Tag Archives: Daily Duranie

Can You Taste the Summer?

The school year is finally finished.  It was definitely one of the longest school years of my career and one of the toughest.  I know that I probably say that every year but this year was different.  Tougher.  Harder.  Let’s just say that I have cried more in the last couple of weeks than I have in months over it all.  Even as I try to celebrate the end, I find myself exhausted, both mentally and emotionally.

All of that said, today I am leaving for a family vacation of sorts.  I’m flying with my parents to Boston to see my brother who lives there.  The best part is that my dad will get a big surprise once we arrive which I’m so looking forward to.  It has been a very tough year for him, too.  Needless to say, I need a break.  There is nothing quite like getting a change of scenery to clear one’s head.  This trip will be good for me.

I made a decision that isn’t typical for me.  I’m taking a real break during this family trip.  I won’t be blogging tomorrow.  I don’t want to deal with any responsibilities even ones that I love.  Instead, I want to focus on the time with the family.  My carry on will be lighter without this laptop.  On top of tomorrow’s blog, I will also be taking a break from doing the question of the day.  So, the blog will be silent on Sunday.  I assume that Rhonda will blog like normal on Monday.  Then, I’ll be back with the question of the day on Thursday and my weekend blogs on Friday.  I think the complete break from everything will be good for me.  I need it.

Part of me feels guilty for this.  The question of the day doesn’t take a long time to do.  The blog should publish something daily, part of me says.  The other part of me says that I deserve to take some time to have a short break.  It will be fine.  On that note, I’m off to  the airport.  See you all on Thursday!

-A

Who Do You Need?

Sometimes, it feels like weeks take on a feeling, a theme.  Last week, it was all about political action.  This week, there has been a 360 degree turn, which has led me to think about friendship, support and    the importance of common experiences.  (I hope that you all let me express my thinking for a bit.  I need it.  I promise, though, that I will get to a Duran connection eventually.)

Some weeks at work focus on curriculum development or assessment.  Unfortunately, my week didn’t have anything to do with that.  No, it was about kids who are hurting, emotionally, and for good reasons.  I have had students come to me with suicidal thoughts, mental illness, concerns about sexual assault, and discrimination.  Yeah, clearly, their problems are not surface ones.  These kids came to me for comfort, for hugs, for advice or for a place to vent, to talk, to express their conflicted emotions.  With each one, I offered hugs, my ear and any advice that I could.  As each one walked away, I felt frustration that I couldn’t do more and sadness that they have to deal with these incredibly tough issues.

As I now sit in my living room, I am left thinking about support.  Did I support my students enough?  Did it matter that many of their problems are not ones that I have experienced first hand myself?  I wondered if their families could or did offer better support.  Did their friends?  Should I do more?  If so, what?  Even as I type this, I ache for them.  They are so young and have so much on their plates.  I admire their strength and their ability to pick themselves up to move forward.

As I ponder these students I am so fond of, I think my own friendships.  Do I offer my friends enough support especially when they are struggling?  If not, how can I?  Then, I think about myself.  Things haven’t been awesome for me, either.  Am I as strong as my students?  Do I seek the support that I need like they do and did?  I have to say that I probably don’t as I think I have gotten pretty good at hiding my own pain and putting on a good front.  I let pride rule and I don’t often ask for what I need.  Again, though, I think about my kids.  They didn’t let their pride get in their way.

Is it more than just pride for me?  Is it because I assume that no one would understand because they haven’t experienced what I have?  Maybe.  Does having first hand understanding of something matter? I think of Rhonda.  We have had many conversations over the years about how we are the only two people in the world that understands what it is like to be half of the Daily Duranie.  I think about those blogs in which people have unleashed it on us, telling us not only that we are wrong but that we are “desperate” or “pathetic” or something similar.  If there is a negative comment that gets to me, there is no one better to turn to than Rhonda because she has been there, too.  Our unique experience as the Daily Duranie does bring us closer and causes us to lean on each other at times.  I wonder if that is the same thing with members of Duran.  Have they turned to each other at times solely because they are the only ones who understand what it is like to be a member of the band?  Maybe.

Are their some experiences that are so unique that others couldn’t get it and couldn’t give the amount and kind of support that is needed?  I don’t know.  This is where I fail for myself.  I often don’t share problems I have with people who I suspect wouldn’t get it.  Now, I have to wonder if I am not giving enough credit to other people.  So, this week has reminded me that people can and should ask for help or support when they need it.

-A

Daily Questions Thoughts and Opinions

Tomorrow, I will finish the latest set of daily questions.  This time, I have been asking people which video they think is sexier.  We are down to the final three possibilities:  Pressure Off, Save a Prayer and Come Undone.  I anxiously await the results.

As many of you know, we have been doing the daily question for years now.  I feel like we have asked about everything, including favorite song, video, album cover, lyric, and so much more.  Right now, we are focusing on videos and I could continue to ask questions about them.  For example, I could ask about funniest video or smartest video.  Perhaps, I could focus on band members and which video they look best in.  Clearly, the possible questions are numerous.

If you read the blog on Friday, you know that we are in a period of reflection.  We are wondering what to focus on, if anything.  This, of course, includes the blog and these daily questions.  Should we continue it in the same format?  What about posting daily?  Do the questions of the day work for people?

This is where you all come in.  What do you think we should do in terms of the daily question?  Should we continue in the same way?  If so, do I keep asking about videos?  Is there another topic I should do instead?  I could ask something that I did ask before.  Maybe you think that I should change the format or the time from daily to weekly?  If that is true, what would you prefer?  Now, I have to acknowledge that the polling tool we use might not be able to do everything that might be suggested.

In all seriousness, I enjoy doing the daily question.  I like knowing what people think about various elements of Duran Duran, but I also want to make this work for everyone.  I thought about putting up a poll to ask this but I didn’t want to limit people’s thoughts to checking a box.  So, this is the time to just shout out your thoughts.  After people have chimed in, we will go through people’s suggestions as well as our thoughts and go from there.  I cannot promise you that we will use your suggestions but I would love to hear your ideas.  If nothing else, they will help me think, which I would totally appreciate.

-A

Bleeding from Paper Cuts

I have been waiting to use that lyric ever since I first heard it. To me, it is the perfect line to describe my job.  Teaching has gotten a lot harder in the last ten years or so.  The job did not instantly get tough but has slowly been getting more and more difficult.  To me, each subtle change or each little new expectation did not seem like a big deal at the time.  They were paper cuts.  Now, many teachers are full of paper cuts, to follow the metaphor.  The last couple of weeks have definitely felt like receiving a series of paper cuts that are so bad that I’m left bleeding and stinging.  Funny part is that on just one day last week, I literally got six paper cuts.  It seemed fitting.

Looking at my job as well as other activities in my life, I have come to a conclusion.  I seek intensity.  I live and breathe intensity.  When it comes to teaching, I can be laser focused on what I need to do for the job.  The last couple of weeks have included very little beyond writing finals, grading them along with any other assignments that have been turned in, and getting ready for the new semester.  The amount of time I have spent on huge is huge.  I literally have graded every single day in the last three weeks.  While the job is set up to do this, I also recognize that I take on the intensity differently than many of my colleagues.  Others are able to turn off the work and the thinking but I struggle with that.  It is probably one of the reasons that I believe I’m a good teacher but it makes the rest of life tough.  On one hand, I desperately want something a little less stressful.  On the other, this feels normal to me.  Part of me, I think, likes it.  The reason I think this is because I do the same things in other areas of my life.

As many of you know, besides teaching, I also volunteer my time with political campaigns.  What is the best part about campaigning?  The end is the best part.  I love the Get Out the Vote weekend.  For those not in the know, it is the last four days of the campaign when we hit the ground hard and at full speed with maximum volunteers.  Those weekends are marked by very little sleep and working 14-16 hour days.  Most people would run from this but I love it especially when I am on the winning team.  That feeling of elation is like nothing else I have experienced.  Political marches create the same level of intensity and emotionality.  The only thing better is touring.

I love lots and lots of parts of fandom and this Duran Duran fandom of mine but there is nothing better than touring.  Like teaching, I suspect that Rhonda and I tour more intensely than some.  After all, we can and do often party pretty hard.  I won’t lie.  There have been times in which we have had more drinks than we have hours of sleep.  Even now, over a decade into touring, we are still typically the last people standing.  Our roommates always seem to get to sleep before we do.  Even when we leading the activities at Durandemonium, our 2013 convention, we still went out after everyone else was back at the hotel after dancing the night away at Late Bar, Chicago’s New Wave dance club.  The lack of sleep combined with the partying and non-stop activity is pretty intense.  Heck, on  the very first tour Rhonda and I were awake for over 36 hours and did not consume any food for almost 24 hours.  It was a sign of how this touring thing would go for us.

When I stop and analyze my life, I have to admit that I like intensity because I like how everything else fades into the background.  When I’m on tour, I just think about touring, Duran Duran, my friends, my fandom.  While politics or teaching may enter for a few minutes here or there, my mind doesn’t stay on them.  Unfortunately, though, touring is not as common as I wish it was.  Instead, really, teaching is the bulk of my day-to-day existence.  Unlike touring, I wish I wasn’t as intensely focused on it as I am.  I try to keep up with politics during the school year and I definitely try to stay in contact with some elements of my fandom but they are often fleetly and short-lived until the news is about a tour or something equally exciting.  Then, I can carve out time for plotting!  The one thing I do in my life that gives me a good break is this.  Blogging.

When we started this blog, I thought this would help us in a variety of ways.  I thought maybe we would meet new people.  I figured that we would gain some insight into our fan community, that we would learn a lot about our fandom.  There was hope that we would become better writers.  All of that has happened.  What I didn’t expect was what blogging would do for me personally.  It gives me a real break from the insane world of being a high school teacher or political activist.  Truly, it allows me to keep the fun side of me alive even when the rest is attempting to swallow that part of me.  Heck, even when I am not blogging myself, taking the time to read Rhonda’s blog or people’s comments is necessary for me to remain sane.  Am I alone in this or does this blog give people a little break from the stress of their day-to-day existence?  I know that I’m thankful for it and hope others are as well.

-A

Can You Hear Me Now

It has been a long week, one that I alternatively spent either super busy with work or contemplating.  The two activities are connected, of course.  The fact that I have worked way too many hours on top of criticism of my work led me to ponder a lot.  Finally, yesterday, a thought came to my mind.  I had this thought while writing directions on the chalkboard for my students who were about to take their Women’s Studies final.  I wanted to find a quote or some inspirational phrase for them to leave with.  As I thought and began searching for the perfect statement, I remembered how often we talked about the importance of voice, of not being silent or silenced.  While I emphasize this in class, I’m not sure that I’m really living it in all aspects of my life.

When I tend to think about who I am, the three things that immediately pop up are fan, teacher and activist.  Do I have a voice in all areas or am I silenced?  Let’s take it one at a time.  As far as my activism goes, I generally do feel like I have a voice.  Last year on this day, I was driving to Washington DC with a few friends to participate in the Women’s March.  I’m proud of that.  Today, I will drive to Milwaukee to participate in another women’s march.  So that area of my life seems solid.  What about the other two?

Teaching is a far different story.  It is an intense job that takes up both a lot of time and my energy.  Honestly, I feel like I could talk about my job not just hours but days.  Maybe weeks.  Yet, I often find myself only dropping hints, little thoughts, bits and pieces.  The reason for this is simple.  As much as I am bursting to talk about my job and everything that goes with it, I cannot.  It isn’t a simple job of “do I like it” or “do I hate it”.  It is a job that everyone thinks they know about but the only ones who really do are the ones who have done it themselves.  The public watches and uses what teachers say to fit whatever beliefs they have about education or teachers.  Thus, I don’t say more.  I simply cannot explain the full spectrum of thoughts and feelings I have about my job.  There is too much there.  Does my being silent about my job hurt me?  Probably.  Yet, I lack an alternative.  For now.

So, what about this?  What about blogging?  What about being a fan?What about being a Duranie?  Hmm…I never really thought about my voice when it comes to fandom.  When Rhonda and I started doing research on fandom and applying what we had learned to our fandom, the reason was simple.  We wanted to better understand ourselves and our fan community.  The plan, of course, was to share our learning with others.  Then, we added this little blog here.  In thinking about both book work and blogging, clearly, we have found means to share what we think and feel when it comes to our fandom.  We have spaces for our voices.  Many people can choose to read this blog or participate in social media with us, giving our voices acknowledgement.  As the blog moved from infancy to what we have now, a place in which not only our voices are heard, but a place where other fans can be heard, too.

When I think of teaching and being a political person, having a voice is a big deal.  When I think about fandom, it is a big deal there, too.  I think about how often fans have been criticized or mocked for having such passion for whatever it is that they love.  This has led a lot of fans to be silenced.  Too many hide that passion, that love.  Rhonda and I chose not to do that here.  We give voice to our love for Duran Duran.  We don’t hide it here and never will.  On top of that, we welcome others to do the same.  In thinking about the stigma that too many adult fans face, it seems to me that one way to fight this is to speak out and speak up about being a fan.  I am a fan.  I love the band, Duran Duran.  If being a fan seems normal, common, won’t that stigma die?  I sure hope so.

What do the rest of you think?  Is it important for fans to find and use their voice?  What other ways can fans speak out about their fandom?

-A

And She Wonders How She Ever Got Here

The weekly lyric day blog post is here again.  Once again, it is taking place on Saturday rather than Friday.  The reason, of course, was to cover the brand new Katy Kafe with Nick.  Duran news definitely takes priority.  My shuffle today landed on the song, Girls on Film.  That is not exactly a song that I often pick to describe my life in pretty much any way.  Still, I was able to pick out a lyric when I really examined the lyrics.  I chose the line, “And she wonders how she ever got here.”  While that line has to do with experiences models go through, it sure could fit so much more.

When I stop or take a break from my never-ending to-do list and look around, I’m sometime surprised at my life.  Tell me that I’m not the only one, right?  If someone had told me thirty years ago that I would be teaching high school right now, I wouldn’t be surprised by that.  I would expect that.  What I wouldn’t expect or didn’t expect was that teaching has not gotten easier.  It is just the opposite.  I kept waiting for that magical time when I would not have so much work to do, but that has never happened.  Weird.  Still, teaching seems and feels normal, especially the high school history part.  Very deliberate choices led to this career of mine.  No, it is the rest of my life that leads me to wonder more about how I got here.

I figured that I would be politically active, in some way.  Voting would be a normal part of existence.  Again, what I didn’t expect was to be involved as much as I have been in the last ten years or so.  I didn’t expect to be motivated by a potential presidential candidate as I was by President Obama.  The movement against Governor Walker’s plan to stop unions for public employees was not anything that I expected.  As someone who was/is directly impacted by this, I had no choice but to get involved.  I feel the same way now.  Are the choices I have made ones that directed me to this now?  In some ways, sure.  In other ways, I am just reacting to the world around me.

Then, there is probably the weirdest aspect of my life.  This.  Fandom.  While I always had fan tendencies, I would have never imagined that fandom would be such a huge part of my life.  I figured that there would be bands or tv shows or movies or something that I would like but none such as what I feel for and about Duran.  Even as a kid, when Duran posters made up my bedroom wallpaper, I believed, somewhere in the back of my mind that I would eventually let it go.  I had no idea when that would happen or why, just that it would.  After all, I didn’t know anyone that dedicated to a fandom, for that long.  I had no real examples of it.

Even if I could have imagined myself being a big fan of Duran still, I’m pretty certain that I had no clue that I would express that fandom in the ways that I do now.  Again, I didn’t know anyone who traveled to go to concerts.  Heck, I probably would have thought that was weird, too.  What about the idea of writing a daily blog?  Or a book about fandom?  If someone had told me all of that, I would have asked the person how long s/he had been doing crack because that would be the only explanation.  So, how did I get here??

That is the big question, isn’t it?  How did I get here?  When I think about my adult fandom, the first step in this direction is becoming a fan of the now-long canceled TV show, Roswell.  The show’s focus on alienation while seeking connection with others grabbed me–probably because I was searching for any and all connections in a new city.  This led me to seek out other fans online.  Some of those fans traveled for fan-related events, something that was shocking to me then.  It opened my eyes to the possibility of doing really crazy but fun things in the name of fandom.  More specifically, one of those fans was also a Duran fan who reminded me about how amazing Duran is.  That’s all it took to awaken my fandom once again.  It didn’t hurt that the band had just reunited and a new album and tour was on the way.

From there, I sought out other Duranies online.  That led me to DuranDuranFans, a message board where I met Rhonda, and learned of a fan convention in New Orleans in September 2004.  I couldn’t resist the idea and jumped at the chance to go.  There I met Rhonda in person along with other friends of ours.  The Astronaut Tour of 2005 gave an opportunity to really get to know those fellow board users.  Rhonda and I discovered that we toured well together and could cause each other to laugh and laugh and laugh.  Obviously, then, we knew that we had found our touring partner for life.

Okay.  This tells me how I got to be good friends with Rhonda, but how did we start this blog or think about organizing meet-ups or writing a book?  The answer there is actually pretty simple.  We spent a lot of time talking, thinking and analyzing about what we saw and felt on this crazy fandom journey.  While we were trying to figure out what made fandom tick, we also wanted to help make it better, at least in the small ways we could.  Were we perfect with this?  Far from it.  That said, we did learn a lot along the way.  Now, all of this is part of my life.  I cannot imagine it any other way.

-A

Haunted By…

Any idea what our most looked at blog has been?  My goodness…at this point, we have over 4,000 blog posts.  So what would be the most “popular” of sorts???  Was it one that shared big news about a tour or a new album?  Nope.  Was it one that focuses on some controversial topic within fandom or our fandom?  It is not.  Could it have been the interview with Dom Brown?  That would be a good guess but…alas, it is not.  No, the most viewed blog post is the one I wrote about the interpretations of the Reflex.  My reaction to this?  Oh, for the love of Pete…

Let me give some background.  For awhile I was writing blogs that analyzed and/or offered interpretations of certain Duran songs.  Some of these songs were ones that I had been thinking about and others were suggestions from our readers.  It became obvious that I could not ignore one of Duran’s most successful singles and one that is often discussed in interviews.  I can think of countless times that the band, most specifically Simon, has been asked about what the song means.  So, I need what I had to do and looked up the interpretations online then went through the lyrics to determine if the various interpretations were possible or likely.  All of this was done on this blog here.   Since the blog was posted almost 5 years ago to the day, we have had a ton of people look at it.  We still get comments on it.

Now, looking back, was it smart of me to do that blog?  Was it a good idea to really look at that song?  I don’t know.  I’m not ashamed of the blog post.  A part of me really enjoys looking at theories and lyrics and trying to analyze them and always will.  But should I have done that with this song?  I don’t know.  I have seen interviews in which John Taylor has indicated that it is a good thing that the lyrics continue to be discussed like a poem would.  Maybe so.  Yet, I see Simon appeared to be slightly annoyed or frustrated when the topic comes up.  Is it because he feels embarrassed about them?  I suspect not.  I wonder if his feelings are similar to mine when I see the hits on this post or new comments.

I am always glad when someone comes to the blog for whatever purpose.  I am proud of all that Rhonda and I have written over the past 7 years.  Likewise, I’m hopeful that one blog post might lead to more searching on the site or having someone subscribe to check in daily.  I’m sure Simon feels the same way with the same hope that someone into the Reflex will lead to listening to lots more Duran.  That said, it doesn’t always lead to that.  There isn’t always more searching on the blog or new dedicated readers.  If I had to focus on one point, I would emphasis that there is a lot more here on the Daily Duranie besides talking about the Reflex just like there is a lot more to Duran than the song or a lot more to Simon’s lyrics.

So, if you have come to search for the meaning of the Reflex, that’s great.  Please, though, take some time to look around at other interpretations or other blogs.  Consider subscribing.  Come back more often.  We have lots more to offer.

-A

Seen Better Times than Right Now

Beginning with the very moment our newly minted self-hosted site was public and visible, I knew a time would come where it might go down unexpectedly, or would crash. I take the recommended measures of backing everything up on a weekly basis. In fact, I have a program that does it automatically. I also try my best to keep the site updated. That said, there is always a little niggling of fear hiding in the farthest recesses of my mind.  What would I do if the site went down?!?

I’ve only taken the very basics of website design and maintenance classes, and I still have to ask my son and husband questions like, “Remind me again what FTP stands for?”  Yes, I was able to get this site transferred, up, and running, thanks to YouTube. HOWEVER… I am the first to admit I have a lot to learn.

On Halloween, WordPress released a new version, and I immediately updated. When WordPress releases a new version, all of our plug-ins to keep the site looking nice have to be updated. Some of those plug-ins release updates right away, and some take a bit longer. I update as I’m notified and it’s a very simple process – two clicks and I’m done. Since I am on the site all week, I keep the site running without a problem. Last week though, I was not online much. I had blogged ahead of time, and because I was so busy, I didn’t check-in much after Wednesday morning. Thursday was Thanksgiving, then my family packed up and left for a camping trip.

All was fine until Saturday morning when I noticed Amanda had tweeted something about a white screen on the website. I looked myself and sure enough, the site was blank. That’s odd, I thought. I figured it would sort itself out and that it was a host issue – something I can’t really control. I went about my day because dang it, I was wine tasting and looking at property in the Paso Robles area.

Then yesterday morning, I checked again and the site was still blank. That’s when I became very concerned. The site is down. What in the hell am I supposed to do from here?!? I tried to push the thought out of my mind and enjoy the morning before we left. I kept thinking about it, knowing that I was going to have to fix it, and I had no idea how. Good times, right? Then Amanda sent a text right around noon, as we were leaving. She was nervous, and I was pretty much captive as I sat in the passenger seat of my F350 while my husband towed our trailer and headed for home. I didn’t know what I could do from the middle of nowhere, but I started reading websites to see if I could troubleshoot the problem.

Given the very little I know about websites, the one thing I kept considering was that maybe I’d missed an update for a plug-in. That will make everything go haywire, and maybe that’s what the blank screen was about. I didn’t know for sure and kept reading. There were a lot of very scary things that it could have been – like we had reached our memory limit, or perhaps a database failure – two things I didn’t even know could happen. Their symptoms though were a little different from what I was seeing, so I was hopeful it was just the plug-ins.

So I sent Amanda articles to read via text message, and in the meantime, since I was not at home, I didn’t have access to the fifty different passwords it requires in order to get into our freaking server and control panel. I’m glad it is so heavily guarded, but holy hell there are too many to know! We were sending codes and new passwords and learning different emails – it was a genuine mess and a very long sordid tale, and Amanda kept saying she didn’t know what to do and I was firm in return, “You HAVE to do this. I am in the freaking middle of NOWHERE.” 

Finally, triumphantly, Amanda got it sorted. The problem was a stupid plug-in, which she deactivated. Presto! The website was once again visible and working. Amanda saved the site! She says she can’t do the website stuff, but I have news for her: YES YOU CAN, BECAUSE YOU JUST DID IT. 

The thing is, we are not Duran Duran. We don’t have a team of people ready and able to do the work. We ARE the team. Our lives are not glamorous, and sometimes, shit goes really wrong. That was never clearer than this weekend.

And then…without much warning, my family truck dies while driving south on the 101 from Paso Robles. The funny thing is that normally, we take the 5 home, which…if you’ve ever seen our Daily Duranie tweets when Amanda and I are driving up north from my house, you know it is desolate and in the middle of nowhere. That central valley is hot, dry, and empty.  Along the 101 though, is fully populated. It’s town after town, with many more services available.

All was fine, until it wasn’t. We were on the highway, in the right lane but still ON the highway, and the truck announces that it is done. Finished. Not going any damn farther. Never mind that my entire family was in the car, along with our dog Gizmo and a 31-foot trailer in back of us. We kind of glided up the off-ramp as I started wondering how long it will be before we were hit or something terrible happened. (I think in terms of worst-case scenario, because typically in my life -that’s pretty much what happens!) Just as the truck made it to the top of the ramp, we saw that it was a gentle downward slope from there, and so we were all yelling, “Come on truck!”. Our hope was that the trailer made it up and over the top so that the momentum pushed us down the hill to a safer spot, and as luck would have it, there was a huge pull-off spot in front of us. We coasted down the hill, Walt parked the truck, he and Gavin jumped  out, opened the hood, and I started wondering how we were going to get home.

I asked Heather where we were, and she told me we were in Orcutt, California. A bell rung in my head. I know someone! My touring buddy, Lori, lives there, and so I text her. She answers back, and not only is she in the city, it turns out she’s housesitting at her moms, which is honestly right around the block from where our truck has stranded us!

Graciously, Lori picked me up so that I could get to a car rental agency. Thank goodness there were no photos, because I was mess. Our plan was to have our truck towed to a nearby Ford dealer, and the trailer towed to Lori’s mom’s house. (It is a pain in the ass to figure out how to get that damn trailer home, I have to tell you!) So, we made it home.

It was quite a weekend, I must say. When things like this happen, I can’t help but wonder if anyone in DD has these kinds of mishaps. I can’t imagine John Taylor and Gela breaking down in the middle of nowhere (and surely not with a trailer!) Or Simon troubleshooting a website. (Maybe Nick, though!) All I know is that today I am doubly grateful to be at home, in my house, struggling to get a blog posted.

The site still isn’t working perfectly. I’m having trouble getting it to edit properly, but I think that’s a WordPress thing and not a site thing. I hope. I just don’t think I can handle another White Screen of Death for a while!

-R

Rhonda’s Birthday Blog 2017!

Once upon a time, there were two women living in different regions of the country, unknown to the other.  One was a stay-at-home mom of two while the other a teacher.  Both were living their lives, seeming to be content with their day-to-day existences surrounding children and never-ending to-do lists.  On paper, these two women appeared to be polar opposites.  Yet, despite their lifestyle differences and five year age gap, they shared one very significant commonality.  They both were Duran Duran fans in the 1980s as kids.  Still, there was no reason for these women to ever cross paths as one lived in California and other in Wisconsin until events led them to the same place at the same time.

In the early 2000s, the woman in California attended a Duran Duran show near her house at a House of Blues, reawakening the love she had for the British band leading her online to find information about the band and other fans.  Around the same time, across country, the other woman was deep in her Masters of Education program and in her new job as a middle school special education teacher.  That band she loved as a kid was far from her thoughts.  Around this time, that band reunited, awakening Duranies all over the world and calling them back into the fan community.  Still, it was not until 2003, as the Wisconsin woman was finishing her masters that she heard or took note of this dramatic event.  Soon after finishing grad school, she, too, took to the internet to find all she could about this reunion. 

In 2004, the two women found themselves at the same message board, a small, clean-looking, friendly one called DuranDuranFans.com.  Due to the size, the two began to see each other’s posts, thinking not much about the other.  Then, the stars aligned again in September of that year as both flew into the city of New Orleans for Friends of Mine:  The DuranDuranFans Convention.  On the first and most of the second day, the two women stuck to their friends and didn’t exchange many words beyond simple pleasantries.  Then, during the dinner/dance portion of the convention, they both found themselves at the bar ordering vodka tonics.  They laughed a little at sharing the same favorite drink.  As the night progressed and more vodka tonics were consumed, the two women found themselves to be a part of the same group heading out onto Bourbon Street for more partying.  At one point, late at night or early in the morning, the two women realized that they were appreciating the company of the other and seemed to get along easily.

Fast forward a few months when Duran Duran announced the long-awaited Astronaut tour.  The two again found themselves in the same group planning to attend the Chicago show together.  Tickets were purchased and hotel rooms were reserved.  By the Saturday night of that weekend, they discovered that despite all of their differences, being around the other made them laugh and not just laugh a little.  No, they laughed a LOT, more than a lot, an excessive amount.  From there on out, they decided to stick together in their fandom journey, sharing a lot more than the love of a little band and an alcohol beverage.

This, obviously, is how Rhonda and I became friends.  Over time, the group surrounding us shrunk, changed members, added members and more.  Yet, at the heart, is always the two of us.  After that first touring weekend in March of 2005, we have gone to countless others.  Sometimes, we have gone to shows without each other, but, when that happens, it is always just a little weird.  Just recently Rhonda commented on a blog post that we are a packaged deal.  In 2005, on our first tour, if someone had said that to us, we probably would have laughed.  While we enjoyed hanging out that weekend, we would not have assumed that we would have formed an unbreakable bond, but we did.

This bond that began on tour in 2005, deepened at shows and a dreaded festival in 2006, grew substantially stronger as 2008 came to a close for a simple reason.  We decided that our fandom was unique and that we wanted to understand more.  Thus, we began a journey into figuring out fandom, ourselves and our friendship by researching fandom.  Through that process, we learned a lot and improved our writing and research skills.  Then, we dove into the idea of writing a daily blog about being Duran fans, which has brought us incredible amounts of joy as well as some painfully frustrating situations.  From there, we began meet-ups and organized a convention with some of our friends.  Of course, in between, we have also been to a tour or three.  Soon enough, in 2018, we will head to Indianapolis to share some of what we have found out about our female dominated fandom to a significant Popular Culture convention.  All of this, we hope, will just be the beginning.  The beginning of what, we are not sure, but one thing is very true.  I definitely would not have done any of this without her.

Now, today, I celebrate not only her early birthday (it is actually on Tuesday) but I also celebrate our friendship.  I appreciate our differences but cheer our similarities.  For example, we still do appreciate our vodka tonics:

Cheers!

Obviously, we love the heck out of going to Duran Duran shows!  They are truly our happy place.

Chula Vista

Sometimes, we share insane ideas and even follow through with them, such as when we felt it necessary to go and recreate a favorite fashion choice.

 

 

 

 

 

Many times, we enjoy planning meet-ups and conventions!  I suspect that there will be one for the Vegas show in December.  Watch this space.

Our meet up!

We definitely both appreciate the DoJo!

Of course, we created this blog and have kept it going for over 7 years now!  We are committed.  Of course, some might say that this is proof that we should be committed…

Of course, I cannot forget the love we have for Simon’s dancing!

In all seriousness, I would have not have done everything that we have done without my partner-in-crime.  Rhonda keeps me going, keeps me laughing and keeps me focused on doing what must be done.  I have learned a lot about friendship, about working with others, about being a better person and friend because of her.  I truly am the lucky one.  So, on this Sunday, I wish her an early happy birthday!  Then, on Tuesday, I get to wish her a real happy birthday!  I hope you will all join me both today and on Tuesday!

-A

Do you know where we are?

As we were deciding upon what to say in our little birthday video I posted yesterday, Amanda and I talked about what we wanted to do with the blog going forward. The thought occurred that we might be best served by directing the question to our readers.

What would YOU like to read about or have featured on the blog, particularly in the days ahead where the band is not actively touring?

We know that the two of us – Amanda and I – are at our best when we’re together. Probably because we make one another laugh.  We also recognize that when the band is touring and we’re on the road – crazy things happen that make blogging very easy.  The trouble is, blogging is not our day job, and touring doesn’t happen 24/7. So we’re forced to come up with other creative ideas!

Over the years, many have asked us to do video, or to do podcasts.  Videos from us are sporadic, and while we like doing them every once in a while, we have found that doing them regularly doesn’t seem to thrill people. We’ve tried some ideas out, but to be fair – most of our videos are not well-watched. I am sure there are a plethora of reasons for that, but one of which is that it’s difficult to watch at work. Not many people can and will take time from their evenings, or from family, to sit and watch a video. I know this because it is the same way for me here. I have almost no “me” time at home in the evenings, and I think trying to squeeze in a video on top of that is really tough. I have a hard enough time sitting down to listen to the Katy Kafe’s!

On the same token, I’ve been told that podcasts are great because many of you have the luxury of putting in earbuds or listening while doing something else, whether at work or at home. Personally, I like the idea of doing a podcast in some respects, but the challenge for Amanda and I is in logistics. We both work, and finding the time to record on a regular basis is the issue. We also feel as though we need some guidance from you as to what topics you might want us to talk about, so please let us know.

Aside from those things though, what else might you want to see from us? Is there anything you really don’t like? What about things we used to do – once upon a time we had “game day” where we put up Duran-themed puzzles and things, for instance.  October is rapidly approaching – is anyone ready for a second pumpkin carving contest?

What about the website itself? Are there features missing that you might like to see? I am pretty sure it’s about time for an update – it’s a task I’ve avoided simply because it’s easy to stick with the same thing, but I know it’s probably time to freshen up. You may have noticed the ads have been removed – we never found them to be very helpful as far as paying for the website (it is not free and we pay for it out-of-pocket).

This survey is very informal. We’re just hoping a few of you care enough to answer, whether by email (dailyduranie@gmail.com ) or on Facebook, or even in our Facebook inbox or Twitter. We’re open to your ideas, however crazy or small they may seem!

-R