apparently #gradschool is life…

yeah, it’s been quiet around here for some 7+ months. i’ll be back after i pass my qualifying exams this fall, lol! meanwhile, i’m still on twitter, bein’ ain’t shit.

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#31dayreset – day 4: stuck

so the day four post is about figuring out the 10 values that are most important to our lives. i’ve got an initial list going, but it feels really short (at 12 items) and i feel like there’s something i’m not hearing from myself or the universe. so i’m going to sit. and practice listening until i feel unstuck.

monday starts my official ‘summer schedule’. i’ve got readings to do for my research job and i start my 15 hr/week field placement. i find that i often hear things as i’m transitioning between duties & i’ve learned to cherish that ‘downtime’, so it’ll be interesting to see what it yields this time around. i may also decide to skip this part of the reset until later in the process, but i think that’ll make things more difficult down the line.

we’ll see. meanwhile…

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#31dayreset – day 3: Letter to Hermione

I set this to send to myself in October. I picked this deadline because its the beginning of the school year and I’ve decided to use this summer to get reoriented in time to tackle the next year head-on.

dear Amanda Michelle,
GIRL. yes, you have done the damn thang. give yourself credit and celebrate: life ain’t been no crystal stair, but you keep on climbing.

you have managed to complete two full years of doctoral studies without quitting or cursing anyone out. given the drama you’ve experienced along this journey, that is an amazing feat. but it’s not all! you did all this while discovering and dealing with a strange, chronic illness that should have laid you flat on your ass. not to mention surviving getting hit by a truck in the midst of it all, too. who DOES that? apparently you do.

on top of all this, you have determined your pathway through the politics of academia and the logistics of your research goals, despite being told to quit on multiple occasions. you have a both a field placement and a research assistantship that you love. you also have a solid start to your dissertation committee – in the form of an advisor who encourages you, challenges you, supports you, and respectfully pulls your coattails as needed.

financially, you have identified multiple potential funding sources and have a solid plan for submitting applications to each. in the meantime, you are making connections to helpful people and organizations that will lead to further support.

on the home front, your new apartment is fabulous, in financial accessibility, convenience to the things you need, and all the creature comforts that will support your pursuit of self-care. speaking of which, you have that down pat! not only have you continued to do your daily sun salutations, but your back in the pool at least three times a week, in addition to biking regularly. that extra 20 pounds is melting off steadily! you have also identified several possible non-drug & hospital happy therapists who you can afford to see, despite the lack of insurance coverage for mental health services.

all this is great news, since you’ve got a plan to raise funds for this next surgery you’re having at the end of the year. furthermore, in preparation, you’ve got a great hematologist who has helped you get to the bottom of the mystery bleeding disorder that interrupted the last surgery. you’re also on a medication regimen that works for your sensitive system while minimizing risky side effects and, of course, doesn’t break your bank.

not only is your body on the mend but so is your heart, as you have come to terms with your recent breakup. you have figured out your “pattern”, let it go, defined what you really want, and are truly open to receiving -and able to recognize- the love blessings the universe chooses to bestow upon you. in addition, you have established a meaningful social life that works for your schedule and has developed some key associations into real friendships.

furthermore, you have reconnected with those family members who you wanted to keep up with, but fell out of touch since school started. also, you & mama j finally understand each other as adults & are having tons more fun! \o/

your patience & tenacity are paying off and things are looking up, love!

~Amanda Michelle

so about today’s title…
I love this song for so many reasons. interestingly, Hermione is the feminine derivative of Hermes, AKA Mercury, my ruling planet. the universe got jokes. I hear her, though. well, at least I’m trying to…

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#31dayreset – day 2: life assessment

wow… I was gonna post my worksheet, but I feel I need to keep it to myself so I can mediate on it. suffice it to say, much of my life is nowhere near what I’d like it to be. the business side of things is moving along, though not without its hiccups, but my personal life is in terrible shape.

fortunately, I do get to have a few minutes to tend to my mind & body every morning with sun salutations. I started doing those every morning, no matter if I was running late or not. this ritual has made all the difference in my world. I can’t wait until my abdomen heals from surgery so I can get back to them.

I’ll let you all enjoy my sun salutation song here. I do two rounds over the course of the track.

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#31dayreset – day 1: fly – 2013.07.02

*i wrote this on my ipad, which doesn’t have default sentence capitalization, per my settings.

here I am, once again. I did my first reset with Rosetta back in jan-feb 2011. I tried to start a new one in September of that year, but got sidetracked by my first year of grad school (a pretty good excuse, I think).

anyhoo, I’ve had a lot LOT happen over the past 2.5 years (TWO POINT FIVE YEARS!!!), and I feel a new start is very necessary. in fact, I requested time “off” from school to get reoriented.

I’m a digital girl, so my notebook will generally be electronic. I’ve got the reset notebook, so I’ll be taking screenshots & adding info either via my mac’s preview app or my fave ipad app, notability.

my mantra, once again, is music-based, so I’m getting a two-fer. I have a long list of favourite artists (hey, there are two of me!), but most recently, I’ve been connecting with Choklate* a lot. so, for this reset, I’m choosing her song, ‘fly’. enjoy the video; I’ve posted the lyrics below.

There’s a dream that I can only see
When I’m not sleeping
There’s a peace that only settles over me
When I’m living that dream

And when the answers find me
The questions run and hide
And when I’m with my family
Then everything is quite all right

And then is when I feel like I can fly

~Piano solo~

There’s a song that I can only sing
In my heart there’s no one speaking
There’s a dance that only takes over me
When I’m still my hearts the one singing

And when the answers find me
The questions run and hide
And when I got my music
Then everything is quite all right

And then is when I feel like I can fly

source: Marcus D - Fly

*affiliate link

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.@ayahmusic & friends on the business of indie music

i know it’s been mad dusty ’round here. blame the hellacious school year i’ve had. i’ve got a backlog of concert pics & footage stretching as far back as september ’12 that i hope to get posted in (relatively) short order. in the meantime, enjoy this gem that i found today!

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.@JeromeHolloway + @RobertGlasper x @HOBChicago = AWESOME

once upon a time, i won some concert tickets. i had forgotten that i entered the contest, so i was über excited to see the email notification from @Do312 just before i bought my tickets. “what tickets,” you ask? or maybe you don’t ask, ‘cuz you read the title of this post.

IMG_0723so yes, this was back in september. yes, i mean 2012 (i’m not bad enough to still have stuff from previous years, geez!). since i should either be asleep or doing homework right now, i’m gonna keep this really short. also, this is when i remembered why i’d hidden my camera away in the first place: it’s a hater. i went through six batteries before i could get off 5 decent pics of the first act. so iphone 3gs, it was.

of course, i won two tickets, so i hit up some twitter folks to see who could come. and i got @LeTamz lookin’ all fahn…


IMG_0724i gotta say, i love, love, LOVE when ‘unknowns’ open up at shows i attend. i love great music & prefer more intimate settings, so this has always meant i get to learn about a new artist each show. enter jerome holloway, also lookin’ all fahn.

he has a wonderful voice & can strum that axe sum’n fierce. i loved his act from the start, but i think i ’bout fell out when he started in on nina simone’s “sinner man” all on the fly. listen, if i hadn’t already been #chose… (btw, i asked & he’s into hearin’ from the ladies. well, as of september, anyway. he liketa got #chose, too.)

but seriously, his album is FREE. go get it. right-click his name > open in new tab > download > come back here.

as one would expect, the robert glasper experiment (RGE) tore the house down. in addition to the black radio hits, we heard everything from radiohead to floetry (pssst… i like their version of ‘say yes’ better than the original. *wonders whether somebody secretly captured her epic body rolling*) there even a dilla tribute. listen, have you ever heard ‘smells like teen spirit’ done over a dilla joint??? i am not exaggerating when i tell you the *ENTIRE* crowd erupted.

all the rest of my pics are from when RGE was on stage, so i’ll just leave this gallery here for your enjoyment before delighting you with some vidjo. :)

drum solo: RGE’s cover of radiohead’s ‘packt like sardines in a crushd tin box’ (y’all know this: i’m a reasonable man, get off my case…)

not the end of the concert, but definitely one of my top 3 highlights:

as always, i encourage you to support good music (and help a grad student earn a lil commission while you’re at it):

jerome holloway*: iTunesamazonhome page

robert glasper experiment: iTunesamazonofficial merch

*yes, the album is free on his site, but please support financially if you can
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a weekend with @kindredthefam @kindredthewife & @zzaje in #chicago

so my favorite musical couple? these folks here.

hey, boos, hey! gather ’round, it’s storytime.

so as i said before, i have folks who play for kindred the family soul. this generally bodes well for my life of  poverty (currently induced by grad school).* but even aside from that, kindred & i have a lil history.

i first learned about them while listening to tiffany bacon on power99 radio while i was at college in philly [insert memories of amazing sunday night radio]. my time in philly also included volunteering with the foundation community arts initiative. in 2001, we co-hosted lovefest 2k1** as part of penn’s annual valentine’s day celebration. ms. dannah & i were responsible for artist recruitment. so we snuck into the black lily, lol! not only did we see jazmine sullivan & erykah badu’s sister, nayrok udab, but we also learned of kindred. we were sold as soon as they hit the stage. they rocked houston hall 42 kinda ways. a couple years later, i was at TLA for their album release party. i’ve seen them perform at least once in every city i’ve lived in since then. <end storytime>

he gon’ be mad ‘cuz he didn’t like this picture, lol!

last weekend, though? best. weekend. evarrr. my big bro, damon, came to chi-town with the crew this time around & we hung out every day he was here. \o/ now, i knew kindred had the show on thursday, but the saturday show was a bonus! again: \o/ the only sadz: a) i didn’t have my camera for the first night & b) the weekend is over.

thursday, i spent the evening at the shrine for the first show. the opener was a homegrown artist named tarrey torae.

yeah, i stole this from her twitter profile. who gon’ fight meh?

first of all, she FAHN! second of all, the girl can SANG! i had never heard of her before, but it turns out she’s all over the place: 2 time grammy winner, song writer extraordinaire (john legend, much?), etc., etc. check out her cover of womack & womack:

tarrey is not one of those stand-in-place-and-look-pretty-while-i-sing folks, but i did manage to get a coupla shots. and check her out with local femcee, teefa (WARNING: autoplay. but it’s good.)





and yeah, malik yusef was the host for the night. 1) he fahn, too. 2) he’s a cot damn, FOO!

malik ‘cuttin’ up during an interview w/ tarrey.

really don’t remember what was happening here.










and then the main show started. i lost my front row photo snappin’ spot goin’ to meet damon, but it was a great show, nonetheless. and let me tell you, i almost fell out when i saw aja w/ her fly new haircut. YEW BETTA WERK, MAMA KINDRED!!!

they performed some stuff off the new album, including ‘you got love’ & ‘magic happen’. they also did my fave off the arrival, ‘alright‘, as well as the crowd favorites, ‘rhythm of life’, ‘stars’, & ‘woman first‘. of course, they closed out with ‘far away‘.

(since the audio is suspect, i’m just providing links, rather than uploading here.)

awesome bonus: a painter was there creating a new piece during the show (i LOVE live painting). here’s the result:

i’m so sorry i forgot his name. if you know, drop me a comment!
also: that grey goose looks HUGE in this shot!

on saturday, i found my camera just in time for the jam to move to lorraine dixon park for the taste of WVON (one of the few remaining black owned & operated radio stations in the country). the station had beyoncé & destiny’s child open for them…

what’s really hilarious is that they busted out the actual choreography to ‘girls’ after this ‘love on top’ madness. but f’rell? they brought it for that part. i ain’t eeb’n mad.

a couple of the dancers actually work for WVON, if i understood the PA system correctly. great that folks are willing to get out there & have fun.

so the band opened with ‘alright’ again saturday; i took pics & sang along loudly this time.

hey, fatin!

so listen, i love the shoes, but aja’s legs? they beat anything you’ve got goin’ on right now.








i would be remiss to go any further without showing love to the band, zzajé. they held it down right smoove for both shows.

*pauses for daydreams of sitting in on jam sessions*

(most of) the band: damon, brandon, & marshall

and really? they’re a great group of guys. shoutout to marshall for fussing at me & to brandon for & walking me to the bus stop at dark o’clock! i mean, i woulda been fine, but… *kicks at dirt with toe of shoe*




so at this point, i’m just gonna shake my fist at mercury when it comes to the vidjo (actually, i think i was just too close to the speakers). but as before, i went ahead & uploaded what i have to youtube. you can’t hear them, but they look great! here’s ‘magic happen‘ & ‘stars‘. i think ‘rhythm of life’ was the most coherent of the three, so watch & listen at your own risk, lol:

as always, please support good music (and spoken word):

kindred the family soul – iTunes, amazon

teefa – iTunesamazon

tarrey torae – iTunesamazon

malik yusef – iTunesamazon

damon “mr. dizzy fingers” bennett – reverb nation

zzajé – iTunesamazon

*don’t get me wrong, i LOVE supporting my favorite artists. but when it comes down to eating vs. attending shows, well…
**if you’re reading this & you have any photos or videos of lovefest 2k1, please, PUH-LEEZ share with me!

i took lots more pics, so enjoy the gallery!

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#animemidwest with @megaran & @dn30001

i love my music fam, i really do. what’s even better is watching as my fam’s hard work pays off. today: random aka megaran. (note: everybody in this post is part of the same fam: RHAM nation. check ’em out.) gather ’round kids: it’s story time.

i first met ran when i sang a hook for our mutual homie, g. the chancellor. (no, that track didn’t get published, thank god, LOL! but a good time was had.) ran was producing beats & of course did our track for the day. we lost touch for a while after that, but thanks to the magical internetz, we reconnected several years ago! \o/ not long after, ran became ‘megaran’ & was officially doing music for capcom. yeah, i’m proud of my folk. sadly, it would be nine years after our first meeting before i would get to see the man in the flesh (ships, passing, nighttime, etc.). as for dj dn3, it was a case of mythical creatures: we each had heard tell of the other and even talked on the twitters, but there was no tangible proof of existence, LOL!

and finally, the stars aligned:

man sammich.

so yeah, we met up at anime midwest 2012. LOL(ish) at all the kids there being ratchet. i wanted to take pics, but my work experience has trained me not to take unauthorized photos of minors. i have learned, however, that cosplay is rather intriguing (albeit not for juvenile reasons, if you catch my drift, lol).

the audience really wasn’t there for hiphop and it didn’t help that the first non-rock act was these guys (O_o). so, the organizers had to go out & find some folks for the show. by the time megaran got on stage, there were fewer than 10 folks waiting. after he & dn3 got started, tho’, the room was packed within 30 minutes! folks texted their friends, a few went out to find folks, and people were just generally drawn in by the music. this is how you know you’ve got a great artist on your hands.

i did take some pics & vid of the show, but the lighting was terrible & i was using a couple cameraphones (couldn’t find my real camera in time). plus, i was watching the merch table, so i stayed pretty far away*. these two vids are the best of the lot (i’m sad AVALANCHE didn’t come out well!):

*that may actually have helped me get better sound than if i had been closer.

megaran freestyles with inspiration from audience cosplay:

ran & dn3 hit up the stage together:

support great music; megaran’s collection is available via iTunes, amazon, & dj dn3’s music is available via bandcamp.

BONUS: we met this guy who sells figurines he makes out of loose change. including a transformable optimus prime. shit is wicked awesome. watch:

if you’re interested in buying some stuff (he does custom orders), hit him up:

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step one: i’m an addict

hi, my name is amanda michelle & i’m a music addict. at first i thought it was just a ‘thing’. y’know, i always have to have music playing, no matter what i’m doing. i’m that chick who gets mad that you can’t listen to music during final exams. i’m the one who sings on the train w/o giving a thought to what might be bothering other ppl (i do try to sing quietly). i’m that kid who brought her alarm clock radio down to the kitchen table so she could do homework (even though her mama had the TV on nearby). but, so long as i had my music, i never thought much of it. until now.

i basically spent this past weekend with kindred the family soul as they did a couple of shows in chicago. as always, they put on a coupla great shows & a good time was had by all. [the recap post is coming soon, but i’m sad so i had to get this offa my chest.] what’s to boot is thatmy play brother, damon bennett, often steps in when their regular music director, stan davis (also a friend), is otherwise booked. all kinds of musical awesomeness & family shenanigans were had. and now i’m depressed.

this happens to me every time i go to a great show, so it’s not just hangin’ w/ my folks (much as i love them). i’ve noted it, but not really given much thought (‘cuz i generally have too much other shit to do to spend time thinking about my feelings). but today, as i sat at my job irritated, sad, and fiending, i realized that i have an addiction. for me, live music is a drug. i have to have it, but once my fix ends, i crash. hard. i feel like other people don’t experience this, so i don’t talk about it. but i do start to question everything about my life. am i in the right field? did i miss something the universe was telling me to do? what do i need to do to become part of this amazingness? how can i balance that with everything else i have (and want) to do? it’s incredibly exhausting and a bit frightening. i do eventually stabilize, although i haven’t figured out how long it takes yet.

so yeah, that’s all i have. they say the first step is acknowledging you have a problem, right? well here i am, acknowledging. but i’m also saying i welcome this ‘problem’.

music soothes my soul. in music, i find rest for my weary spirit. in music, i am energized to live another day. when i need breaking, music dismantles me. when i am broken, it is music that puts me back together. music is everything, so any resolution to my ‘problem’ will have to involve… music. the cause is the cure and whatnot. the question: why am i not more doing more with it?

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