Sunday, May 30, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Days 28, 29 & 30 - The End.

This is the end!  I was bad about it the last couple of days, but at least I'm finishing on day 30!  I think I'm going to create a page up at the top for this challenge, and put all my answers in one place.  I'm not doing that today, though.  Okay, on to the last three songs, and then some more info.

Day 28 - A song that makes you feel guilty:  I'm not even sure what to do with this.  Why would a song make you feel guilty?  Guilty like how?  All that comes to mind when I read this question is that song Guilty, by Gravity Kills, but honestly, it's not that it makes me feel guilty about anything, it's just the name of the song.  I give up.

Day 29 - A song from your childhood:  Ohhh!  In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry totally reminds me of doing yard work or going out with my dad when I was a kid.  I feel like every single time I got in his truck to go to the hardware store (which was A LOT), that song would be on the oldies station on the radio.  I still love the song, to this day.

Day 30 - Your favorite song at this time last year:  At this time last year, I think I had just bought my tickets  to see Jason Mraz at Mohegan, and I was pretty sufficiently all-consumed with Mr. A-Z.  If It Kills Me, Butterfly, and You and I Both were all strong contenders for the position of favorite, but You and I Both helped inspire me to get the end of my first novel written, so I think I have to go with that one.  Also on heavy rotation in my car, though, was The Nate Mott Band, and here's a link back to my post about them, which contains links to their website and MySpace page.  These guys are great - they're local, my former intern used to play bass for them, but I'm not even plugging them because of that - they're just a really great band, and I want to introduce everyone I can to them.  Check them out.

Wow - the 30 Day Music Challenge is over!  And I think it worked to get me blogging a little more, even if my blog has been completely music-centered for the last month.  Whatever.  I have a whole bunch of other post ideas saved, it's just a matter of finding the time to get them written.  Stay tuned.

I started working on my "about" page this weekend.  It's at the top of the blog, under the heading "Who's Susie."  It's going to be an ever-growing collection of quick ones about me.  A little insight into my head, I guess.  So that's a step in the right direction, too.

So this weekend is memorial Day weekend, and I've been taking full advantage of the beautiful weather and extra free time.  Friday afternoon was a few hours of outside 2-on-2 volleyball, and that was a great way to kick off my weekend, as exhausting as it was.  Dinner was grilled chicken with homemade marinade and salad dressing, made from the herbs I'm growing around the deck - delicious!  Saturday morning, I took Murphster for a looooong walk on the Blackstone River Bikeway, which is beautiful, then did a little yard work and went to a 30th birthday party last night.  Today we took Murphster to my parents' house for a little barbeque, including a venture to Gaspee Arts & Crafts.  Tomorrow will hopefully be some more gardening, and some around the house chores.  I'm looking forward to a relaxing, around the house kind of day.

Happy Memooooooooorial Day!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stop and smell the flowers

I'm having a wonderful day today so far (knock on wood, I guess).  I don't just mean relative to the shitshow that was my day yesterday, but in the overall, grand scheme of things, today is a good day. 

I found a skirt and top that I haven't worn in a while, and that made me feel a little better about how I've been hating my whole wardrobe lately, plus, neither item needed to be ironed, which is a total bonus, especially considering I haven't worn them since last summer. 

Then I made it out of the house on time this morning, which hasn't been happening much lately. 

When I started my car, I heard the DJ finish a sentence and then Lay Me Down by the Dirty Heads came on.  That's unquestionably my favorite song this week.  When that ended, I put on my iPod and listened to a bunch of other sunshiny music on the way to work with the windows open, so glad this week's thunderstorms limited themselves to just overnight last night and were gone by this morning.

And despite the windows being open, I kind of like my hair today, messy and pulled back half-way as it is.

Everyone I've encountered today has been refreshingly polite and friendly.

I ran out to the post office to mail my In2Books class gift, which I'm SO excited about, so that felt good.  On the way out, I got within about 10 yards of my car before I realized that I had left my keys back in my office.  But since it was a nice day, it didn't even matter.  I laughed and went back in to get my keys.  While I was out, I ran to Whole Foods to pick up something for lunch, and my falafel is delicious.  I stopped to admire the flowers and plants on my way out - they had these beautiful roses, so you almost couldn't help but stop to smell them.  Roses are so fragrant.  In my living room the other day, I could smell the rose bush outside, so I went and looked at it, and there were only 2 flowers open.  But I could smell them inside!

I've gotten a few old, stagnant things finished and out the door at work, I feel surprisingly not tired today, for a change, the new poison ivy stuff I bought works like a dream and I'm not all itchy anymore, my phone and email have been pleasantly quiet all day; it's been a lovely, lovely day so far.  I hope it keeps up!

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 27

Day 27 - A song that you wish you could play:  Higher Ground by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on bass.  Flea is a god.  I'm SUCH a huge fan of him and everything that he does.  The man has been playing bass in an amazing rock band for two decades, making millions along the way, and during their recent hiatus, he decided to go back to school to study music theory.  He runs a music conservatory in LA, called the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, and they do a great thing.  J bought a bass for his birthday last year, and I was SO excited - then I actually tried to learn to play it once.  Once.  It's hard!  I keep telling myself that I will try again, but I sort of doubt that I will.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Days 25 & 26

I'm starting to wonder whether I'm going to be able to finish the month on time.  I'm making it my goal to actually post the Day 30 response on May 30th.  Although, there are 31 days in May, so I guess I'd still be within the month if I posted it a day late . . .

Day 25 - A song that makes you laugh: TOAST! by Heywood Banks.  This is hilarious.  I can almost guarantee that no one has ever heard of it, but you should all look it up in iTunes, and at least listen to the 30 second snippit.  It's hilarious.  There is a story behind my love for it.  I play indoor volleyball in the winter in a league that is about 40 minutes from home.  I carpool with my friend M, who has an iPhone.  Somehow, we started playing "the iPhone game" on the way to and from volleyball, wherein the driver picks a random word, the passenger looks it up in iTunes and we enjoy the 30 second snippits of whatever comes up.  It's more fun than you might imagine.  One night the word was "toast," and this song came up.  M downloaded it immediately.  Unfortunately, the rest of Heywood Banks' songs are not nearly this entertaining.

Day 26 - A song that you can play on an instrument:  Does used to be able to play count?  Yikes, I don't play any instruments anymore.  I'm trying to learn When the Saints Go Marching In on piano (keyboard, actually) right now.  I think I can still play Heart and Soul on piano, too.  At one time I could play the Cheers! theme song on clarinet.  Eesh - for someone who loves music so much, you'd hope I had a little more talent, huh?  Nope, not at all.

Music Lover's Award!

Thanks you Christiejolu at Tales From My Head for giving me the Music Lover's Award!

For this award I have to:

1. List your top 10 favorite songs on your iPod
2. State what color your iPod is
3. Give this award to 11 music loving bloggers

Here we go:

1)  Top 10 iPod songs:
My tastes change like the wind, but here's a list for now, in no particular order 
(this was WICKED hard, by the way):

  Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z
  Nobody's Listening, Linkin Park
  Don't Follow, AIC
  High Road, Fort Minor
  New Fang, Them Crooked Vultures
  Fall Through Glass, Bushwalla
  Missing My Baby, G. Love
  You and Your Heart, Jack Johnson
  You and I Both, Jason Mraz
  Uprising, Muse

2)  The color of my iPod(s):
I have two.  I have a pink 4G Nano (I don't know what generation it is, but it's the first generation they made in color), and I have an old-school 30G video iPod.  I think it's the first generation they put out with video.  It's OLD.  I used to just have my pink one, but it filled up, and I was having to delete songs to put more on, and that REALLY sucked, so I took over J's old 30G, since he uses his phone for all his music now anyway.  I still use my Nano when I run (Ha!  I can't even tell you the last time I ran) because it has Nike+.

3)  Pick 11 music loving bloggers:
I think this is even more difficult than picking my 10 favorite songs.  I can't come up with 11, I know I can't, especially without giving it back to where I got it from.  ;)  Most of the music blogs I read are based off of commercial sites, and as far as I know, that doesn't count.  A few of my book and writing blogger friends are totally into music, but I don't really expect them to participate because their blogs have cohesive themes (unlike mine) that are not music related, so I'm stealing Christiejolu's idea, and I'm cheating by not passing this on, but others should feel free to yoink this award and pass it on.  You book and writing ladies know who you are, and should take this and post it for yourselves if you are so inclined.

Monday, May 24, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Days 23 & 24

I can't believe may is almost over!  I sort of feel like doing this challenge has made the month go by even faster.  But at least next weekend is a three-day holiday weekend! Yay!

Day 23 - A song that you want to play at your wedding:  Since I'm already married, and since I don't play any instruments, I guess the appropriate inquiry would be "a song that you had played at your wedding."  To that end, aside from all of the songs that were chosen as soundtracks for particular events throughout the day (first dance, cake cutting, blah, blah, blah), one of the few songs that I asked the DJ to please make sure he played was Connected by the Stereo MCs.  I can't really explain why I love this song so much, but I always have.  I love it.  And it never gets old.  Crank it, the louder the better.

Day 24 - A song that you want to play at your funeral:  I don't think that my funeral is up to me.  As far as I'm concerned, it's rude to tell your survivors what you want done with your body after your dead.  They're the ones who have to deal with your loss and who have to somehow find the closure and comfort that they need to move on, so they should be the ones deciding how best to do that.  I'll be dead, so it really won't affect me at all.  That aside, I hope that my funeral will be more of a celebration than a depressing event, and I hope that something upbeat and fun can play, like Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles.  I could see that.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Days 21 & 22

 Day 21 - A song that you listen to when you’re happy:  Everything!  Okay, how about Upside Down by Jack Johnson.  I mean really, everything by Jack Johnson is so chill and happy, you can't not like it.

Day 22 - A song that you listen to when you’re sad:  Sometimes when I'm having a bummer day, I like to listen to Nutshell by Alice in Chains.  That song is SUCH a bummer, but so awesome at the same time. 

I'm in a rush today - sorry to be so brief, but I got a birthday party to get to!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 20

The month is flying by!  Since we're now about 2/3 of the way through, here's another link back to day one, just to refresh your memory.  In the alternative (because I'm a lawyer, and lawyers say things like that), you can click the nifty little tag at the bottom, and it will bring up all the posts in one place.  I know that's blog common sense, but tags are a whole new world for me.  I never bothered with them before I had recurring themes up in here.  Okay, onward and upward!

Day 20 - A song that you listen to when you’re angry:  Depends on my mood, really, and what/who I'm angry at, and whether I want to chill out or stay angry, you know?  Because everyone knows that sometimes it's nice to just revel in your anger for a little while - really roll around in it and eat it up.  When I'm real angry, that's generally what I'm looking for.  And then I like to be in my car, where I can blast something fitting and sing along at the top of my lungs.  Mmmm, that's a nice kind of angry.  I like Linkin Park - Crawl Back In (there's a lot of LP, actually),  Helmet - Unsung, or pretty much the entire Rage Against the Machine Battle of Los Angeles album.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shazam! Tags of the Week - May 19

On my old phone, I used to use VCast from Verizon to identify songs that I liked on the radio.  When I switched to an android phone, I lost VCast.  But I gained Shazam.  It's a fabulous music identification app, for all kinds of phones.  You just push "tag now" and hold the phone up to the speaker, and it tells you the song title, artist and album.  I love it.

So, I've decided that I'm going to start posting some of my weekly (or bi-weekly, at the rate I manage to update my blog) favorite tags.  A top 5 of whatever tags I have in my phone, I guess.  I generally know nothing about a lot of the bands that I'll be posting about, these are just radio songs (mostly college radio, some just random rock radio) that I've discovered in the past week or so, and sort of fallen in love with.  Some might be brand spanking new, some might be sort of old - I have no idea.  Chances are, once I have some more time, you'll be hearing about a lot of these bands again, though.  This is installment number one.

1) LAY ME DOWN - Dirty Heads feat. Rome

I'm starting to wonder if I could ever get sick of this song.  It reminds me A LOT of Sublime, but maybe a little more rap-ish, and yet happy and fun at the same time - almost a cross between Sublime and Citizen Cope.  It's effing great.  Based on this song alone, I might need this album very soon.

2) MOUNTAIN MAN - The Crash Kings

I've tagged this a few times.  I always think of it as the "afterlife song," because I never remember the name of it (hence the multiple tags).  It's modern rock, along the same lines as Cage the Elephant, I guess.  Good stuff.

3) THE HIGH ROAD - Broken Bells

This is sort of unique, sort of electronic and ethereal at the same time.  I don't know- it caught my ear.

4) SPACESHIP - Puddle of Mudd

Puddle of Mudd is obviously not a new band, but I don't know how old this song is.  All I know is that I've tagged it about 4 times in the past couple of weeks, because I keep forgetting who it is, and I want to save it in my phone so that next time I go hunting iTunes for new stuff, I remember to buy it.  I think it's pretty standard PoM, but it's so catchy, and somehow sort of hot at the same time.

5) LETTERS FROM THE SKY - Civil Twilight

This is sort of haunting, sort of beautiful - it reminds me a little of Radiohead/Coldplay, I think, but maybe that's just the singer's voice.  Either way, it's a pretty great song.

Enjoy, and stay tuned for further random Shazam recommendations!

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 19

Day 19 - A song from your favorite album:  I listened to U2 all day toay, and I gotta say, Joshua Tree is easily one of the best albums EVER.  I'm not kidding, beginning to end, it's all just so, so good.  And Running to Stand Still is way up there on my list of favorite songs.  I almost forgot how much I love it until today when I put U2 on for the day.  It's about a heroin addict in the projects in Dublin, but for such an ugly subject, it really is a beautiful song.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Days 15-18

Wow - this is the worst I've been all month - four days!  Gracious!  I did a lot of playing in the yard over the weekend, and have been very busy at work this past week or so.  I have a bunch of things that I want to blog about, too, so stay tuned for some more interesting updates!

Day 15 - A song that describes you:  This is going to sound so bad, but sometimes I think that Over My Head (Cable Car) by The Fray is my personal theme song.  I often feel like everyone around me really does know that I'm in over my head - this applies at work, with owning a house, or pretty much anything else I'm trying to do.  I often feel like I'm still a little kid that snuck in to sit at the grown-ups table, and now I have no idea what everyone is talking about or what's actually going on around me.  The runner up/tie score = Fighter by Cristina Aguilera.  I'm not going into why again, but here's the link to my story.  It's a super-long and sort of depressing post, so don't say I didn't warn you.

Day 16 - A song that you used to love but now hate:  Argh.  I don't like having to post about things that I "hate."  This is SO HARD for me to pick.  The closest I can get, off the top of my head right now, is maybe Smooth, by Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas.  I really loved it when it was first out, and to a certain extent, I'm starting to like it again now, but it was just SO over played - but I still don't hate it, really.  Even stuff I loved when I was a kid - Milli Vanilli, and Vanilla Ice, for example - I still really get a kick out of listening to, and I can't say I hate it.

Day 17 - A song that you hear often on the radio:  I don't listen to the radio all that much anymore, but when I do, I feel like I've been hearing Alive by Pearl Jam a lot lately.  Weird, right?  That song is so old.  I recently erased 92.3, PROFM, from my presets in the car (that's the local top-40, pop station, for all of you non-local readers), and that was one of the best decisions I've made so far this year.  OMG, it's so liberating to not have that station set anymore!  I replaced it with 92.9, which is a Cape Cod station that seems to play a lot of 90s alternative rock-type stuff, and I think that's why I've been hearing PJ and RHCP on the radio so much lately.

Day 18 - A song that you wish you heard on the radio: ANYTHING by Bushwalla!  I love the man and his music so, so much, and he gets no love.  Please, please, dear readers, do yourself a favor and check him out!  If I have to pick one song for this challenge, I guess it would be Gangsta.  BW has a new album due out next month, and if you're on the West Coast - he's doing house shows (yes, he plays in your living room!) this summer, and his album release shows are coming up in LA and SD on 6/8 and 6/3.  A close second for this one = anything by Citizen CopeCheck him out, too.  And if I have to pick a song, I guess I gotta go with Son's Gonna Rise.  Cope is touring with O.A.R. this summer, so if you have a chance, go check him out!

Friday, May 14, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Days 13 & 14

These two are sort of similar to me, but I tried to separate them as much as I could.

Day 13 - A song that is a guilty pleasure: I think of this as a song that no one should really love, but I do anyway.  I've often said that I'll never apologize for or defend my taste in music, and I don't think anyone should, but this is a BAD song.  Rich Girl, by Gwen Stefani is a horrible, horrible satire? parody? take on the Fiddler on the Roof song If I Were a Rich Man, which I completely love.  Fiddler is one of my favorite classic musicals, and Gwen Stefani did a number on that song.  Despite all of this, though - I love it and am incapable of shutting it off whenever it comes on.

Day 14 - A song that no one would expect you to love:  Again, I don't apologize; I like what I like, and my tastes are really broad, so I'm not sure anything I like would really come as a surprise to anyone.  I love that Taylor Swift song You Belong With Me.  I really like Taylor Swift.  Not all of her music, necessarily, but she seems like a pretty down-to-earth kind of girl, and she can sing, and she writes her own stuff.  Sure her songs are sort of teenage bubblegum kind of songs, but she's 17 or something!  It's sort of refreshing to me that she's writing her own songs, and she's writing about what she knows.  Keep it up, kid.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Occasional Adventures in Baking: Part 2

The Baked Brownie

I'm on a bit of a quest to learn to bake a few things really well, but I only want to make things that are impressive.  A few months ago, it was red velvet cupcakes, which went very well.  This time it's homemade, from scratch brownies.

I found this recipe, from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  I also found a lot of bloggers raving about this recipe, so I figured it must be good.

It was delicious.

I wish I had pictures to share, but somehow, I've made them twice now and failed at taking pictures both times.  A few notes, though - they were super, super fudgy.  Like, I cut them pretty small because eating one is almost like eating a hunk of chocolate fudge, and getting them out of the pan was more like trying to get fudge out than brownies, in my experience.  They were hard to get out of the pan clean, and a gooey mess to cut up.  I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate baking chips, Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder, and International Delights Mocha Latte instant mix instead of the instant espresso mix.  They were better the first time, and were almost undercooked the second time.  I thought they hadn't cooked right the first time because I used a darker baking pan, so the second time, I turned down the temp in the oven a little to try and compensate, and obviously that was a bad decision - they were better the first time, using a dark pan must not have made a difference, they were really just meant to be that fudgy.

The final verdict - I'm going to keep trying a few other recipes, I think.  These were wicked good, and pretty easy but I'm not commited to them yet, and I want to see what else is out there.  I won't move on to a new baked good until I can master the brownies, so stay tuned for more experimentation.

In the meantime, I did learn how to frost a double layer cake a couple of weeks ago.  Here's a picture of that (albeit not a very good picture).

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 12

Day 12 - A song from a band you hate:  I preface this by saying that I don't think I truly hate any bands or solo artists.  I have preferences, and there's a lot out there that I'm not into, but it's tough to say I hate anything.  One band I've always had something against, though, is the Smashing Pumpkins.  I'm not sure why - maybe it's Billy Corgan's cue-ball head or whiny voice, maybe I have a repressed memory involving some of their work, I just don't know, but I've never been a fan.  My song choice for today is that awful rat-in-a-cage song - Bullet With Butterfly Wings (I had to look it up).  Sad, it's such a pretty name for a song, and then the song has to go and suck so hard.  Blech.  Today's challenge was no fun.  I'm going to post something new and fun over this now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 11

Day 11 - A song from your favorite band:  I hate favorites!  And really, just any song?  Any song at all?  This one is kind of dumb.  There's no reason behind it, no oomph.  But again, in the spirit of completing the challenge properly, I'll choose one of my favorite bands and answer the question.  Let's say that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favorite band today.  If I can pick any song at all, I'm going to go with Johnny, Kick a Hole in the Sky from the Mother's Milk album.  I heard it on my way into work this morning, and it really is awesome.  It sort of defines classic RHCP, in my opinion.  I love Flea.  Incidentally, the Peppers are recording a new album right now with their new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer.  Fingers crossed that he can even come close to the magic that was John Frusciante's contribution to the band.  Look for the new album late 2010 - early 2011.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In which I meet Chuck Palahniuk!

Chuck Palahniuk's newest book, Tell-All, came out last week.  In celebration of this monumental occasion, Chuck is currently on a book tour.  J and I went to see him last Wednesday night, Cinco de Mayo, in Boston.  Unfortunately, there are two stops on this tour where Chuck isn't signing/personalizing books, and Boston was one of them.  Nonetheless, I got a pre-signed copy of Tell-All(two actually), and afterwards, Chuck was gracious enough to sign my copy of Rant, which I happened to have with me because I was reading it at the time.  The whole night was amazing.  I had such a good time, and it was so, so cool to meet one of my favorite authors and to get a little more insight into what's going on in his head.  Plus I had never been to Cambridge, and I'm now looking forward to going back to explore Harvard Square a little more - it's such a cool area, I wish we had more time to wander around.  The event was unlike any author event I've ever been to, and likely unlike any that I will ever attend.  It was about two hours long and filled to the brim with awesome.  Thank you, Chuck, for being such a cool author.

Chuck started off with a brief talk about what and why he writes, and then played a game in which he threw giant, inflatable Oscar awards into the crowd, and had a race to blow them up.  Winners were given inflatable turkeys. (!!)  Next he read a new short story, Knock-Knock, which he wrote for this book tour and has already sold to Playboy (look for it in the December 2010 issue) - it was hilarious, in a way.  In typical Chuck form, Knock-Knock is an experiment in format - in it, he tells the story of a young man watching his father suffer and die of cancer, but the story takes the form of stand-up comedy.  The story is laced with more politically incorrect jokes than you've ever heard in such a short time, and in that way, it's laugh-out-loud funny.  Read it, if you get the chance.  It's great.

After another round of blowing stuff up, Chuck was interviewed by the owner of a local Cambridge movie theater.  No offense intended, but the interviewer was bad.  J and I agreed that at times, we felt embarrassed for the guy and for Chuck, because they guy just seemed completely unprepared.  It was interesting to hear Chuck's take on his new book and a little about what went into
writing Tell-All, which was great, but I hated the intervewer.  Finally Chuck took a whole bunch of questions from the crowd, giving everyone who asked a question an inflatable turkey for their trouble (Thank you, Chuck - my turkey is now proudly displayed in my office!), before a final game of blowing stuff up, during which he stuck around and chatted with people who cared to approach him individually.  Maybe it was wrong to ask him to sign Rant for me, when this wasn't supposed to be a signing event, but he was very kind in chatting with me for a few minutes, and completely gracious in signing it for me.  

I love that Chuck appears at first glance like a big nerd, but then you read his books or listen to him read them, and it's so raw and graphic and awesome, you'd never expect it out a guy that appears so quiet and subdued.  He confessed to being a "social retard," claiming that the games and special short story and everything are akin to coping mechanisms to help him be with people - something you would never, ever guess from reading his books.  He re-confirmed for me what I have always said about him - that his stories are all romance stores at their heart - he's just finding a new and better way to say I love you.  Awesome.

Afterwards, on our way out, we ran into Chuck and the guy who had appeared to be in charge all night (publicist, maybe?) as they were leaving out the side door of the church where the event was held.  J asked Chuck if he wouldn't mind taking a picture with me, and the other guy volunteered to take one of all of us.  A perfect end for a great night.  I haven't started Tell-All yet, and I just finished Rant yesterday.  I'm holding off on reading Tell-All for a few weeks, so I still have one more new Chuck book to look forward to.

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 10

Yay for making it through ten days, and still being mostly on top of this little challenge!
In case you're new here and wondering what this is all about, here's the link back to the original post for this little challenge, now that I'm 1/3 of the way through.

Day 10 - A song that makes you fall asleep:  A Beautiful Mess by Jason Mraz is my go-to lullabye at the moment, and has been for months.  I have the YouTube video of his performance of this song at the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony saved as a bookmark on my phone.  Sometimes when I'm having trouble sleeping, I put it on, and I inevitably wake up in the morning with my phone having tumbled out of bed onto the floor, with the YouTube page still open.  It's such a sweet melody to lull me off to sleep.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Days 8 & 9

I swear I started to write the day 8 post yesterday, but I got sidetracked and never finished it.  I'm trying.
Happy Mothers' Day!

Day 08 - A song that you know all the words to:  Seriously?  I think I've already covered the fact that I've been known to look up lyrics whenever I decide I love a song, so it probably goes without saying that I know all the words to most every song I listen to.  This morning I woke up with Don't Stand So Close to Me by The Police stuck in my head, though, so that's my answer.  What a great song.  It's definitely one of my favorite Police songs, and I could listen to Sting sing all day long.

Day 09 - A song that you can dance to:  Again, there are SO MANY!  I depends on the kind of dancing, so I'm picking two.  The first is Ain't That a Kick in the Head, by Dean Martin.  J and I danced to this at our wedding - we danced the foxtrot and a little bit of swing, and it was wicked fun.  The second is Missing My Baby by G. Love.  It has just the right mix of funk and blues and a little rappy-dance flavor thrown in.  Definitely one of my favorite songs.

Friday, May 7, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 7

Holy crap, looking at me posting two days in a row!  Woot!

Day 07 - A song that reminds you of a certain event: Which to choose, which to choose?  I don't like making decisions, so I'm going with both.  Rhianna's Umbrella reminds me of my bachelorette party and Garth Brooks' Ain't Goin Down (Til the Sun Comes Up) reminds me of karaoke in Virginia Beach on vacation a few years ago.  I told you my taste in music was pretty diverse.  There's not really a story to the Rhianna song, other than that we were all wasted and singing and dancing to it in the limo between bars during my kick-ass bachelorette party.  Every time I hear the song now, that night is all I can think of.  Ella-ella-ella.  In Virginia Beach, while on vacation with J, Jocelyn, and some other dude, Jocelyn and I wanted to sing Ain't Goin Down (the crowd was pretty country, and we had just been celebrating the fact that we both know all the words on the drive down a few days before).  The karaoke DJ didn't have it, but agreed to just play the regular CD and let us sing it without words on the screen if we got it from the car.  So we did.  The crowd went wild.  It was awesome.  In my opinion, only Informer, by the illustrious white rapper Snow, is more impressive in the karaoke forum, especially without the lyrics on screen.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

30 Day Music Challenge - Days 4, 5 & 6

I officially suck at this.  In my defense, I spent two whole days thinking about the Day 4 challenge, and still had a really hard time coming up with something.  For Day 5, it was a matter of picking which one of many to use, and Day 6 is the easiest one yet.

Day 04 - A song that makes you sad:  Wow.  Music makes me happy, not sad.  There are some songs that remind me of tough times, and in that way, I guess they sort of make me sad - but it's not the song that makes me sad, it's the memory that the song triggers.  Some songs are really sad songs, but they don't necessarily make me feel sad.  So, call this a cop out, but the only thing I can come up with is the I'll Cover You Reprise from Rent, especially as sung by Jesse L. Martin.  When he nails the line "When your heart has expired," my heart wants to break in half.

Day 05 - A song that reminds you of someone: There are seriously so many to chose from!  Drawing out of the hat that is my brain, I'll go with Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might Be Giants, but it's really that whole album that reminds me of Kate.  We used to play that album and pretty much anything by the Violent Femmes non-stop, hanging out at her mom's house during junior high and early high school summer vacations, squirting water bottles and throwing shit into the ceiling fan, just to see what would happen . . . Good times.

Day 06 - A song that reminds of you of somewhere: Hands down, this is the easiest challenge yet.  Rockstar, by Nickleback, reminds me of the Hoover Dam.  We drove there from Vegas about 5 years ago, when this song was all over the radio, and it was playing as we drove up to the dam and looked for parking.  The entire time we were walking around the dam, on the tour and then when we walked across the dam afterwards, I was singing this song.  Now every single time I hear it, I feel like I'm right back there.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Earth Day Remix - Just A Friend

So, for Earth Day (again, I know I'm late - STFU), Biz Markie did a remake of Just a Friend.  I meant to post this forever ago, but it just popped into my head now.  Love.  Check it:

My favorite part, by far, is when Biz says "Happy Earf Day" at the end.  Yessssss.

RS 40 reasons to be excited about music

The last issue of Rolling Stone that I received before my subscription ran out - now about two weeks ago, I reckon - included a special feature entitled 40 Reasons to be Excited about Music.  It was awesome.  Please go check it out:


I'm bummed that they featured the Black-Eyed Peas for this, because they're black-eyed garbage in my opinion, and there were a few other less than awesome featured artists, but overall, it's the idea of the article and some of the awesome things that pointed out in it that really made me feel great about music.  It was a great way to end my subscription to RS.  I wish I still got it, as I did love reading it so, but alas, fundage is tight, and magazine subscriptions are an expense that had to be cut.  Hey RS editors - wanna hook a blogger up?  Any devoted readers wanna gift me a subscription?

30 Day Music Challenge - Days 2 and 3

Obviously, this isn't going as planned.  It's day 3 and I've already missed a day.  Go me.  Alas, life gets in the way.  Here we go, with what will likely be only the first of many multiple-day responses.

Day 02 - Your least favorite song:  Again, this tends to change from hour to hour, but right now I think I gotta go with that godawful mess that is Tik-Tok, by Ke$ha.  Who was the asshole record exec that said this girl should have a recording contract?  Are you kidding me?  The first time I heard this song, I think it was #1 on American Top 40 (a guilty pleasure, I admit.  Though while I'm admitting things, I should probably add that I tune out of half the songs that they actually play on there because they all seem to suck so hard).  It was way up there in the countdown, anyway, so I gave it a shot.  I swear to you, it was like a train wreck for me.  I hated everything about it so, so much, but I couldn't shut it off.  She can't sing to save her life, even with Auto-tune, and I don't know who wrote this garbage, but even the lyrics are painful to try and listen to.  Further proof that anything with a hook can get radio play, no matter how bad it might suck.  A very close second = The 2010 remake of We Are the World.  I love the idea of the original, even if I don't love the song, but this remake was one of the worst things I've ever heard, whether their hearts were in the right place or not.  Even the production was bad, so shame on you, Quincy Jones.  What a flippin' mess.

Day 03 - A song that makes you happy:  J and I were just talking about songs like this.  There are a few that you just have to smile at, you know?  Today, I'm going with Fireflies, by Owl City.  I know a lot of people hate the sugary sweetness that is the whole Owl City album, and I have to admit that a whole album of this would probably make me want to kick a rainbow-farting unicorn in the head, but for a single song to make you smile, you can't really beat lines like "I get a thousand hugs / from ten thousand lightning bugs."  For the record, a few others include Jason Mraz's I'm Yours, Sublime's What I Got, RHCP's Zephyr, and pretty much the entire Jack Johnson Curious George album.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Atonement by Ian McEwan

I forgot how much I love Ian McEwan's writing.  The fact that there's some portion (however small) of this book where he's actually writing about writing almost made my head explode.  Seriously, I haven't marked passages in a book in years and years, but I found myself reading this one with a pencil handy.  I mean, how can anyone say that passages like this don't make you feel something:

Now the faintest stirring of a breeze rustled the display of sedge that stood before the fireplace.  two or three stout-bodied moths circled the lamp that stood upon the harpsichord.  When would anyone ever play it again?  That night creatures were drawn to lights where they could be most easily eaten by other creatures was one of those mysteries that gave her modest pleasure.  She preferred not to have it explained away.  At a formal dinner once a professor of some science or other, wanting to ake small talk, had pointed out a few insects gyrating above a candelabra.  He had told her that it was the visual impression of an even deeper darkness beyond the light that drew them in.  Even though they might be eaten, they had to obey the instinct that made them seek out the darkest place, on the far side of the light - and in this case it was an illusion.  It sounded to her like sophistry, or an explanation for its own sake.  How could anyone presume to know the world through the eyes of an insect?  Not everything had a cause, and pretending  otherwise was an interference in the workings of the world that was futile, and could even lead to grief.  Some things were simply so.

Brilliant.  Anyway, this is the story of Briony, who's 13 when we meet her, and about to bear false witness to a crime that will change her and her family's lives forever.  That's the best description I can give.  I've come to realize that McEwan is one of those love-him-or-hate-him authors.  I love him, and plan to try and read as many more of his books as I can this year.  I reviewed On Chesil Beach a couple of years ago, and I read Saturday shortly after that, but I stopped there for some reason.  Atonement is my current favorite of the three, but I can't wait to read the rest.

Incidentally, Atonement has since been made into a movie, which I recently bumped to the #1 spot in my Netflix queue (I love that word, BTW).  I'm looking forward to watching it, just to see what they did with it, but as I said to J at one point as I was reading, I can't even understand why anyone even tried to make this book into a movie.  The writing is SO beautiful, it could never possibly be done justice on film.  We'll see.

30 Day Music Challenge - Day 1

I've been overly lax in my blogging lately, so I'm going to take on this 30 day music challenge to try and motivate me to get my ass on here every day.  Each day, I post a response to a new question.  The plan is that hopefully while I'm here to post about this, I'll manage to write a post with a little more substance at the same time.  We'll see.  Thanks to Christiejolu over at Tales From My Head for the challenge.  Here's the complete list:

Day 01 - Your favorite song
Day 02 - Your least favorite song
Day 03 - A song that makes you happy
Day 04 - A song that makes you sad
Day 05 - A song that reminds you of someone
Day 06 - A song that reminds of you of somewhere
Day 07 - A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 08 - A song that you know all the words to
Day 09 - A song that you can dance to
Day 10 - A song that makes you fall asleep
Day 11 - A song from your favorite band
Day 12 - A song from a band you hate
Day 13 - A song that is a guilty pleasure
Day 14 - A song that no one would expect you to love
Day 15 - A song that describes you
Day 16 - A song that you used to love but now hate
Day 17 - A song that you hear often on the radio
Day 18 - A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Day 19 - A song from your favorite album
Day 20 - A song that you listen to when you’re angry
Day 21 - A song that you listen to when you’re happy
Day 22 - A song that you listen to when you’re sad
Day 23 - A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 24 - A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 25 - A song that makes you laugh
Day 26 - A song that you can play on an instrument
Day 27 - A song that you wish you could play
Day 28 - A song that makes you feel guilty
Day 29 - A song from your childhood
Day 30 - Your favorite song at this time last year

So, today being May 1, it's only appropriate to make this day 1.

Day 01 - Your favorite song:  We all know how I feel about favorites, but in the interest of actually trying to do this little challenge, I'll just list my favorite song rightthissecond, with the caveat that ten minutes after I post this, I may have changed my mind.  Right now, since I heard it 10 minutes ago, my favorite song is Badfish, by Sublime.  There's something very chill and mellow and awesome about this song.  I love the party scene intro at the beginning, and how it sets the tone for the rest of the song.  I just saw Badfish (the band) play last weekend at HOB in Boston, and they were great.  I'm stoked for them that they can attract such huge crowds all over the country now.  I can remember when they played almost every weekend at the Ocean Mist in Narragansett, while I was in college.  But they were just in Rolling Stone as one of the best cover bands out there right now.  Good for them.  Sublime is also fixing to have a reunion tour with a new singer.  They played a reunion show on 4/20 in LA and while the new singer comes off as a little young and maybe doesn't have the growly voice thing that made us love Bradley so, signs point to him doing a pretty decent job.  But we miss you, Brad.