Country Thunder

Well, I guess I didn’t blog yesterday. I actually did, unfortunately both the index page and the archive page have mysteriously disappeared. That just goes to show that you should never break from a habit once you have formed one in doing this sort of thing. Usually what I do is write this, then upload the index page only. The next day I will then save the index page as the archive page before starting to write the next blog. Yesterday I saved them both at the same time and uploaded them at the same time. They were both working at the time so I figured it was all working properly. After I had deleted the old index page, I went to my site to try to grab a quote that I had put in there only to find that the index page was from the previous day. No problem, I thought, and I tried to access the archive page, not there at all.

I suppose it is possible that one of you still has it in your history, unfortunately by the time you read this, it will have been over written by this. Strange irony, that. It does beg the question, if I blog and no one reads it, did I really blog at all? The answer to that question is yes, or else I would have given up on this whole thing a long time ago. In the future I will just continue to handle one upload the day I write it and the other upload the day after, it has actually saved my ass a couple of times when, for one reason or another, one of the two uploads didn’t stay uploaded. I wonder if it is a problem with my server or my ftp client, but not enough to change either, just enough that I will be a bit more careful in the future.

I know that you must all be crushed about missing out on one of my blogs, so I will do a quick recap of what you actually missed. I spent a long time talking about the community, after having read a recent guest article over at, and then had just a little blurb about the impending Country Thunder festival. I may just go into that again, as it is only a few days away now, and the signs of it are everywhere.

Yes, I will go into that again. The aforementioned festival is the bane of my existance. I absolutely loathe Country music. I mean, hell, that is not even a good title for it. Most of the people who whine those songs have never been to the country. Sure they will whine about growing up on the farm, but that doesn’t change the fact that they likely grew up in some manicured little suburb and that the boots that they wear have never touched anything other than concrete and asphalt (perhaps a dance floor as well). I know a lot of genres of music are like that, possibly all of them. You have your “Gangsta rappers”, some of whom I understand are from the ‘hood’, while others are from the same ‘hood’ that a lot of us came from. Then there is the rock scene, where every band seems to claim that they were living out of their drummer’s van for a couple of years eating nothing but ramen noodles waiting for that one big break, while in reality they were just living with their wealthy parents in SoCal. That is the way of the musician, I guess I shouldn’t slight Country “artists” for that.

You may have noticed that I used the word ‘whine’ a couple of times in the previous paragraph. I did not mean that in a bitching sense, I meant that they sound like crying three year olds when they sing. Though that is more in the male artists than the female. This is one of the two things about the songs that really annoy me, the other is the combination of slide guitar and guitars that have a thing called a “b-bender” (which is like a whammy bar, but works on only one string of the guitar, the b-string, and makes the music sound even more like a crying child). I am pretty sure that it is not really healthy, but I actually begin to get angry when I have to listen to country music for too long at a time, more on that below.

The last thing about the music that I can not stand is the “Country Accent”. It is not an accent. If you go to Boston, you will hear people with that accent, similar in New York or any place you visit. The “Country Accent” seems to be an accent that one can be infected by while living anywhere in the U.S., it simply involves trying to sound like you have a southern accent when you really don’t, and the end result is that you really sound/look like an idiot. I don’t mean while they are singing the songs, I mean while they are talking. These country artists keep that twangy, weird accent while they are talking to reporters and on talk shows, it is just sick. To site a couple of examples, from the genre of music I listen to, of other artists not doing it, look at Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Axl Rose from the tragically doomed Guns and Roses. They both had very distinct singing voices that you either loved or hated, but sounded damn near human while actually speaking. Dave Mustaine in particular, as I heard a radio interview with him, over the course of the thirty minutes of listening to him talk I couldn’t believe that he was the man behind that acid-like, gravelly (is that a word?) tone in their songs.

But wait, I was planning to talk about the festival…Here we go. Despite my best efforts to try to find the actual population of florence, all of the estimates that I find look exactly like This. There are certainly not 17,000 free people living in this town, as the 14 new home constructions in the last year should prove (I think they count the inmates for tax benefit reasons). I have heard the number 10,000 thrown around a few times to count the number of people in the 4 male and one female prisons here. That would make the population be 7,000, which I still think is about double the actual population, but I can not find the real numbers on the internet. What I can find is a total school attendance, Kindergarten to 12th grade, of less than a thousand. I think that would support my theory that the population is far lower, but that is merely speculation. The site that I linked to said that there are 2,900 women in florence, I believe that the prison holds about 500 of them, bringing the actual population to about 2,400 women. Then, assuming that the split of men to women is nearly equal, I guess there are about 5,000 free people living in this town. That is all speculation, but I bet my number is far closer than theirs.

Now, throw in Contry Thunder. I don’t know the numbers, and I can’t find them on the internet, but imagain a show like OZZFEST, that has as many die-hard fans, and runs for four days, with ticket prices starting at free at the shops in town. There must be hundreds of thousands of people that go to the show, and the ones who camp there will invariably come into town for things like ice, water, beer, soda and chips. Never do they buy anything like, well, you know, actual food, only the items that I listed. The entire town is in chaos for four days.

Florence has two Circle K stores, placed strategically directly across the street from one another(I say that this was strategic, ’cause why in the hell else would a company put two stores within a 12 second walk of each other?). Both of them bring in those ugly port-a-potty type things (four each last year) to accomodate all of the people that show up there to buy beer, ice, water, soda and chips, never anything else at the Circle K either, as I found out from conversations with the managers at them.

At any rate, when there are like say 50,000 people invading a town of 5,000 people, it is quite insane. The roads leading to town have been revamped since last year, but the rest of the town remains the same. There are barely two lanes on main street, and they are made with a patchwork of pavement that has two inch gaps in it every fifteen feet (that is quite literal, not cracking pavement, that is how they had planned it, back in the forties, also I think it is concrete, not asphalt).

It is a major economic boom for all of the stores and resaraunts here, of course, but it is also a bit much for any of us to deal with. We all, where I work, have to work pretty much from open to close to accomodate it. The people who deliver us ice, normally twice a week in the warmer months, have to deliver it sometimes twice a day during this festival. Also, the people who work at the various museums here in town have a large spike in traffic (I think that is the leading reason that tourism has been so much higher in the last year, we actually got a group from Germany in the store a week or so ago, when I asked why they decided to visit florence for their vacation, they said that they had found a link to the tourism board from the Country Thunder website.). Perhaps German children rebel against groups like Rammstein by listening to Country?

The only real problem with this whole thing is that I literally get angry when I have to listen to country music. We play country music, exclusively, on the radio while the show is in town. I don’t get angry like I am going to go and kill, or anything like that, it just shortens my temper and makes me not the frienly butcher I usually am. I certainly don’t think that there is a drug that could help me, if you dislike something to the point of anger, the only solution is to stop doing that something. If you don’t have a choice in the matter, I guess you should look for your happy place. I can usually keep from being too angry or disgusted by the music if I just replay some old Metallica album in my head. Yet, sometimes when the combination of the slide guitar and ‘b-bender’ hit, I can no longer block it out. (I must say, again, that I am sure that it is not healthy to hate something so much, but I do.) My only respite is to turn off the radio, or go far enough away from it that I can no longer hear it, which is difficult on the four busiest days of the year.

I don’t think I have yet killed anyone in a “Country Music” induced rage, but if I had, would I actually remember it?

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