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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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How Do You Afford Your Rock'n'Roll Lifestyle?

You don't. That's how. You give it your heart and The Rock eats it, spits it out and laughs in your face. Unless you're in the lucky top one percent who "make it". Me? I've missed the boat. The rock'n'roll boat. It left the dock about ten years ago methinks. I shoulda been a rock chick. GodDAMN but I shoulda been a rock chick! I shoulda learned to really LISTEN to music before it was too late. I shoulda channeled my anger/frustration/passion into music. Because music moves me. More than most anything else besides books, music moves me. Not shit music. Not music that makes me tap my toe - because the fucking television jingle to order a mattress makes me tap my toe and wag my head stupidly. I'm talking about the kind of music that gloms onto you like a leech. It traps you in it's melodic web, rips your chest open, holds your heart aloft and howls like a banshee as you shed tears of pain, of joy.

What is it about the rock that makes us roll? It's the soundtrack to our lives, that's what. Take a shite romantic comedy, add a killer soundtrack and you just might have a hit on your hands.. It ain't about the picture.. it's about the way the music makes us feel about life and ourselves while viewing the picture. Music is mood, ambience, adrenaline, personality... LIFE.

There was a time when I'd stand before the mirror, hair shellacked into a glorious poof of bang and beautiful wings around my ears, blue eye shadow blazing in the afternoon sunlight, hair brush in lieu of microphone clutched in my hand as I belted out "We built this city.... We built this city on ROCK AND ROLL!" Which incidentally was voted the the WORST single ever recorded placing before Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby even. Regardless, I rocked the shit outta Starship in my yellow and white checked bedroom while Sasha the dog cringed in fear. If M-TV could only see me, I'd think.

I was too young for Pat Benatar and Joan Jett. I started to care about music while wearing plaid flannel shirts to school so you can imagine my favorite bands. Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Chick rockers? Didn't know any. And then there was Gwen. No Doubt exploded and I wanted to be Gwen Stefani. I wanted to walk in the spiderwebs dammit! But I sighed, applied for colleges like all the other good girls and satisfied myself with bleaching my hair platinum. Then promptly forgot about my rock'n'roll aspirations. Besides, I can't sing for shit. That doesn't stop a lot of folks I know, but still.. my rock dreams died along with my good taste and I began to listen to Coldplay, Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews. Until a good friend of mine gave me a talking to. What? There is cool music out there that's not on the radio? Wilco? Who? Is there a sexy lead singer? Do they have a video on M-TV, I wanted to know.

After he slapped me my friend sat me down and made me listen to Wilco, Son Volt, The Replacements and so forth. The only reason he agreed to continue communicating with me was my immense love for the oldies and the sorta oldies... The Temptations, The Supremes, Elvis, Lou Reed, The Ramones. He nearly ended the friendship when he found a Missy Elliot album in my collection. But this musical revelation occurred in my mid-twenties. I'd already blown all my chances at rock chick stardom, was deeply entrenched in my journalism career.

I've come to terms with my fringe rock'n'roll status. Whenever someone can play a tune on a guitar that I can recognize, I am thrilled to the gills. "You can play Stairway To Heaven!" I grin. Doesn't matter what song they play. Zeppelin or Britney Spears... I'm just ecstatic they can bring a familiar ditty to life with their very own magical hands.

The Surge tried to teach me how to play the guitar once. I was super dedicated! "I'm going to be playing shit before you know it!" I boldly announced. Five minutes later I declared the lesson over. Who knew those tiny fucking strings were so hard to manipulate? Strong bastards.

So I'm resigned to audience participation when it comes to rock'n'roll. The Surge... he lives to play music. Most of the world - well, they laud lawyers, doctors, bankers. I say that's a safe bet. A safe career choice. Sure, it ain't easy. But it's a safe choice, THE thing to say when you wanna impress Grandma. "I'm in Med School." You know what takes watermelon sized balls? To throw everything into being a musician when you know your shit ain't got a chance in hell at mainstream success. To eschew all the safe bet careers and doggedly tour the world playing music to medium-sized crowds because you Must. Play. Music.

Sometimes The Surge bitches, says he can't take another tour, wants to kill his brother. But really he loves it - the touring, his brother. He wouldn't be who he is without one or the other. He was born to stand on a stage and play music in front of a crowd. I was born to stand in the audience. And I'm cool with that. We wouldn't work as well as we do if it were any other way.


City Of Dreams

Editing has always been a major part of the news industry. I've known how to edit for quite some time. What with editing video featuring fires, traffic accidents and dead people, I never really took a shine to the task.

Recently I've been exploring editing software and man, I am in love. I'll start editing some video I've taken, I look up what seems like minutes later and four hours have flown by. So you'll have to excuse me for posting this latest barrage of videos. I won't do it all the time. Maybe every Saturday. Yeah.. Something like that. And hopefully they'll get better.

Yesterday I worked on this video I made with one of The Surge's songs off his recent album. The song City of Dreams has always felt personal to me. I heard it right after I moved to NYC and I remember exploring the storied streets of Manhattan singing City of Dreams to myself. Check it out..


I'm A Million Different People From One Day To The Next...

Inexplicably, today I found myself walking down the sidewalk with a bounce in my step. And smiling! FOR NO OBVIOUS REASON. I know, what an asshole.

I've been on The Zoloft for nearly three weeks now. I've noticed a difference. With no side effects. Imagine that! NO side effects. Except one. And you aren't going to fucking believe it. You will hate me. I hate me. The only noticeable side effect is no appetite. Seriously! I have no appetite. Like, even nachos don't sound good. What the fuck! I've hit depression jackpot! The Zoloft makes me not feel like eating! Which is huuuuge!

My whole life I've eaten waaaay too much at every meal. Grandpa used to ask if I had "hollow legs" in an effort to understand where my 5'4 body fit all the shit I packed into it. As it turns out, right around the age of 26 I discovered two things; my legs aren't hollow and my ass was fat.

So. In summary. I'm walking down the sidewalk with a bounce in my step, smiling for no apparent reason, and The Zoloft makes me skinny. Sweet! Aside from the glorious side effect, I've noticed a big difference in my outlook. I no longer feel like hanging onto the floor for dear life about five times a day as I sob and snot into the hardwoods. Nope. None of that. And I don't cry when I wake up. If I had an appetite I'd eat nachos for breakfast in triumphant celebration.

Polka Dots And Moonbeams

In which I send my bedmate a love video:


The Skyline I Never Saw

"September 11, 2001

Today is a day I will remember until the day I die. I, along with the rest of the world watched as terrorists bombed The United States of America. It truly feels like armageddon.

This morning Casey and I turned on the television to see the World Trade Center on fire. Before our eyes, this landmark, this staple of the New York City, skyline came crumbling to the ground. Terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes. Two flew straight into the twin towers of the trade center and then as people - fifty thousand people - tried to escape the rubble the buildings collapsed to the ground on top of hundreds of rescuers.

Thousands of beautiful, innocent people.. all dead. I sit here tonight watching the video from today's events. My children will watch this video forever. School children will watch this video as I was raised watching grainy black and white video of the attacks at Pearl Harbor.

New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, all these cities are closed as America watches and waits. America will never be the same. All flights and trains have been suspended. Wall Street is closed. Words are worthless. This, I believe is the beginning of World War 3. America has never seen anything like this. We have never been attacked like this. I am mad! Keep your fucking war in your own country. Leave my country alone!

People continue to be pulled from the rubble tonight. Clips of video show citizens of the Middle East celebrating our loss. In my shock I have not yet mentioned that as Casey and I rushed to get to our respective news stations word came in that a commercial airliner crashed into the Pentagon. The heart of our nation's defense under siege. I have seen no video from movies that even compares to this. The fourth airliner was also hijacked and crashed in Pennsylvania, reportedly on it's way to Camp David or the White House.

Thousands dead in the Pentagon, thousands dead at the World Trade Center. I truly can't write anymore but I will sum up my day. I went into work at nine in the morning - I work with some amazing people. Thirteen hours later I put down my headphones after producing an hour and a half long newscast without commercial breaks and cried. This day has passed in a blur. Images burned into my brain forever.

America's innocence and carefree days are gone, buried forever in the ash of the World Trade Center."

So. I realize the reasons behind the attacks on the trade center are complex.. and that America wasn't entirely innocent of wrong doing. The fact remains, those folks who died that day had nothing to do with that. What can be said about 9/11 that hasn't been said before? Today I wandered around downtown Manhattan. It's strange - the World Trade Center was a part of a skyline I have never seen. I only know New York post 9/11. But what I know so far makes me proud as hell to be a New Yorker. This city is like no other. It's the stuff of dreams, the heartbeat of the world.

The mood near the trade center today was a potpourri of circus and somber. The crazies come out to play on days like these. Aside from stumbling through a protest (click here to check it out) about some conspiracy theory or other it was a fairly somber affair. As the eyes of the country are on New York City I thought I would let you view today's events through my eyes