What I’m taking about with my teens: badly behaved people, teenage boys, music, dogs, and other odds and ends… and Vampires

I live in a world populated a lot of teenagers, including my own. As those of you who frequent my blog know is that we all talk a lot. My mantra is “talk to your kids.”

This week we’ve been talking a lot, about a lot of different things…

The band All Time Low has come out with a new song called Something’s Gotta Give and will have a new album out soon. Cute. We watched the video on You tube. There were both French fries and Zombies in it. Click on the song title above for the YouTube link.

Why do people complain rather than make their things/society/country/home/school better? Let me know when you find out the answer to that one, and then actually convince people to change things for the better and I’ll give you a million dollars and a box of possums.

Why are there still internet trolls and bullies? Keep your eyes open kids.

Fleas. This was a rude shock to all of us when the horrible little creatures invaded our home last week. OK I’ll admit that back in the old days fleas and other nasty vermin were everywhere, but it still grosses me out. We defleaed the pets, the carpets, the beds, the yard… and everywhere else around our house. Our poor dog has chewed herself raw in just a matter of days. She chews up her backside so fast we can’t catch her until she is a disgusting mess.

Our 11-year-old dog is getting noticeably different (not just the fleas). She isn’t listening. She doesn’t hear things. She doesn’t want to do anything most of the time. She has figured it all out. I’ve noticed that sled type dogs like her like to do their own thing anyway. I’ve had them over the years. I love them, they’re the best, but boy can they be stubborn.

Cats are afraid of popcorn makers. What does that mean? Don’t hold the cat up to the popcorn maker when popcorn is popping. End of story. There is nothing more to say. No, I don’t want to see you do it again.

Teenage girls universally hate it when boys wear basketball shorts all the time. Boys wonder why girls don’t pay any attention to them. Boys call boys who wear nice clothes fags. OK guys, wouldn’t you rather be called a fag and get the attention of ALL the girls then wear basketball shorts 24/7. Save the shorts for PE and when you’re at home. Boys don’t call gay boys who wear nice clothes fags. They leave them alone because most of them are smart and popular.

Someone sent a message to Clara’s friend asking him if he was gay.

By this time next year gay marriage will be legal everywhere in the USA. I know it will. I live in Northern California so being gay or straight shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t. So why do boys still call each other fags? Most kids don’t care. Plus it makes you sound stupid. That said… don’t wear basketball shorts every single day.

I also got to hear all about thongs. Not flip-flops but the butt floss type of panties so many girls wear. Um, girls, don’t do it. Even the firmest most athletic butt looks sort of iffy in leggings. If you show a whale tale the boys at your school will NEVER forget. Boys are like that. They’ve always been like that. Even before there were thongs they were like that. Believe me – boys are like that. Thongs are not a good idea. Plus other girls in the PE locker room don’t want to see it.

And speaking of thongs… turn the Thong Song OFF when your mother is driving or in the car or within 20 miles of any radio or electronic device playing that song. It is what is WRONG and encourages stupidity and bad taste in ALL THINGS. And NO it isn’t funny to fight with your mom over the radio buttons and laugh out loud just to annoy her. End of story. If you want a list of songs that annoy your mother I’d be happy to make you one. Old songs are included along with new ones. My annoyance levels go back for years.

Cheese is good.

The dog will now only eat cat food and Gravy Train. Everyone thinks we’re cruel and bad dog owners – BUT our dog won’t eat expensive dog food. She will only eat treats if you throw them in the air first so she can catch them. My husband discovered if you drop dog food all over the floor,  like you accidentally dropped people food, the dog will sneak into the kitchen and eat it. When she does eat food she takes a mouth full, brings it over to the white carpet and drops it before eating it. No amount of yelling or praise will make her eat over the tile. The same goes for the cats when they want to barf. Thank God we’re getting rid of the white carpet soon. Unfortunately we’re keeping the pets.

We can change our minds. I heard an interview on NPR this morning of the group The Decembrists. I always thought they were, well let’s just say they were not my cup of tea. But this morning I listened to their new music and the interview. It was charming. I might even become a fan. Maybe not a big fan, but hey it was fun. Click here for the story.

Also if you like 3 songs a band plays it does not mean you have to like everything they do. The same goes for books/authors and just about everything else. By the way there are exclusions to that rule and the guys who wrote the Thong Song is included. Those are bands and songs I will NEVER like. The Thong Song is on the same list as that Jimmy Webb and Richard Harris for bringing us that horrible song McArthur Park which likens love to leaving a cake out in the rain. That has got to be one of the worst songs ever written outside of anything by Justin Bieber and Melanie Safka.   Also on the list is Dr. Hook for writing Sylvia’s Mother. I was always glad with the knowledge that Sylvia’s mother kicked Dennis Locorriere’s (the singer) whiney ass half way across the state of Illinois. I hate whiney boy songs. Oh please spare me your over sensitive wounded boy shit and grow the fuck up. And to make matters worse Shel Silverstein was the one who wrote the lyrics to Sylvia’s mother. I kid you not. It had to be a joke.

After forcing themselves uninvited onto my phone U2 is off of my list forever. I don’t care if Bono believes he is more interesting than the Dos Equis man – I’m done with you Bono. Get off my phone.

The one thing about music that I want to burn into the minds of my children is to make what they like their own. They should listen to what they want and refine their own tastes. My play list is so gosh awful but at the same time weirdly wonderful and extremely private. I’d almost rather sleep with a good looking stranger rather than show him my playlist (no of course I’m not going to tell that to my children.)

But what I mean by all of that is that one should not listen to music because a boyfriend or girlfriend likes it, or that someone else says it is good. Listen to it because YOU love it.

My brother Max just looked over my shoulder and said, “Christ Juliette, you’re not publishing that are you?”

I glanced up at my eldest brother who is now sporting a short beard. “I haven’t seen you in a beard since the 80’s. 1980’s and 1880’s. It looks good. Just keep it short. Don’t try to do the urban lumberjack look.”

He gave me sort of a snarl and a smile and went back into the other room with my husband Teddy (who is also Max’s best friend.)

Max was recently up in Northern Nevada taking care of some sort of horrible nasty clutch of God-knows-what sort of creatures. They could be humans or Vampires or I don’t know what, I just know that when Max doesn’t want to talk about his work we don’t talk about it.

He’ll go back to San Francisco tomorrow then in a few weeks go down south to visit my son Garrett who is in college. It will be fun. Garrett and I talk almost everyday and text everyday but I still miss him so. At the same time I’m excited for him, off on his own for the first time. No, I’m not one of those helicopter parents. We talk, I don’t hover or get into his business.

He tells me about people he has met – mostly other students and teachers.

A few days ago he asked me again if there would ever come a time when we could tell the world who and what we really are. I told him no, again. People, human people are for the most part reasonable. In some cultures we can be accepting of anyone. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the normal mode of operation. Anything different is bad. And if you’re extremely different or successful or threatening to others they find you scary. Or worse they use you as a scapegoat for all of their problems. Humans have a great capacity for love, creativity and innovation –  but they also have a great capacity for stupidity and ignorance and hate.

I can hear Teddy and Max laughing. It is always good to hear them laugh. Clara has come down to join them after reading an essay to me she is writing for her English class. I didn’t write this in one swoop – I have people come in and out with questions, comments and to tell me jokes. My cat jumped on the table next to my computer and is grooming himself. I hear a frog croaking (sounds like creaking) under my front porch.

So we’re talking and laughing about everything, all things, most things, and even good things. That is what we do. I hope that is what everyone does. I’d like to think that.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Thoughts on Music, Rock & Roll and Sharing with Your Teens (from the Vampire Mom)

Don’t tell me that you hate your kid’s music. Tell me that you encouraged them to branch out and listen to something new. Tell me that they discovered someone you like too. Tell me that you sang along to a song together. Tell me that you talk about music with your teen.

About Teens and Concerts

I get a lot of traffic on this blog from parents wondering if it is OK to take their kids to a Black Veil Brides concert. Yes, it is. Of course it is LOUD and everyone wears BLACK but the BVB band members give a great show. They also give a safe show. And they have a good message. If your child is under 13 I would not recommend it. Concerts are loud and everyone is packed in. But check out their web site and fan pages  or CLICK here for my article. I’ve taken a lot of teens (mine and friends) to concerts over the years. If you play it safe, check out the band ahead of time, check out the venue, be cool and be safe then it will be fun.

PLEASE DO NOT be an asswipe and drop off your teen young inexperienced teen alone (your under age 17 teen) without a parent or older sibling/friend who can be with them. That is just stupid. Kids get scared and into trouble if you pull shit like that. Remember YOU are the parent (that means you are mature enough to have kids and are responsible for them until they turn 18.)

Go to the concert. Share the music. Have fun even if it kills you. Most smaller venues have places for adults to sit or stand if the kids want to be someplace else. At BIG concerts, like the Fall Out Boy/Panic! at the Disco concert we saw in San Francisco this past fall, you should sit in the stands with your kids (I sat with 8 of them.) It is fun and you can sing along even if you are old.

Black Veil Brides Church of the Wild Ones Tour - Sacramento, CA

Black Veil Brides Church of the Wild Ones Tour – Sacramento, CA

 

 Music Education

There is a lot more to music than what is played on the radio. With YouTube, Pandora and the amazing and old-fashioned but highly successful “Word of Mouth”, kids can learn about thousands of wonderful musicians and musical style options. I am delighted at the variety of music the teens in my life listen to. From Japanese Pop to Alternative Pop Punk to Indie Country to Classical – you’d be surprised what inquisitive teens are listening to and talking about. And yes, we still listen to Weird Al together (the kids and me). Encourage you teens to explore music options.

It is also your job, as an adult, to teach the kids in your life about important music in your life. What did you listen to when you were a teen? What music influences your life? What music made you feel? How did the music of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (or whenever) influence social history and the music the kids are thinking about today?

 

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A few more words…

In my household we have a lot of different kinds of music. My brother Andrew is an opera singer. My husband likes heavy metal and classical and punk. My kids like Punk Pop and Alternative. At the skating rink we hear the old fashioned skate music played on an organ. I like it all. OK, I’ll admit that most people think my own taste in music is weird, but it isn’t (but I’ll keep it to myself for now.)

The key, as with everything, is to talk to your kids, share with them and discuss what you’re all listening to. And for YOU the adults – try listening to something new. You might just like it. I know you will.

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Related Links on Teens, Music and maybe even a little bit of Vampire stuff (it is all entertaining and/or informative.)

 

Have fun,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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All Time Low – All Time High (taking your teen to a rock concert)

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All Time Low Ace of Spades, Sacramento, California April 15, 2014

 

The most wonderful words a parent can hear from their teen is “You’d never embarrass me mom.”

That is what I heard as we walked up and way to the back of the line that ran around the block before the All Time Low concert with Man Overboard and Handguns at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California on Tuesday night (April 15, 2014.)

This isn’t the first time I’ve taken my teens to concerts. I wrote a now popular article last year “What I learned from going to a metal concert with my teen.” Before you take your teen to a rock concert for the first time please read the article. Click here for the link.

And the key as a parent is to relax, do your research ahead of time and have fun – and let your kids have fun.

I enjoy the music my teens have introduced me to. Going to concerts with them has been a blast and a truly great bonding experience. Think about it. Music is something that we should SHARE with out kids. Not to the point where you (the parent) act like a fool going nuts and dressing like an idiot (too sexy, tight, weird for your age), but you know, just share. Have fun. Talk, discuss, sing, enjoy and treasure that time with your teens. It isn’t going to ever be like this again so enjoy it. Savor it.

Over the past three years we’ve been to a lot of concerts, including most recently, seeing Fall Out Boys, Panic! at the Disco and Twenty One Pilots in San Francisco at the America’s Cup Pavillion. Wow, that was amazing.

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View from the Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco concert in San Francisco. A perfect night and a perfect view!

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Fall Out Boy San Francisco

So you can imagine that I was more than happy to go with the teens to see All Time Low.

All Time Low

All Time Low

All Time Low
Alex Gaskarth – rhythm guitar, lead vocals, keyboards
Jack Barakat – lead guitar, backing vocals
Zack Merrick – bass guitar, backing vocals
Rian Dawson – drums, percussion
Additional musicians
Cassadee Pope – additional vocals
and she was absolutely darling. All the girls adore Cassadee. You can see her singing with Alex in the last photo on the post (the blue one.)

The April 15 show was at a sold out venue at The Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California. I can’t start to tell you how much I love going to a concert in a smaller hall (under 1,000 people.) Everywhere you stand or sit is a good view. It is intimate and personal. You can see faces. And you can see your kids. I was on the balcony (in a bar) that overlooks the floor. A great place for parents. You can enjoy the show with a great view and see everything in the club. Everyone up top with me was having a good time. It was a friendly group of parents mixed with other over 21 year olds.

Handguns opened the show. They are a Pop Punk band from Pennsylvania. Loud and young but with a lot of potential to grow and refine. The sound seemed off on their set which was too bad. That said, the audience loved them and they loved back. Fun band with a great future.

Man Overboard is a fun experienced Pop Punk band from New Jersey. They were loud and had the crowd dancing and clapping and jumping. And that is exactly why we go to these concerts! I’m sure with their loyal fan base that they’ll be around for a while.

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All Time Low

All Time Low was as tight and together as any band I’ve ever seen – ever. That includes big well known mega bands from the 60’s – 80’s. Yes, they’re THAT GOOD.

Just a bit of trivia before we start…

All Time Low holds the record for most bras on stage. If you throw them a bra they’ll donate to a breast cancer charity. The top of their truck (and it is a BIG truck) is covered with bras of every color and size.

They’re from Maryland and tour full time. They’ve been together since high school. They’re so happy and fun. Click here for the official All Time Low web site.

I’m not a professional music critic. I’m a parent, an artist, a parenting blogger, writer of Vampire tales and stories – so I’ll make this short and sweet.

Thank you ALL TIME LOW for a great night full of some of the best live music I’ve ever heard. Thanks for staying together all these years. Thanks for making music that my kids love and will love for years to come. And guys, I want to see you still playing 20 years from now, 30 years from now, 40 years from now. You have what it takes to be one of those great bands that just keeps going and creating for a long long time. You’re classic and smart and you inspire a generation of young people. And people your parents age like you too (THAT is SUCCESS.)

At the Sacramento show they performed an impressive long set with the following songs.

Do You Want Me (Dead?)
So Long Soldier
The Irony of Choking on a Lifesaver
Stella
For Baltimore
Break Your Little Heart
Lost in Stereo
Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last for a Night)
Vegas
Guts
Weightless
Remembering Sunday (with Cassadee Pope)
Therapy
Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)
When I Come Around
Somewhere in Neverland
Time-Bomb
Backseat Serenade
Oh, Calamity!
The Reckless and the Brave
A Love Like War
Dear Maria, Count Me In

It was great. If you have the opportunity – go see them. If you don’t know their music check it out on Pandora, Youtube or your favorite online music site.

And if this isn’t your style, find out something that is and enjoy it with your teen. You’ll be glad you did.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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A Special Note to ALL Parents:

When I arrived home I found this message on my phone (on Facebook, sent twice): “I’m  all alone I’m really scared and I can’t find you guys can you please send someone into the bathroom to get me?”

This was from a girl we know who came alone. Not good planning. Especially since her mother was posting on Facebook all night about dancing and drinking with her friends. What the fuck is wrong with people? While she was out with her besties or boos or whatever the crap she calls her friends, her over sensitive daughter, who didn’t plan with friends ahead of time, was alone and scared and reaching out to other adults.

Hey LISTEN UP – If you have kids  – your kids are your first priority. You don’t just drop off a teenage girl alone at a concert – especially if she has never been to a concert like this before. There is no excuse for bad parenting like this. Mom should have been at the concert with her daughter, not out playing at trying to be hip and young or whatever the fuck she thinks she is. Your kids should come FIRST. PERIOD. Excuse the bad language, but this really really pisses me off.

The mom should have made sure her daughter was meeting at a specific time and place with other people. She should have called the other parents ahead of time to make sure all would be safe and sound. That is what parents do. Let me say that again…THAT IS WHAT PARENTS DO.

My kids and their friends never did see this girl but they called her later, after we got home and I saw the message. I don’t know who she got a ride home with or if she had a good time or not. Bad call on so many levels.

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All Time Low

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