MS


Some hard truths.

Where to start? By now, I’m usually just reiterating all of the lineups, prizes and dates, but I haven’t been posting anywhere near as often as past years.  What gives?

Honestly?

This is hard for me to admit to myself, let alone type and share with whomever out there wants to read it.  While I have been working mainly for myself, I’ve essentially stitched together a grand total of 4.5 jobs, just to keep some sort of steady income.  This has meant I’ve had less time for things like Crash Safely, but also things like taking care of my never-simple medical issues.

I’ll tell you when you ask that I’m well, because I’m better than I have been, but the reality is that I am scared.

A contract position I currently have that ends in January may jeopardize my ability to afford health insurance. I’ve already been threatened with termination for income amounts.  None of the other 3.5 positions are able to offer me a stable, full-time, benefits-eligible versions of the positions I currently have within their organziations.

Contact positions I’ve held in the past year that were “temp-to-perm” became terminated once the dreaded discussion regarding my MS treatment goes from “talk” to something supervisors actually have to deal with and schedule around.  It’s always “fine” in theory, but in practice becomes an “issue” that no one seems to want to deal with.  Best just to get rid of the person who could potentially raise everyone’s premiums by simply accepting that full-time offer, right?

This has been my reality for the past year or so. The safety nets that are available are very slim and I often make “too much” to qualify for assistance, or am “not disabled enough.”

The person who can’t sleep and can’t feel a good third of their body on a good day isn’t disabled enough.

The person who exhausted their unemployment makes too much money.

I have no family that can assist me. I have no safety net; when I fall, no one will catch me. I know this because I have been in positions in the past where I had no money and nowhere to live.  Thankfully, I had access to places on my college campus that allowed me a method of survival. (Living in a radio station office is, by the way, not very comfortable.)

 

I put on a brave face every day, especially at that contract job.  It’s not my co-workers’ fault that I’m in this situation, and they don’t need to be burdened with this.

The very real possibility of being told that I make too much money for my current premiums could mean an end to the MS treatment that has kept me stable for years.

“Stable.”

I lost my ID for that contract job yesterday and I don’t know how or where.

Unless you have a unique name, chances are very good that I will forget it if we meet, even if we have many great conversations.  I may also not recognize you if I haven’t seen you in a while and we are acquaintances, not close friends.

I can no longer sleep unassisted.

But I can walk.  I can write.  I can type.  I can use a fork and a knife.  These were all things I couldn’t do in 2009.

When the humidity rises (which happens in the winter and the summer), I am reminded of these things. It’s harder for me to walk and use my hands.  It’s harder for me to think.

I have to play endless phone tag with durable medical equipment suppliers, health insurance companies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies and others. It’s tiring and hard to keep them all straight.  None seem to have after 5pm hours, and I do not have any privacy to take these calls while at that contract position. As a result, I take these calls outside- literally.  I’m standing on the corner on Mass Ave, on hold, hoping to resolve yet another problem, hoping the hold music isn’t eating away at my allotted “anytime” minutes on my cell and that the alcoholic on the corner, toasting me with his nip bottles, doesn’t take my appearance outside as a sign we were meant to be together.  Again.

Back inside, regardless of the outcome of the call(s)- big smile.  Don’t ask, don’t tell.  Nothing to see here.  See you tomorrow.

Repeat.

Maybe I should say I work 5.5 jobs.  It’s full time work, sorting all of this out.

 

 


Meet the bands: Unnatural Axe

Do we really have to introduce, you, oh Boston music lover, to Unnatural Axe? Maybe this will jog your memory:

 

Maybe Cheetah Chrome should introduce you.

 

That’s a lot of black and white, now.

What?

What?

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Richie Parsons. Not pictured: Unnatural Axe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Axe remain an amazing punk band that you are required to state that you’ve seen at least once in your lifetime.   They’re giving you a chance to up your punk cred on 10/23, with Township, Watts and Fireking at the Middle East Upstairs.

 

Think you’ll catch ’em next time?  You’ll be waiting- this is their ONLY area show this year.

 

Bring yer whole guild!


On Roddy, Wrestling, Rock and MS

If you’re friends with musicians, look around your social media feed(s) right now.  Chances are good that you’re being swamped with photos and memorials for Rowdy Roddy Piper, the original pro wrestling Bad Guy. He was instrumental in the Rock and Wrestling thing that exposed many of us to the over-the-top wrestling characters. Piper was a big influence in my life as well, and quite possibly the reason I was able to survive a near daily barrage of threats and violence that today get lumped neatly into the word “bullying.”  I had a jacket airbrushed with his logo and it became armor in a way for me.  People left me alone, rather than try to figure out why I suddenly was sporting jacket that said HOT ROD! in lightning script on my back. Later on, some of my very best friends were made based upon my ownership of a Piper T shirt. Roddy Piper had a lot to do with how things panned out for me…

More influential (especially on my pick of sun protection) was They Live, which featured this classic scene:

News of Piper’s death hit me hard, and last night, The Night Ridah and I started looking up some of the classic Piper clips online. Eventually, we came across the infamous “whack Captain Lou over the head with an award” clip.

What was the award for?

Fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis.

Captain Lou’s brother died of MS and Lou became very involved in fundraising, getting Cyndi Lauper involved as well.  At the time of the whack, it was announced that they had raised over 2 million dollars for MS.  In the 1980’s.

captain lou

So, yeah.  That was a time when there were no MS medications. None.  The best a patient could hope for would be some IV steroids every so often for flairs and a sympathetic physical therapist. (Go ahead and make that steroid and wrestling joke.)

All of this comes on the heel (ha) of the first official lineup announcement for Crash Safely- 10/17 at the Midway Cafe.

The Midway, last night, hosted B.L.O.W.W.- the Boston League of Women Wrestlers.

The Midway, where I used to write music reviews  with fellow Roddy Piper fan Joe Coughlin.

Here are the details for 10/17:

$10, 21+.  Tickets: http://midwaycafe.com/our/details?id=101710  Le Facebook event

Starring:

The Sprained Ankles

Muck and the Mires

The Dents

The Phil Aiken Army

Gymnasium

Maybe someone will be cheeky enough to cover this tune:

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some answers to alter.  Someone changed the questions again.


When will we hear who’s playing?

So, what’s new with Crash Safely? It seems like I haven’t been teasing you as much this year with updates and news, and there are a few reasons for that. So  I’ll  bring everyone up to speed.  Sound good?

no spoilers!

Hint: This guy’s not playing any of the nights.

Q: OK, so who’s playing the shows this year?

A: How does this sound so far? The Luxury, Watts, Gene Dante and the Future Starlets, Muck and the Mires, Fireking, The Phil Aiken Army, The Sprained Ankles, Township, Gymnasium, Tom Baker and the Snakes and White Dynomite.  I’m still working out some other folks and who’s going to be playing where, when.

Q: That was my next question. When is this? 

A: Don’t worry, it won’t happen during Boston Calling, but there will be a date in mid-September (either 9/18 or 9/19), 10/17, 10/23.

Q: What’s the holdup? You’re usually letting me know all of the details by now.

A: Well, it’s a few things.  Some of it has to do with scheduling, but most of it has to do with my work.

Q: So, you weren’t working before?

A: No, I just wasn’t working for myself  before. Time is tight when you’ve got multiple clients and multiple deadlines.  I had a few desk jobs before, and that allowed me to sneak some CS work in between  bouts of unyielding depression  tasks.    I’ve also picked up managing the social media for the Midway Cafe, and just scheduling those posts can take quite some time.  Yes, I’m the person tweeting coffee memes at you every Monday.   #sorrynotsorry

I’ve also had some more medical issues I’ve needed to take care of, and that means scheduling, haggling, and generally taking on a third (fourth?) job as a professional patient, essentially. That’s another reason I’ve been working for myself.

Q: Oh.

A: That’s not a question.

Q: What venues will these shows be at?

A: I’ll confirm our definite dates:  September will depend on a few  particulars.  10/17 is at the Midway Cafe. 10/23 is at the Middle East Upstairs.

Q: Can I dress up for the 10/23 show? That’s like, almost Halloween.

A: Go for it! Actually, if you do, swing by the raffle table and we’ll give you two free raffle tickets.  Maybe more if you manage to rock a perfect replica of Immortan Joe and/or Toecutter or an actual, classic Jem character.

Yikes.

Maybe even more if you manage the combo.

We shall not speak of that horrific live action trailer.

We shall not speak of that horrific live action trailer.

So there’s been a lot of things going on way behind the scenes. I’m hoping to have the lineups announced soon (it’s seriously very close).  After that, it’ll be back to the usual bombardment of show/band/prize/MS information.

I also promise to grab some pop culture references that are younger than 20 years old for the next blog post…

 


Prepping already!

Coming back from the BikeMS awards dinner is always energizing, as is MS awareness week  month. We’re still in awe of how much better we did this past year!   Things are rolling along, and we already have some stuff in the works with places and people, but as always, we need to know what you’d like to see! Because this poll doesn’t allow you to choose multiple things, we’re allowing you to vote as many times as you wish, so if you’re still really bummed you missed out on last year’s Les Paul Future Tribute, here’s your chance to speak up and let us know to ask vendors for more things like that.

 

 

Know of any companies that you think would be a good match for us?  Comment on this and let us know!

Thank you for your help!