here, but Caidyn and I should have a pretty interesting review coming up soon because he has a completely different experience as a transman than I do as a ciswoman.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

So, it’s the end of my week and I still haven’t read at all, but I’d like to talk about something else. Call of Duty. Now, considering this is supposed to be a reading journal (oops), one might find this subject odd. Honestly, I’m playing Call of Duty for the first time on my own and what’s the point of having a journal when I don’t write about what I’m doing. Let me clear though, I suck at this game. I always die from grenades, it takes me multiple times to figure out what my mission is because I don’t look at the mission objectives and my aim is fucking terrible. I am so bad at this game that I wouldn’t dream of doing any online multiplayer.

So why do I keep playing it? Well, it’s a stress reliever. I hate to say it, but shooting at nameless, faceless enemies is relaxing. I am not a violent person. I have only shot guns a few times in my life and frankly, it provided a nice relief as well. CoD isn’t the same as that is at all, but I think I understand the appeal of the franchise. CoD is not the type of game I’d normally play, but I can appreciate the relief it provides after a long week or day at work. That being said, it gets very old and repetitive really quickly. 

Lately, I’ve been gravitating more toward video games for relief instead of books. Sometimes video games don’t require as much concentration. I can zone out while playing CoD or Crash Bandicoot. Or while watching tv. I think that’s why I haven’t been reading a lot lately because I just need to zone out after work. Reading is one of those things that require my full attention. Attention I don’t always have the energy to give.

Chantel’s Reading Journal Week One (07/01/18 – 07/07/18)

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

There is a very simple reason for deciding to journal about reading. I’m hoping the journal will keep me in check with reading, but considering how I always fail at journaling…we’ll see. Since January of this year, I’ve really struggled with reading. I read nine books that month and it’s been a struggle to get through one in the last five months. I just want to share this with you, our readers, just so that you can understand and maybe even relate to what I’m going through.

This hasn’t been just a slump but a reading ditch I can’t seem to crawl out of.

Not only that but I’ve wanted to increase my presence on this blog for some time now. Caidyn is often very excited about how our audience is increasing, but his posts are the majority of what comes out of the blog. That’s not his fault. It’s mine and only mine. If I can’t provide you guys with witty reviews, then I want you guys to know what’s going on with me. Sometimes it’s reading, but most of the time it’s not. Trust me, I want it to be.

There are many projects I want to do on the blog, some I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. Almost a year. I’m hoping that will come to fruition soon as I’m excited for you all to see it! In the meantime, you’ll hear from me with my series The Soundtrack of My Life and if anyone is interested in doing a graphic for it, I would be happy to talk with someone. I’m not a graphic designer nor do I draw, but I’ve wanted something specific and original for The Soundtrack of My Life.

41 pages: Becoming a Visible Man by Jamison Green

  • Holy shit you guys, I actually made progress in this book. I can’t believe it!

33 pages: The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir

  • Definitely excited to continue reading this book, but not sure how I feel about the different points of view.

I can’t believe I read today and I’m mildly impressed. However, this is just the start and throughout the week we’ll see how things go.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Today was long. I worked from 12:30pm until 8:00pm so I knew when I got home I wouldn’t have a lot of energy to read. I had spent most of my morning reading Becoming a Visible Man. I would like to finish it and be able to move on to this month’s BW Book Club pick which is Sing, Unburied, Sing. Honestly, if I can finish Becoming a Visible Man, The Book of Essie, and Sing, Unburied, Sing this month I’ll feel accomplished. Oh yeah, I need to read Goblet of Fire too.

35 pages: Becoming a Visible Man by Jamison Green

  • This book is definitely a textbook on Transgender history as well as Green’s experience in the early 90’s San Francisco. There are definitely things that relate to today, but this book feels incredibly outdated at a time just because things have changed so much in the 12 years since this book was published.

25 pages: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

  • I’m very frustrated with how I’m struggling to read this. I read a bit before I work today, but it wasn’t much. This book is gigantic and right now it feels like a hill I can’t climb. I really love the Harry Potter series and yet I feel very much stuck in a rut. Perhaps it’s this slump, but you would think that I’d be able to read Harry Potter at least. (Might read more before I go to sleep. Spoiler: I did)

13 pages: The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir

  • I’m really not sure why Liberty is a POV character, but I’m hoping we’ll find out as the story continues to unfold.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Today is hard. I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed by the amount I have to read this month. However, I would be very proud if I could get back to reading. Even if I hate forcing myself too, sometimes I just have to pick up a book instead of turning on the tv. Which is especially hard on a day like today where I am just exhausted. I did pick up Sing, Unburied, Sing from the library so that’s something. I’m honestly excited to continue reading it and The Book of Essie. I do like Becoming a Visible Man but I’m not reaching for it. And of course, Harry Potter is comfort food to me. I think I’m finally at the first task, but still not even 50 percent through the book. I’m lucky if I can get a chapter of each book a day. That seems to be my pace right now.

8 pages: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

  • Got a bit of reading in, but I was falling asleep as I was reading it on my Kindle.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

I got some nice quiet reading time this morning before work. I read a chapter of The Book of Essie and I feel like there is some kind of twist coming. There are a lot of questions so far that aren’t being answered. That’s honestly the reason I’m still reading it. There is something coming, and if not then I would be really disappointed by the buildup and the lack of a payoff. Plus, the plot is very meh. She is planning to marry a boy she doesn’t know because she’s pregnant. To me, that’s a lot of blah. Mainly because it’s a bit boring and Essie is very blasé about the whole thing. Who knows what will happen next.

14 pages: The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir

  • Caidyn says this book has him intrigued but I don’t think I’m feeling it quite yet.

16 pages: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

  • Harry and Ron are annoying the hell out of me with their stupid fucking fight. They are acting like children. Harry threw a fucking badge at him. Frankly, they are making themselves out to look like assholes by not apologizing and being stubborn about this whole fight. I’m getting sick of it.

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

Sometimes, I don’t even realize two days have passed until they are long gone. Time is very weird that way. I haven’t read much (read: at all) the last few days and I’m asking myself why. I think that a large part of it has to do with work. I work full time and I’m on my feet for up to 8 hours a day. That’s exhausting for me to do five days in a row. Then I get mentally exhausted by dealing with my coworkers and customers all week. One asshole customer can really bring me down and there is often more than one.

The end of this week felt like a wave that pulled me under and I’m only now reaching the surface to capture my breath. Unfortunately, that means no Soundtrack of my Life post this week. I will have one coming on the 21st of July, but I couldn’t make it happen this week. For that, I apologize because I try and stay true to my commitments.

Doing this blog is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It requires a lot of my time and sometimes I’m not willing to give up that time, but this blog has allowed me to write, to read, to share my thoughts with an audience and frankly that’s why I keep doing it.

Total pages read this week: 185

  • I definitely read more than I have in a long time but I could’ve definitely read more. Especially because I’m behind in almost all of my reading.

The Soundtrack of My Life – Track 5

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This week I’m adding one of my all time favorite songs to The Soundtrack of My Life. The song has almost no context for my life except that it’s a love song. If you haven’t guessed, this will come up often. Like every week. I’m a romantic at heart.

Whenever I hear this song I can’t help but close my eyes and get into the music and lyrics. This is just one of the best songs of all time. Yes, this is my opinion but I think there are plenty of people who would agree with me.

Track 5: Tiny Dancer by Elton John

Lyrics

Written by Elton John & Bernie Taupin

The most bizarre thing about this song is that Elton John, a queer icon, is singing about a woman. While I don’t think he was publically out when this song is released, it’s important to recognize that he was not writing these songs alone. The duo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin is legendary in music and listening to this song it’s clear why.

The song has an epic feel to it and it builds from Elton John just singing while playing the piano to a song that’s hard not to sing along to once the chorus hits. It’s a wonderfully crafted song with an amazing chorus that’s easy to remember and hard to imitate. In my opinion, that’s what makes a great pop song. It’s easy to sing the lyrics and hard to sing on key.

However, it’s not just the lyrics and John’s singing that gives the song the epic feel. The music feels epic as well. The way John plays the piano is likely why he is so revered as an artist and I only wish I had that much talent. In a way, his piano playing is an extension of his voice. In my experience with songs, instruments often fade into the background and the voice is on full display. However, there are exceptions. Tiny Dancer is one of those exceptions for me. You can tell Elton John is not only singing his heart out, but he is playing the piano with just as much passion. The combination of his voice and the piano is magical in my opinion. This song is only one example of what music is capable of and how much it means to me personally.

I would like to talk about the most recent Tiny Dancer cover by Florence + the Machine. I suspect I will end up talking more about her later on because she is incredible, but I digress.

There are a lot of things I love about the original composition of Tiny Dancer. I’m someone who loves covers and I love them when they are done well.

I feel very confident in saying that Florence + the Machine’s cover of Tiny Dancer is one of the best covers I’ve heard. This is because her voice is perfectly suited to the song and the epic feel that comes with the chorus. She does not change the pronouns in the song (the lyrics are talking about a woman) which makes this song incredibly queer and therefore I love it. By the way, this is just my interpretation and how I feel about the song. Some artists don’t change pronouns in songs they cover out of respect for the artist and that’s okay. I don’t know Florence’s reasoning but there aren’t that many songs out there about ladies singing love songs about other ladies. Let me enjoy this.

So, if like Caidyn you have terrible taste in music and aren’t a huge fan of the original Elton John version, then I highly recommend the Florence + the Machine cover and I will be putting it down below so treat yo earholes!

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The Soundtrack of My Life – Track 4

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I was going to publish this on Saturday but plans change and I get tired after working 40 hours a week. However, it’s your lucky day because it’s my birthday and I get to gush about a song (and video) that I’ve loved for a long time. So sit back and relax as I introduce you to a new song and/or a song that is horribly underrated.

For those of you who might not know, Queen is one of my favorite bands of all time. Probably my second favorite band ever. I feel like everyone should know about Queen, and if you haven’t heard of them. Go listen. Now. “We Will Rock You”, “We Are the Champions”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and “Don’t Stop Me Now”. Go now. Listen.

Now based on my love of Queen, you might think that I’m going to feature a Queen song for my special birthday song. But oh no.

I’m featuring a song by an artist who is a huge Queen fan and even created their stage name from a Queen song.

This song also samples a Queen song and features Queen’s guitarist Brian May.

What on earth could I be talking about? None other than…

Track 4: Yoü and I by Lady Gaga

Lyrics

Written by Stefani Germanotta

“Yoü and I” was released as the fourth since off of the smash album Born This Way, yet I never hear it talked about in the same breath as “Born This Way”, “Bad Romance”, or “Poker Face”. I think that’s a huge disservice to the song. For me, “Yoü and I” was Gaga’s first single that didn’t sound like a dance club song. It was a song I didn’t expect from Lady Gaga who had once sung about taking a ride on a “disco stick”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Lady Gaga. “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance” changed my fucking life. Lady Gaga is amazing but this is the song that made me love her.

This song samples “We Will Rock You” by Queen and I can hear it, but it blends in with the song. The song starts with a slow guitar riff and goes into the piano and then that familiar drum line lifted from “We Will Rock You” comes in and I’m taken in by the song. Then, there’s the guitar solo and it’s one of my all-time favorites.

Not only is the music in this song fantastic, but the lyrics are too. It’s obviously a love song and I feel it. Gaga’s voice is so raw and real unlike in any of her other songs. It feels stripped down while still having an electronic sound to it. I absolutely love it and I think it was a precursor of the shift in her music.

And now we are going to talk about the video for this song because it is something else. It features:

Mermaid Gaga
Mermaid Gaga
Lady Gaga as Dude
Gaga as a dude
Whatever the fuck this is
Whatever the fuck this is…
Gaga making out with herself
Gaga making out with herself
What the fuck
Um…murder…
Mermaid sex
And of course, mermaid sex.

Seriously though, I love this music video and how random it is. I distinctly remember showing everyone I could this video because it was so bizarre. I’m going to leave the full video down below if you want to watch it because I would highly recommend it.

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The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamera

Chantel's review

Caidyn’s Review

the unbinding of mary reade

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This has no influence on my rating. 

DNFed @ 17%

1/5 – The unthinkable has happened. Caidyn and I both DNFed the same book. However, I think I’m a little more upset because I wanted this to be good. This is the last review I wanted to write. 2018 was supposed to be the year of queer lady pirates! Unfortunately, this was so unbelievably mediocre.

I hate being so harsh because I hate writing negative reviews. I do. As a writer, if someone didn’t like my book it would crush me. Because I hate rejection. I was rooting for this book. When I saw it was Read Now on Netgalley and that I would actually have a chance to read it, I was genuinely excited. This was one of my most anticipated books of 2018 and when the date was pushed back to June instead of March, I was bummed.

However, I’ve never been more disappointed in a book in a long time. Maybe ever, I don’t know. It could’ve been incredible. It could’ve been so good and it wasn’t. You guys, I didn’t even make it to the queer romance! That has only happened on other time with A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. Another book that Caidyn and I both DNFed too.

I guess the ultimate lesson here is that queer lady pirates alone won’t make me like a book. I just know that there are too many books to read and not enough time for me to read something I just can’t get into or enjoy.