Saturday, September 30, 2006
"Apropos of nothing/He says his name is William/But I'm sure it's Bill or Billy or Mac or Buddy."
I remember when this song first came out - it was hugely popular my last year of undergrad at Iowa. I even had the cassette single of it! It is one of those songs that suffered horribly from the huge amount of overplay that it got at the time - so much so that for years, I couldn't bring myself to listen to it. Plus there was the whole overselling of Sheryl Crow based on that album (Tuesday Night Music Club) which ultimately I believe was much more representative of what the record company wanted Crow to do, rather than what she wanted to do. Her follow-up album, Sheryl Crow, is one that Heidi and I both like immensely more than Tuesday Night Music Club, even though Jeff says that the whole thing sounds like she's playing the garbage cans.
Here's a little blast from the past courtesy of the folks at YouTube.
Truthfully, I enjoy this song quite a bit. The rest of the album, eh, not so much. But this is a great slice of nostalgia. And the fact that this song is nostalgic really makes me feel damn old.
I don't know a lot about things like this, but I'm pretty sure the gutters aren't supposed to double as window boxes.
But anyway, I was actually up on the roof and digging the crap out of the gutters. I was like a baby learning how to walk because I don't usually walk around on roofs (and yes, this is the correct pluralization of the word - I looked it up and yes it still looks weird) all that much so I was certain that I would tumble to my death. It didn't help when my dad showed me how easy it would be to step on a twig and fall to said death by demonstrating how easily they roll down the roof. Overall, it wasn't too bad, even though it was a dirty and wet job that needed to be done and will likely need to be done again this fall once the leaves drop completely.
My dad also had Anna do Grauman Chinese Theater thing and imprint her hands in cement. He did this with all of us when we were growing up and it seems only right that Anna carry on the tradition. He brought a bag of dry cement which he mixed up with water and then poured into a mold. Here's some paparazzi shots of the ceremony.
Prepping for hands in the cement:
Hands in the cement:
"Dad, look at my dirty hands!":
She had a good time doing it - I mean, what kid doesn't like getting their hands dirty?
But even though I agreed to it, I felt almost violated, exposed in a way I hadn't had time to prepare for. Like if I had known she wanted to borrow my iPod, I'd have erased everything remotely embarrassing on it (and screw up my play counts! For shame!) so as not to be exposed for whatever it was I was afraid of being exposed as. And I admit it, for most of the 15 minutes she was on break, I wondered what embarrassing thing was playing. Geez, am I a four or what? Because, after all, it is all about me.
Well, she came back from break and asked me what I was worried about because she's revealed some of the improbable things she's listened to on XM on the way to work. And in the end, nothing too terribly embarrassing played (I scrolled back through what had played before turning off the iPod.)
And it's at times like these that I remember that I have to own who I am. Warts and all, I am what I am, I am my own special creation. You gotta be it and love it and own it.
If only I could remember that a little more often.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
She's obsessed with the fact that you can grab a girl in the game and hold onto her for awhile (until she starts punching you in the face at which point you can drop her and gobble her up.) And the entire fact that you can eat the soldiers makes her laugh uproariously.
My biggest memory associated with this game is actually not playing the original arcade game but a port for the PC back in the early 90s which didn't look too bad. My sister and I would play it all the time together - one using the keypad and the other using keys on the far left side of the keyboard. I always wanted to play the lizard as I thought she was the coolest of the monsters. Of course, this opened me up to no end of teasing from Wendy who simply accused me of wanting to do female role-playing (as it is Lizzie after all.) The other thing I remember vividly is that sometimes when you punch an open window, poison will appear in the window, and if you eat it inadvertantly, you get hurt and you spit it out. Everytime this would happen, one or the other of us would always ask "You ate the rat poison?" which just proves beyond any reasonable doubt that any life situation can be satisfied by a quote from 9 to 5.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
That being said, my brother, Ryan, called me the other day and asked for my address. He said, "I'm sending you a present in the mail. Do you want me to tell you what it is now or be surprised?" I elected to be surprised, as I NEVER get packages in the mail and I figured, why not double the pleasure? This was Friday, or maybe Thursday, I can't remember.
Well, Monday arrived as did the package. And it was filled with Star Wars toys. And the kicker was, Ryan had put a note in there that said his assistant's daughter had found these while cleaning out a relative's house and THEY WERE GOING TO THROW THEM AWAY!!! The thought! Anyway, he thought I might like them as he knows I have the whole 12 year old boy theme going in my office (pictures of that later.) And yes, I was overjoyed to receive this - mostly because someone else in the world understood, if only for a brief moment, my mindset when it comes the things that I totally enjoy.
Here's a brief overview of some of the highlights of what he sent.
The first item is Chewbacca being escorted through the Death Star by Han Solo and Luke Skywalker dressed as stormtroopers.
And check this out - it really is Han and Luke.
Secondly are a few Yoda related items. The first is a simple figure of Yoda, complete with his Jedi Council chair.
The second is a Yoda stamper, which delights Anna to no end.
And the final Yoda item is a pewter key chain, which I immediately attached to my keys. Yoda and Madge, what a strange combination!
And finally, the piece de resistance is one of the band members from the Cantina sequence. He has kind of creepish hands and actually, would fit in well in an X-Files episode, so he's really not all that out of place since Scully and Mulder have a place on my shelf as well.
Perhaps the funniest part of the whole thing was looking closely at the description of the Cantina guy on the box - Ryan had tipped me off to it in his note, something to the effect "check out what kind of band that cantina guy plays in - ha, ha!" I love it - me and Ryan, eternal 4th graders in so many ways.
So there it, is. Ryan, I know you read this blog. Words cannot describe my gratitude. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to display all this stuff. I'm running out of real estate.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
My Olivia Newton-John fandom was probably the first pop music obsession I had. And she was almost certainly, without a doubt, my first celebrity crush. I remember seeing her in Grease and just loving her, maybe it was the innocent thing then followed by the ultimate bad girl at the end of the movie. (Livvy smoking! *aghast*) And then there was Xanadu that I remember begging my mom to take me to in the theater. She did call the theater to make sure that it was appropriate for me at age 8 or 9 (which it was - the called it "a great family movie!") Looking back on Xanadu, it's pretty bad when measured by the traditional movie quality barometer, but when measured by the guilty pleasure barometer, it's off the charts. Granted Michael Beck as the leading man is pretty insufferable - I've seen toothbrushes with more personality and acting ability. In a way, I'm glad that Xanadu is appreciated now more than ever - although the fact that it is the last movie Gene Kelly ever starred in is probably not something he would be particularly proud of if he were alive today. And then, Olivia came to Ames when I was in 5th grade and I desperately wanted to go see her, but my folks just either couldn't or wouldn't come up with the money for me to go, even though my 5th grade teacher, Ms. Hindman ended up going, much to my great envy.
So anyway, in response to Olivia's (or as Mike refers to her, Dame Livvy) birthday, we had a little virtual listening party on last.fm today. Mike got as many people as he could to listen to at least one ONJ track, and, as those things usually go, if you play one track, you're very likely to play more than one. I, of course, didn't take much convincing to contribute to the party. I played around 15 tracks of hers today, and I could have played more, but unfortunately, real life took precedence. It was so much fun playing ONJ with all these other folks who can appreciate her music. It was, for a little bit, community in the true meaning of the word -- people coming together for a common interest and sharing that for the good of all. I know, it's "just music", but in my world, there's no such thing as "just music."
And last year at this time, I finally saw ONJ in concert at the Paramount in Cedar Rapids. I went with Wendy and we had a great time. Olivia's stage presence is so good and she sang so many old hits, even though she was pushing a new CD at the time. The audience was fantastic - mostly older people but also a lot of people my age as well. She seems genuinely down-to-earth and a very warm person. While I know that a lot of stars just seem that way, I think there's only so much of that you can put on. It was a great night.
Then we hit a deer on the way home from Cedar Rapids, and although no one was hurt, we had quite a difficult time getting back home that night. It totalled my sister's car, and we ended up getting back to Ames in the back seat of a tow truck. Craziness. And oh yeah, the deer's hoof must have hit the window because this is what I saw the next morning when I got up to survey the damage a little more.
I realized that that deer hoof could have bashed the left side of my head in! Egads!
But even though the car was totalled and I nearly died (no drama there!), we decided ONJ was worth it. Like there was any doubt.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
According to people on the message boards, it was brilliant. Add one more song to my wish list for his concert in Chicago. Or, at the very least, release that darn Detroit show in the digital music store.
Friday, September 22, 2006
However, the site Alien Loves Predator went a long way towards helping me shake it off today because the strip is freaking hilarious today. I discovered this site not all that long ago, and it never fails to make me laugh, mostly because of the absurdity of a xenomorph named Abe sharing a New York City apartment with a predator. And today's strip is great if for no other reason than my friend Mike who lives in London always uses these great British idioms in e-mails and they always bring a smile to my face.
And oh yeah, that graphic on the right side - they actually make a T-shirt of that. How I would love one of those.
Deep Throat was at the center of the obscenity litigation and Supreme Court decisions during the mid-70s. It was probably the first porn film to go mainstream -- and this is well documented in the documentary. The documentary starts out with the production of the film, its public reception, the political machinations that resulted from it. It was interesting to watch as it is probably one of the first times that the religious right in the US really got its act together enough to effectively stop something that they considered to be morally degrading and not worthy of being called art.
Not that I would call Deep Throat art, but I'm certainly not about to deny anyone else the right to define what art is to them.
What I loved most were the interviews with participants in the movie -- and guess what? They all got old. They interview Harry Reems, who was made an example in the obscenity litigation and was sentenced to 5 years in jail for his role in the film, the first time an actor had ever been convicted of a crime over a performance in a film. They also interview some other adult film stars of the day and man, they have not aged well. Although I had no idea that Andrea True who did the disco ditty "More, More, More" was an adult film actress!
Ultimately, I think I wanted the documentary to be less about the movie and more about the effects the movie has had on us today. And they did address this a little bit - mostly as captions over still shots, detailing how video pretty much did in the adult theater business and how in one year (can't remember which) Hollywood produced 400-some movies and the adult film industry produced 11,000. Whoa baby!
And after seeing this documentary, I've seen enough of the actual movie to negate the need to actually see it. Although now I really need to read that book "The Other Hollywood," but that requires me to find it as my brother was looking at it the last time he was here and now I can't find it!!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
But like I've detailed in a previous post, I'm mostly looking forward to being there by myself, walking around downtown Chicago for a while, hitting Borderline Music again (and hopefully not spending as much this time as I did last time! Holy buckets!) I'm also looking forward to the 7 hour train ride, which will be fun because I'll probably just sit in the observation car the whole time and look out the window while I listen to my iPod.
Hopefully the weather is decent.
But I think I'll give Casey a rest for now and go watch my Netflix.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I have to wait practically two hours after getting up for my head to drain, and I still feel achy in my legs and in my head. It's the getting up in the morning that sucks the most. I just can't handle feeling so crappy first thing in the morning.
Fortunately, Sudafed seems to help, as well as ibuprofen. And at least I was off today, but I'm headed into a 7-day stretch at work (thanks to a weekend trade) and I really was hoping to feel better by then.
Oh well, who knows what will happen. And there's also a good chance that I'm just being dramatic. Heh, never done that before.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Bless her. She's so my kid.
I told the teachers that this was entirely my doing (not by design, mostly by example) but they seemed ok. I have to admit that I was a bit perturbed when one of the teachers said "OK, which one is appropriate" like Madge is still stuck in the Erotica phase of her career and she's cavorting around nude on stage or something. But I can hardly expect people who don't follow the minutiae of her career to be up to date on what she's doing these days. Personally, if it were me, that kind of public perception would bug me infinitely more than being called "the Material Girl" but whatever she wants, y'know?
Since "Jump" is the next single (with an unreleased track called "History" - I can't wait!) I figure that Anna is doing her job of roping in the preschool demographic. And given the relative absence of Madonna on American radio these days, whatever it takes.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Q: What's a pirate's favorite pizza?
That's the only one I can remember. Of course, I immediately emailed this to a friend of mine whose husband once accused her of talking like a pirate when she was doing an imitation of something (I can't remember what.) And then that naturally led me to remember the Ergonomic Keyboard for Pirates that Heidi showed me once.
I was never much into pirates as a kid. I would have rather played with the 18" Alien doll my folks bought for me one Christmas than dress up with an eye patch.
I figure if I give myself roughly 100 dollars of spending money for the two days that I'm there, that should be more than adequate. I know that I have to make reservations at the restaurant in order to guarantee seating, and I'm not quite sure how that works out, but I'm going to try to figure it out. It's an adventure - and I haven't had a true adventure in a long time. So that'll be fun.
And by going to this concert, I'll have travelled to both ends of the concert spectrum this year. One end being characterized by the Confessions Tour - a huge arena where you're really far away from the performer, to this one, where Casey will likely sign my DIVIDE CD and all that. (at least I hope so!)
But I did work all day yesterday and the 10 hour shift was a near killer but I did have enough energy to stay up and watch Severed which I found rather randomly one day when I was surfing around Netflix. It looked like a pretty low-budget zombie flick, complete with bad acting and a clumsy script. In other words, right up my alley.
And surprisingly, it wasn't all that bad. As usual, I had pretty low expectations, but they were higher than they were for, say, Freddy vs. Jason - and that actually ended up being a pretty good movie too. Basic plot of the movie: a money-grubbing logging company genetically engineers a substance called GX1134 that causes trees to grow at lightning speed - giving you old growth trees in 1/3rd of the time. It also, unbeknownst to the logging company, causes an infection in people that turns them into flesh eating zombies.
So what happens is there's a group of environmentalists that have spiked some trees and when one of the loggers goes to cut the tree, his chainsaw backfires, cutting him and mixing in some of the sap from the tree in his bloodstream. Voila, instant zombie!
There's some great scenes in the movie - among them a son of the CEO of the logging company's arrival at the camp only to be attacked by zombies, environmentalists chained to trees only to become zombie food and a pretty good antagonist in one of the main characters. That's not to say that there aren't plot holes you could drive a truck through, but I managed to look past those. For a B-movie obviously shot on a shoestring budget, this movie surpassed my expectations.
The only real complain I'd level against the movie is that it tried way too hard to be 28 Days Later, which is a really good "zombie-ish" movie. I say "zombie-ish" because there's significant debate as to wheter 28DL really qualifies as a zombie movie as the monsters aren't dead, rather, they are infected. The shots of the zombie attacks were very like 28 Days Later, although I'd say the zombies tended more toward the lumbering (heh! lumbering!) zombies of Romero rather than the "fast zombies" we've seen lately.
It gets a recommendation from me, despite it being a bit uneven.
Friday, September 15, 2006
| You scored as Posion. Your death will be by poison, probably because you are a glutton and are around so many people that it would be easy to get away with it. Several important people in history share your fate.|
How Will You Die??
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Monday, September 11, 2006
It was inevitable that songs would be written about this day. Some were good, some decidedly awful (the Daryl Worley song "Have You Forgotten?" springs immediately to mind.) I mean, Madonna may have rhymed New York with dork, but this guy actually rhymed "bin Laden" with "forgotten." Ugh. I found a few really good ones I thought I'd look at.
1) Fleetwood Mac - Illume (9/11) (iTunes)
Stevie Nicks' stab at remembering 9/11 comes off pretty much like I'd expect it to for her. It's nearly incomprehensible, but she's so darn sincere in it. Here's what she has to say about the song, because, God help me, I can't really figure it out.
"Illume" is a very interesting song actually. I wrote it after September 11th, you know, so it was one of the first I wrote after those tragedies. It’s just about making it, you know. I was sitting there, thinking about those horrible tragedies in October of 2001, and I was sitting there with just me in the room, and the candle was lit. I love candles, you know. And my heart was still so heavy from everything, and I didn’t know quite what would happen, and we were all like that, confused. I didn’t set out to write a September 11th song, it just happened. It goes “Illume, says the candle that I burn, a reflection in the window,” and that’s just about the inspiration for the song. And I tell you, my heart was so very heavy and full at this time, I was so confused. And then there are some other parts…( Pause) “And I am alone with my thoughts, And how we could make it – And what we have been through, all of the trauma.” I also wrote one called “Get Back on the Plane,” and a song called “The Towers Touched the Sky,” but it was just too depressing.
2) Mary Chapin Carpenter - Grand Central Station (iTunes)
This is perhaps one of my favorite songs about 9/11. It's so tastefully written and beautifully sung. One the first anniversary of 9/11, Chapin heard an NPR story about a ironworker who worked at ground zero. So moving was his experience that he walked to Grand Central Station every day after his shift was over to guide the lost souls to their trains home. You can listen to NPR talking to Carpenter about this song here, but to be honest, I couldn't get the audio to load. Maybe it's just my computer.
Here's the lyrics:
Got my workclothes on full of sweat and dirt
All this holy dust upon my face and shirt
Heading uptown now just as the shifts are changing
To Grand Central Station
Got my lunchbox, got my hard hat in my hand
I ain't no hero mister, just a working man
And all these voices keep on asking me to take them
To Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
I want to stand beneath the clock one more time
Want to wait upon the platform for the Hudson Line
I guess you're never really all alone
Or too far from the pull of home
And the stars upon that painted dome still shine
I made my way out on to 42nd street
I lit a cigarette and stared down at my feet
And imagined all the ones that ever stood here waiting
At Grand Central Station, Grand Central Station
Now Hercules is staring down at me
Next to him is Minerva and Mercury
I nod to them and start my crawl, flyers covering every wall
Faces of the missing all I see
Tomorrow I'll be back there working on the pile
Going in and coming out single file
Before my job is done there's one more trip I'm making
To Grand Central Station, Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station, Grand Central Station
3) Tori Amos - I Can't See New York (iTunes)
This one I recently came across. I wouldn't classify myself as a Tori Amos fan, but I've been listening to more of her music ever since I started listening to Casey Stratton. It's a little more along the lines of the Fleetwood Mac song in the fact that lyrically, it's not very straight forward and you could completely miss the 9/11 allusions unless you are, as this blog's title demands of you, pay close attention.
Yuccacentric.com had this take on the song back in 2002.
I've had a few debates as to whether or not this is in, in fact, a 9/11 song. The conclusion? I don't know. The parallels are there. The concept of the album was a journey around and across America and each song has a location on a map. "I Can't See New York" is mapped as a flight from Boston to New York, the same taken by several hijacked planes on 9/11, and the obvious sight of a missing landmark in the skyline could be the reason for an inability to see New York as could some form of role-playing on the part of Ms. Amos as one of the passengers so blinded by fear that they cannot see anything, let alone New York. Then there's the Native American theme. In this song it's played out with the metaphor that borders are not really visible from a plane, so that the land is really everyone's. Hence, not being able to see New York as lines on a map are not the same as that seen from a plane. All that being said, it is a beautiful song wonderfully arranged and performed. 9/11 storyline or Native American or something completely different it has an underlying driving power to it. And it sure as hell makes up for the last album, Strange Little Girls.Music, for me, is a great healer. Hopefully, 5 years out from 9/11, healing can continue.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Anna comes up to me this morning as she's getting ready to leave for preschool and says "Daddy, I really hope that I get the sharing bag today!" (sidenote: the sharing bag is a bag that one kid each time gets to take home and put something in it they'd like to share with the class -- kind of a version of show-and-tell.) So I ask her, "What do you think you'd like to share if you get the sharing bag." To which she replies "A CD."
I'm a bit suspect because I'm not sure that's exactly what the teachers had in mind. But I decide to go with her down this road. "Which CD to you want to bring?" I ask her.
She thinks for a minute, and replies "Like 'Hung Up' or 'Jump' or...."
Some days, my 50% of the genes really shine through.
Monday, September 04, 2006
But there's no denying that this kind of schedule just messes with you. I'm all restless and not able to sit down and do anything for more than a couple minutes. I've been watching The X-Files this afternoon, but I have to say that the couple of episodes that I've watched have been pretty subpar. So that's not helping.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
And while goofing around on YouTube last night, we found some classic (and some not-so-classic) TV show openers. For example, one of my favorites is "One Day At A Time" which I used to watch faithfully in syndication every night at 10:30 before my freshman year of high school (yet another example of me watching a sit com instead of having a life back then!)
Some would argue that it hasn't aged all that well, and I would argue THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT!! And you gotta love Mackenzie Phillips in those bell bottom polyester pants.
And Jeff and I came across a show he hadn't thought about since it was on TV - the show "Angie" which I remember because I always loved the theme song.
And then, just for kicks - "Alice"
They don't make these like this anymore, I tell ya.
I'm mostly wiling away the time on the computer, listening to music, although I am pondering going up and watching Night of the Living Dead which I haven't watched in forever. Or maybe just the special features -- I can't decide. I know that if I try to read, I'll surely fall asleep, and I just can't fall asleep yet. I have to try to stay awake until about 3AM so that I can sleep until around 11 tomorrow (or so.) The first night is never all that hard -- you usually run on pure adrenaline and the night goes so fast because you're so pumped and it's so different from your usual routine. And after it's over, I go home and immediately crash into bed and sleep. That's one thing I suppose I should be thankful for -- I've never had trouble sleeping during the day. And if I take an Ativan, it's even easier.
The second night gets a little bit harder. I never have the adrenaline rush on night two that I have on night one. There's also the impending end of the run of overnights so you kind of start anticipating the end way before it's over. Of course, all bets are off if you have a really busy night. There's nothing like a really busy overnight to keep you moving, and truth be told, I've only had one that even comes close to really busy, so I'm not even sure I can speak definitively on that subject.
And while it's fun getting ready to work overnights (the staying up late is a lot of fun because I'm kind of a night owl by nature), it's the recovery that's really the hardest part. What I try to do is sleep as little as possible on the day after the last overnight shift. It's impossible to not sleep right when you get home, but I try not to sleep as long as I would when I'm preparing for another overnight. So usually, I walk around the house like something out of a George Romero movie and get kind of cranky. I inevitably end up falling asleep right around the time that Anna does and I sleep for something like 13 hours or some insane thing like that.
And then I'm usually fine.
And why exactly is it a graveyard shift? My favorite thoughts are here.
(top photo credit)
Friday, September 01, 2006
The best one I've had recently is "incriminating trough." And, being in the profession I am, it makes me immediately think of vancomycin or aminoglycosides.
It makes me glad that Gmail has a spam box so that I can look at them without having to get all excited that I got e-mail, only to find out it's about a "postmortem golf course" or something.
And the funny thing is, I keep on thinking these insane subject lines sound like Googlewhacks, but sure enough, I type them into Google and they get something like 50,000 hits.