Sunday Lowdown #120


There may be bits and bobs of my personality that don’t come out on Grab the Lapels that often, but here is one of them: I love Metallica so hard. I know it became popular to hate on the after they wanted Napster to stop letting fans upload and download their music for free, but I was happy that they stood on principle. It wasn’t about the money, it was that artists have a right to control their product. Sure, it would have been cool if I could have bought a Metallica CD for $0 instead of $20, but it’s not up to me.

On the flip side, now that we have easy access to people through social media and artists who work on commission, it’s common to say, “You should do this for me, for free, because you’ll get exposure.” We think the “exposure” people are jerks for wanting free art, but we only differentiate because those artists aren’t famous (well, some are and make a good living). I’m sure you can punch all kinds of holes in my argument, but at the end of the day, I still think artists, big and small, can do what they want, financially, and the fans can speak with their wallets. Anyway, what’s the point of all this?

Well, April 15th was National American Sign Language Day (I did not know this), and Metallica made a special announcement, via a Deaf fan: their entire next album with have music videos with ASL interpretation. *SQUEE!* I texted my cousin Keith, who also loves Metallica, and he wrote back, “Your whole life has culminated to this moment in time.”

Okay, quick run down on school: whether I was teaching or am a student, that last week of school, the one before finals week, feels like a surrealist nightmare! My brain is hyperfocused on the final exams, but I still have things I need to do. My brain says, “No, ya don’t.” And then I sort of run around like a squirrel and feel, in a small way, grumpy all day. And then I got this gem:

Thank you, Biscuit! You are a treat! I’ve also been getting lots of plant and fish pictures from Cupcakes & Machetes. Very zen watching her process for building an outside inside her house.

By the end of the week, we got our results from our ASL receptive and expressive skills test. This was the one that was a half hour long, all in ASL, and we were recorded. The videos were given to a judge outside the university, who then gave us a rating on what is called the SLPI (“slippy”) exam. My scores were excellent and highlighted the content I knew I needed to work on, so Nick and I went out and celebrated Friday night with dinner and a gourmet cookie from a bakery downtown that we don’t normally go to, because, well, I can’t be constantly going to a bakery. Either way, I’m chuffed and keep walking around like Marie, the white kitten, from Aristocats.


You guys had so many questions about divorce books — and why I was reading a divorce book! No, Nick and I are not on the brink, not even after he configured a hand mixer motor in a peanut butter jar. No, my interest in This Story Will Change was more about Elizabeth Crane herself. I love her short stories, and I read another “memoir” she wrote called The History of Great Things.

I use quotes around “memoir” because that book was about her life, but her mother, now dead, was also a “character” in the book, and the two would talk. Crane would ask questions or remind her mother of an event, and the mother would answer. So, maybe fantasy memoir? Either way, she was playing with genre, so I wanted to see what she would do with this newest book.

Written in vignettes, some parts are only questions, some are wondering if she should have followed up with her wedding guests to make sure they weren’t really holding back when asked if anyone had an objection to her marriage, etc. It was different and interesting, though it did note situations that seem banal and maybe add up to more.


Aubrey Gordon is back with another book about fat bias. In this newest text, she looks at twenty things thin people say to fat people and responds with the cultural, environmental, scientific, legal — you name it — evidence to basic maxims like “You Just Need to Lose Weight”. Hint, they aren’t helpful or realistic. In fact, negative comments to “motivate” people typically have the opposite effect. Review Wednesday.


Books Bought Since January 2023: 1

Running Cost: $1



  1. Yay Aubrey Gordon! Boo squirrel brain! I wish you the best this week!! (Also, your love for Metallica does not surprise me somehow, ha ha!) that’s cool they’re doing ASL videos! So many exclamation points here but I’m not editing! 😁


    • I love that comment about not editing, Laila, lol. I was talking more with my cousin, and the album came out a few weeks ago. The songs with the interpretation are forthcoming. I believe one is already out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OK, here goes with my usual tome (though maybe not as much as usual):

    Re Napster and “It wasn’t about the money, it was that artists have a right to control their product”: but, really, to some degree it is about the money, isn’t it? Artists need to live. It irritates me that artists – musicians, writers, etc – are expected too often to give their stuff away for free. I do appreciate that exposure is a factor for those starting out, but making the transition then from free to fee must be a real challenge. I agree that artists have a right to do what they want, but I think they also need to think about how what decisions they make might affect other artists? By this I don’t necessarily mean not doing something they want to do, but thinking about what its implications are for others, whether they think it’s worth it, what precedent it sets, etc etc.

    Divorce book: I noticed some of those questions about why you were reading it and was a bit surprised. It didn’t even occur to me. Of course, sometimes I read books about things I’m experiencing, but mostly I read books that sound interesting for one reason of another and that memoir sounded really different.

    Results: GOOD FOR YOU. I love that you tell us your ups and downs. That’s so real. I’m glad you and Nick celebrated with a dinner and a cookie.

    Decluttering: I gave all my Amy Tan’s away a couple of weeks ago. Wah … but I have to do it! I did enjoy them, though they started to become a little repetitive. However I think The BSD was a good one. It’s the one inspired by her grandmother I think isn’t it?


    • Re: Napster–ah, yes, I absolutely do think money is an important factor for artists. At the time, fans claimed Metallica were a bunch of sellouts because they were already famous and wealthy, hence the reason they weren’t fighting Napster for money reasons (they state this explicitly). You’re also right about considering what other artists are doing. This is a conversation we have in interpreting. Interpreters set their own rate, so it’s important that they consider not only what is normal in their area for a certain skill level, but also what is prohibitive to the Deaf community. If you’re so expensive that businesses won’t hire you to interpret for a Deaf person, that is an ethical quandary. It’s a balance of living wage, what is normal in the area, and what is fair.

      Results: I recently got a surprising grade of 75% on one project that I was proud of, so I emailed the professor to see what happened, if there is any feedback or anything (right now it’s just a grade I can see online). I’m hoping it’s either a typo or I complete misread the rubric.

      Decluttering: I totally root for people giving their things away. We do not need all the things. Also, if I get “new” things, I buy used. I’m on quite a mission to stop buying new, use less, and reuse things.


  3. This news about Metallica is very exciting! And how cool of them. I’m not a huge fan of their music (although I do like a few of their more popular songs) but they always come across as reasonable rock stars, which I can appreciate.

    Also -is it weird that people think you might be going through a divorce or a difficult part in your marriage if you read a book about divorce? LOL I love reading about divorce, but my husband and I are very happy together haha


    • Now I just need to sit down and watch the Metallica videos! I’ve been running around this week thanks to finals. I always found them a more reasonable group likely because they never got into drugs.

      You know, it IS kinda amusing to think about someone going through a divorce reading a divorce book. In my experience, people getting divorced don’t do a whole lot of rational anything, including reading. They pick up a load of vices, quit eating, and end up sleeping on someone else’s couch. Divorce sounds awful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the combo of ASL and Metallica! How perfect for you! I kind of missed out on the Napster era because the adults in my life were all, Absolutely not, that’s theft. Which came more from a religious perspective than a desire to support artists, I think, but at least made me think about who benefits and who loses out with things like that.


    • I still remember James Hetfield saying he didn’t care if the argument was about a yard gnome, if it’s his yard gnome, you don’t get to steal it just because he’s famous and has money. I admit that I did download quite a few songs way back in the day (not on Napster, something else… I can’t remember) because my friends got me into. Oddly, those downloads of random artists recommended by friends made me a fan of new musicians, which I think was the argument a lot of folks were making at the time: that exposure really can mean more sales later.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s so awesome Metallica is including ASL interpretation on the videos for their next album! Hopefully more artists begin doing that kind of thing!

    Well done on your receptive and expressive skills test! I am glad you had a well deserved celebration! I hope all the final wrapping up of classes and exams continues to go well!


  6. That’s brilliant news about Metallica, good for them. And well done on your assessment, and I hope the later on is a blip and your professor can give you some feedback.


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