It’s quite possible that I’m drawn to memes because that was my nickname in college, but these two caught my eye today.

The first, 50 bands I’ve seen live.

Not sure I’ll get up to 50, but here we go:

1. New Kids on the Block – I believe it was 1989. It was pouring rain and I screamed my little heart out for Joey McIntyre.

2. Many years later (1994) I saw Weird Al Yankovic at the Congress Centre. It was great. At one point he was wearing both the fat suit and the cone bra.

3. U2 – My sister asked for tickets to see the Popmart tour and my mother obliged (I think it was a graduation gift), and since she couldn’t go to Montreal alone I got included in the package. I will never forget the gigantic stage, the disco lemon and my sister jumping up and down when they started playing Where the Streets Have No Name.  I went to see them again, again with my sister, when they came to Ottawa a couple of years ago. The second show was better, in my opinion, probably because we were much closer to the stage.

And we have to include 4. Third Eye Blind, who opened for U2, much to my sister’s dismay. I remember Stephen Jenkins coming back out on stage and saying “Bono asked us to play a couple more for you,” and my sister yelling “Bono wouldn’t do that!”

In the mid-90s I spent two brilliant summer days at Edgefest and saw some of the bands that made my adolescence. Despite between over-heated and dehydrated at the end of each of those days, I will always remember them fondly. I will try to recap all the bands I saw there, and we’ll see how that goes:

5. Our Lady Peace (I saw them again at the Corel Centre a year or so later), 6. I Mother Earth (right before Edwin left the band), 7. The Tea Party (They played at dusk, it was awesome, and I’m not a huge fan), 8. Sloan (They played one or two songs and then had to leave the stage to avoid being electrocuted, but I saw them again when I was in college), 9. Green Day, (They set the drums on fire and for the encore Billy Joe came out with an acoustic guitar to sing Good Riddance in front of them), 10. Foo Fighters, 11. Holly McNarland, 12. Collective Soul and 13. Bif Naked.

The only regret I have about these two great days is that we learned at some point that Cake had been scheduled to play the first year and they’d been forced to pull out.

14. Big Sugar (Pouring rain on Canada Day. It was awesome). And I know I’ve also seen 15. Moist on Parliament Hill as well as others that are escaping me right now.

15. Everclear (opened for Our Lady Peace).

And then, as far as my memory goes, there was a bit of a lag in my concert-going. This may be due to the fact that my sister was old enough to go out of town to see the people she wanted to see and didn’t need a companion any more.

15. Coldplay (They were good, Chris Martin seem to think that we all spoke French, and he sang Sk8ter Boi). I don’t know who opened for them, I don’t think we saw the opening act.

And then, while I was in college, I saw:

16. David Usher

17. Default (Twice).

18. Swollen Members (Awesome).

Sadly, my college years are notable for the bands that came to my school, but not the ones I saw, because I was in print journalism and we were in production for the paper the same night so I rarely got to go out to see the bands.

19. Simple Plan

20. The Arcade Fire (opened for U2 the second time I saw them).

And I guess I need to include 21. Siobhan, who I saw a few times before they broke up. Their bass player is dreamy.

So I’ve forgotten a few that get lost among Canada Day celebrations on the Hill and greater bands that played Edgefest, but all in all, I’m nowhere near 50.

But I know that I can come up with 15 books that will always stick with me:

1. Anne of Green Gables – I’ve never actually read this book, but I’ve read every other book in the series. Still, the original has to be on this list because I grew up with it. My mother wrote her Masters’ thesis about Anne and LM and when I was a kid we visited PEI twice to see all the Anne sights. We even had a cat named Marilla (Matthew died before I was born) and my sister’s middle name is Blythe.

2. The Pistachio Prescription – I loved all of Paula Danzinger’s books and I hope that they are back in print by the time my little girl gets to young adult reading levels. This book spoke to me when I was a pre-teen. I related to it in ways I had never felt before.

3. Love You Forever – I still cry whenever I read this book. I have given it to every mother to be that I’ve ever known and we already have a copy for our little one.

4. The Edible Woman – I was probably too young to read this when I did (I don’t think I was 16 yet), but I loved everything about it. This may have been one of the first books I read that told me that all the strange thoughts and ideas I had were normal, and that someday maybe I could be a real writer.

5. The Eyre Affair – The cover caught my attention and I took a chance on an author I had never heard of after reading the back of this one. I have never looked back. My copy is creased and weathered and I am a true Jasper Fforde fangirl.

6. The Catcher in the Rye – This isn’t my favourite Salinger, but reading this one opened the door for me to read his others. Seymour: An Introduction is my favourite and lead me to write a short story for English class that I am proud of to this day. I wish that he had written more.

7. Fifth Business – I love this book, mostly because it helped me realize that studying literature has a lot to do with whoever is teaching it, for me anyway. Mr. MacGregor was my OAC English teacher. He walked us through this Davies classic and I will never forget him or the book.

8. Animal Farm – We studied this in Grade 9 and I learned about subtext and metaphor and everything suddenly started to make sense.

9. The Making of Champions – When I was in high school I was completely obsessed with junior hockey (completely). I lived and breathed our local team and spent my time watching hockey and reading about hockey. I found this book in the library, took it out multiple time and considered not returning it, except that I wanted other people to read it too. It’s the story of six guys playing Canadian Junior A, trying to get to the NHL. A few years ago I found a copy online and am very glad to have it on my bookshelf.

10. Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas – Written in the third person, Tom Robbins taught me that you can be absolutely crazy and still get published.

11. A Widow for One Year – Taught me that a man can write a strong female character.

12. The Lovely Bones – A book that exposed me to pain that I understood despite never having experienced anything like it. One of those books that makes you scared to see the movie because you know they’re going to disappoint you.

13. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Just recently reminded me how great it is to fall in love with characters and get lost in a book.

14. Brave New World, The Old Man and the Sea, Lord of the Flies – All of these, and more, have taught me that just because it’s a classic doesn’t mean I’m going to like it.

15. Harry Potter – Books can make you feel connected to people, and just because everyone is reading it doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

All of these books makes me want to create a list of books I want my daughter to read when she hits her teen years, I think that shall be my next post.

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