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music

Just a Little Note

Dear Ants,

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you leave my kitchen now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you; I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.*

As you callously walk over the bodies of your dead companions remember – I did that. I did that without giving it a second thought and now I’m waiting for you.

With Love,
Your Friendly Homeowner

 

Dear Leela,**

What in the world?! Why are you suddenly trying to leave the house? I know you’ve always been a bit of an explorer, but you know that you are way too anxious to wander around on your own. Why are you suddenly trying to dig out of the backyard anytime we turn our back? I’d just like to take this opportunity to remind you that our local shelter isn’t a no-kill. They are good people and try hard, but do you really want to push your luck? You’ve been there before – that’s where we found you, remember? – do you really want to go back? All you have really done is forced us to put your collar back on your 100% of the time. Stay home, weirdo. You can’t handle it out there; you’ve gotten soft and squishy since your past life on the street.

Frustrated,
Your Loving Host

 

Dear Allergies,

How can I fight something I can’t see? You aren’t playing fair. I hate this time of year. I hate nature. And, most of all, I hate you.

Sincerely,
Sneezy McSneezerton

 

Dear Mumford and Sons,

Hey, that concert was really good. I’ll admit that I was nervous – I’m not a fan of anything on your third album. It isn’t bad, but it just isn’t why I love you. I certainly wouldn’t pay to see the third album’s band in concert. So. . . yay! I had a really great time. I forgive you for not playing Sigh No More or Hopeless Wanderer, because you played Broken Crown. And because you came running up into the stands dancing next to my section. That was neat. I laughed walking out in the parking lot when a group behind me said, “They played a few songs I didn’t even know. They played a lot of old stuff.” Um. . . you only have three albums. There really isn’t any “old stuff.” They must have been third-albumers.

Happily,
A Big Fan

P.S. I still don’t like anything about the third album.

*Do I need to tell you that is Liam Neeson?
**The dog.

My favorite. . . holiday stuff!

I can’t say I’m really in the Christmas spirit this year. See, I looooove the holidays. I’ve been waiting for December to get here since I took off my Halloween costume on October 31. But last week I got hit with a nasty cold and it has taken away some of the peppermint-scented joy. I tried to get ahead of it; I’ve been sleeping every free moment, 7pm bedtimes and all, but the cold is winning and I’m just not in the moody for laughter, joy, family, etc.

For example, it is nine days until Christmas and I only have three gifts underneath the tree. I’m done shopping – have been for a while – just haven’t wrapped much. And to be honest, two of those gifts under the tree are in decorative boxes so I didn’t really have to do anything for them. Christmas confession: I’ve only wrapped one gift.

I know that probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to a lot of you out there, but I live for Christmas. If I blow it this time around, I have to wait another eleven months to get a second chance.

In an effort to jump-start getting into the spirit, I’m going to share some of my favorite holiday things with you today. If thinking about these things doesn’t like a yule log under my . . well, you know. . . I don’t know what will!

Favorite Holiday Movies
1) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
2) A Christmas Story
3) A Muppet Family Christmas
4) A Christmas Carol (the 1938 version)
5) Rudolph

Favorite Holiday Treats
1) Oreo Truffle Balls
2) Starbuck’s Peppermint Mochas
3) Sausage Rolls
4) Cornbread Dressing
5) Hot Chocolate

Favorite Holiday Activities
1) Decorating the tree
2) Driving around to look at lights
3) Sending Christmas cards
4) Picking out new ornaments each year
5) Singing carols in my car

Favorite Holiday Songs
1) Bing Crosby – Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas Song)
2) Otis Redding – White Christmas
3) Percy Faith – We Need a Little Christmas
4) Leona Lewis – One More Sleep
5) Straight No Chaser – Santa Claus Is Back In Town

Adventures in Nashville-ing

The husband, the daughter, and I took a short trip to Nashville over the weekend to hit up an Ed Sheeran concert. The husband is a huge fan and I enjoy several of his songs, so it seemed like a good thing to do.

Nashville or Mordor?
It is a little known fact that Mordor was based on Nashville. Tolkien had a bad experience with the Coyote Ugly girls and the rest is literary history.

An Aside: Do you guys ever listen to entire albums now that things like iTunes and Spotify exist? I don’t. This means that I end up liking individual songs rather than artists. For example, right now one of my favorite songs is “2 Heads” by Coleman Hell. I can’t tell you a single other song by that person/group/robot. I’ve never even clicked on the band name to see their other songs until just now when I went to discover that Coleman Hell is in fact an individual.

So, Ed Sheeran was all sort of awesome.

First of all, as I already posted on Facebook and Instagram, I’m thrilled to live in a world where a shaggy ginger in cargo shorts can stand on stage and command the attention of a sold out arena.

Secondly, it was just him in stage with a guitar, a couple of microphones, and a foot-operated loop board. Every song had a really long intro while he laid down the individual parts and started them looping. Even if you don’t care for or know who Ed Sheeran is, you have to have some respect for a dude who can do that. I can’t even walk in a straight line. Plus, he is only twenty-four.

Thirdist, it was loud. I mean, really loud. Ed Sheeran was as loud, if not louder than, the System of a Down/Rammstein/Slipknot concert I went to once. [Fun fact: I went for just Rammstein, one of my all-time favorite bands.] How is that possible? My ears were ringing when we left.

Ed Sheeran
Tiny dude. Big stage.

This started me off on a concert-going-nostalgia party. I’m not a big concert goer (more of a broadway play seer, really), but I do get out occasionally. Here is my short concert life rundown.

Who I’ve seen with opening acts, if I can remember:
Maroon 5/Sugar Ray/Matchbox Twenty
Uncle Cracker/Kid Rock [well, this one is embarrassing]
Barenaked Ladies [some lady opened for them, like Alanis Morrissette, but not Alanis Morrissette]
Mudvayne /Rammstein/ System of a Down /Slipknot
Queens of the Stone Age /Nine Inch Nails
Justin Timberlake [no opening act]
Jamie Lawson/Christina Perri/Ed Sheeran

Who I tried to see:
Bush [sadly, I was only 13 and this kid was shut down]
Rob Zombie/ Ozzy Osbourne [ Ozzy broke his leg]

Who I could love to see:
Die Antwoord [but that seems like the kind of place you would get stabbed]
Mumford & Sons [as long as they don’t play anything from that last album]
Adam Lambert/Bruno Mars [Seriously, I’d like this to be a thing.]
RuPaul
MIKA/Scissor Sisters

Who I can never see:
The Doors
Queen
Hanson [shut up]

Aside from the concert, we hit up the County Music Hall of Fame and explored a four-block radius from our hotel. I’m not a fan of country music, but the museum was interesting and did a good job appealing to people who aren’t visiting because they know anything about the style of music. Also, I saw Dolly Parton’s handwritten copy of Jolene. Worth it.

Jolene
I do love me some Dolly.

What else did we do: ate duck fat tater tots, bought candy, visited Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch on the drive home, bought a t-shirt, took NyQuil. Head on over to Instagram to see the rest of my photos.

Cleveland!

I am writing this from the six floor of the downtown Cleveland Public Library around 2pm, Friday August 20. After a fourteen hour conference day Wednesday and a fifteen hour conference day Thursday, I welcomed an unexpected 2 ½ hour break to eat lunch and retreat to an introvert-recharging-station. Since I have some kind of archivist-radar, I landed in the history and genealogy area. It is a bit hotter in here than I would like, but I blame that on the weird Midwesterners who don’t understand the glory of blasting air conditioning in every building like us southerners. [I should probably point out that it is 71 and gorgeous outside. I’m sure the temp in this building is actually fine.]

As of right now, I have forty-five minutes until I need to head back for my next meeting. Then the evening is pretty much full, especially if you count the later evening mixer with my regional association. And I do – networking is a required part of conference attendance.

Oh, the air conditioning just kicked on. Awesome.

I thought I was going to share a few days of posts about this conference like I did last year for DC, but I haven’t really left a six-block radius in the downtown area. Plus, the conference has been kind of spectacular this year so I’ve concentrated on attending as much a possible and soaking up knowledge. Usually when I return from a conference, I feel energized about my career. I’m not sure if that is going to be the case this time, but it has been really great anyway.

So, what have I done? The neatest by far was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I walked around with a big smile on my face and passed several people actually crying – seeing this type of history really moved them. I enjoy music, but I didn’t realize how much it would affect me to see costumes and memorabilia from The Doors, David Bowie, Elvis, and even Beyonce.

Photo time! My battery was running low, so I wasn’t able to take a ton. I snapped as much as I could. Also, I spent $75 in the gift shop. I recommend visiting it before you see the exhibits and get your nostalgia going.

RRHF1

RRHF2

RRHF3

RRHF4

RRHF5

Stay tuned Wednesday for some more photos of general Cleveland!

The Soundtrack

Cassette-tape_8192
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo

Imagine you are starring in you own sitcom (sitcom, not reality show), what would be on your show’s soundtrack? Sure, a lot of us carry music around with us all day, but imagine if it played nonstop – and not necessarily your favorite choice of song. I spent a couple of days thinking about this question and came up with what I think is a pretty good playlist.

So here my regular workday, in song form. The links go to YouTube videos, listen/watch at your own risk (in other words, don’t blame me if you are scandalized by the content).

Waking Up
I like to feel a little epic in the morning – like I’m a real bad ass. I’d probably pick something like “The Kiss” from Last of the Mohicans or “I Fink You Freeky” by Die Antwoord. Two different kinds of epic, yes, but it gets the job done. Sort of a bring-it-on-world kind of thing. I usually think I’m much more amazing than I really am; like I would actually still be alive at the end of a horror movie and not the girl that gets killed first when she is stupidly separated from the main group or explores a house in the dark.

Morning Commute
“Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane. Okay, pretty stereotypical, but still a great choice. I’m a huge fan of a classic road song. Since my grubby little hands wrapped around my first driver’s license, I have loved to be in my car. My fifteen-to-twenty minute commute every morning is one of my favorite times of day. I love driving, singing, watching, listening – being a part of everything, but still just an observer. So awesome.

Working, Part I
When I arrive at work in the morning I raring to go and optimistic.* This is the time for big plans and big dreams, so I think I’ll go with “Good Life” by OneRepublic. Anything is possible at the beginning of a workday (especially after pumping myself up with epic music and road songs), so I’d like the music to match that feeling, even if it isn’t always realistic. At 9:00am I am my best-work-self.

Lunch
“Come Go With Me” by the Del Vikings. A coworker once jokingly referred to me as the guidance counselor of the office. That image is probably true – I naively think a reasonable argument will always win; I like for everyone to work together in a ‘60s free-love kind of happiness; I would probably keep a jar of candy on my desk if I could keep from eating it all myself. At lunch, I feel refreshed and slightly optimistic. I get a second wind.

Working, Part II
Without a doubt the second part of the workday gets “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica. “For whom the bell tolls/Time marches on” – who hasn’t felt that way during the 2pm slump?

Afternoon Commute
By the time I am headed home in the evening, I’m thrilled to be back in my car again. The music needs to be upbeat, but maybe with a slight edge. “Inside Out” by Eve 6 fits the bill. Fun to sing, but without the bubbly lyrics. This one also has the added bonus of having been one of my favorites when it was first released. It was overplayed and I never bothered to download it from Napster buy the cd, so it quickly fell out of favor. I rediscovered it a couple of years ago though and was surprised to know all of the words.

Evening
I’m not typically a very deep person, so let’s go for something obvious here: “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Lyrics like “Alabama, Arkansas/I do love my Ma and Pa/Not the way that I do love you” are perfect for me. I love being home where the only crazy person I have to deal with is me. I’ve never been attached to a place, just people: “Home, let me come home/Home is wherever I’m with you.”

Wow. No one would buy that soundtrack.

*As Maury would say, “The lie detector test determined . . . that’s a lie.” I’m rarely optimistic.

My Favorite Holiday Music

Well, the ones I haven’t shared yet anyway.

Otis Redding – White Christmas

Bing Crosby – Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas Song)

Mannheim Steamroller – Carol of the Bells

Yesterday’s Holiday

Judy Garland – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (1944)

Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song (1961)

Lewis James – When the Christmas Chimes Are Ringing (1922)

Today’s Holiday

Pentatonix (feat. Tori Kelly) – Winter Wonderland / Don’t Worry Be Happy (2014)

Leona Lewis – One More Sleep (2013)

Straight No Chaser – Santa Claus Is Back In Town (2009)

Christmas Parody

Wrecking Ball Parody (Deck the Halls by Dave and Brian)

[Yes, I shared this one last year too. I just really like it.]

Betty White Christmas (White Christmas parody by The Kinsey Sicks)

[FYI: The Kinsey Sicks are super fun and I advise you to check them out on YouTube. A lot of their songs aren’t what you would call family friendly though, don’t say I didn’t warn you.]

Fa La La La La!

I’m replacing Saturday reviews in December with my favorite holiday music. I know it’s not quite December yet, but I’m putting my tree up so let’s get this Christmas season started off right!

Smithy reminds us it is Christmas time in the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special.

Then Percy Faith let’s you know exactly what we need.