Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday's Conscientious Writing Effort

I should try and write something everyday, regardless of how mundane or inconsequential to anyone or myself. A close friend told me I should do this, even when I do not feel like writing anything at all.

I need a break from looking at this work garbage. Let's play the tired "shuffle songs" game on the iPod.

1) Always — Erasure
I have had a soft spot for the very gay British duo since 1992's Abba-esque. This song is making me sad. The Abba-esque CD is in some unknown place, somewhere in my parents' house. (My mother did something with the big book of CDs I had been accumulating since I was 10 when they remodeled/cleaned after I moved away. Its been 6–7 years now. I still have hope.)

2) Just Can't Get Enough (Schizo Mix) — Depeche Mode
I guess I have a thing for Asexual Brit Pop from the early 80s. Isn't that the same as New Wave...sort of? But this song sort of bothers me. Too bouncy. You have to be in the mood for something so bouncy. While the "Schizo Mix" gives the song more of a multi-layered fluency in the middle, it's still too bouncy for me. At least right now. I've had enough.

3) Hung Up — Madonna
Is Madonna still culturally relevant? Does it even matter? I don't think there is a person on the planet who doesn't like at least one Madonna song. I've enjoyed a lot of her electro stuff, but her first foray into that realm, Ray of Light, is by far the finest. I think her music from the early to mid-90s is terrible, with the exception of Justify My Love. I find Vogue bland and This Used To Be Our Playground is one of the most grating and uninspiring ballads I have ever heard.

(Does this fit into the British Electro Pop category since she sometimes talks with that British accent? Nah.)

4) As You Are — Travis
Scottish band. Non-electro. Some people refer to them as "Radiohead Lite". I love them and own every album. I am furious I did not get tickets for last week's show at the Pavillion. They haven't toured the U.S. since 2001, a double-ticket with Dido. This song is from The Man Who, which is known in these parts for the single Why Does It Always Rain On Me? Travis never took off in this country like they did in the UK, but I'm okay with that. Because I can still buy their albums. While doing a live radio show, they ended up performing this amazing cover of Britney Spears' Baby One More Time which was later released on a B-side. It's awesome and I say this without the slightest hint of irony.

5) Around The Way Girl — LL Cool J
Ok. Who doesn't love cool James? Exactly. Besides smooth rhymes, that man has amazing abs, too. Did you see him do sit-ups on Conan O'Brien back while promoting S.W.A.T. in the summer of 2003? Probably not. I have no idea why I thought of that. But it was amusing, Conan and LL, doing sit-ups.

6) Nancy (With the Laughing Face) — John Coltrane Quartet
I have been into John Coltrane since 8th grade. I was babysitting for this yuppie family and they had the Giant Steps CD. I played it after the kids went to sleep one night and was hooked. I then went out and bought a few jazz CDs at Best Buy. The only reason I enjoyed babysitting for this family was because I loved their house. I wish they would have let me borrow their VHS of Blue Velvet, though. They wanted parental permission. Hey, I was totally curious about David Lynch at age 13. I swear (Duh. I liked Twin Peaks.)

7) Song For The Lonely — Cher
Shut up. I love Cher. Not all of her songs, but I love the woman. You think Madonna is ever going to win a Best Actress Oscar? Doubt it. This woman was hawking crap on QVC without any shame and dating men 20 years her junior before it was the "cool" thing to do. I'm still sort of bummed I missed her farewell tour, even though it came to this area about 15 times. There's always Vegas.

8) Joey (Acoustic) — Concrete Blonde
I love this song. An all-time favorite, yet I cannot remember when I first fell in love with it because it was so long ago. I downloaded the acoustic version last summer because I was listening to the original so much. The lyrics and Johnette Napolitano's vocals are amazing ("Because if you're somewhere drunk and passed out on the floor..." and so on).

9) Somewhere Else — Travis
More Travis. From the 12 Memories album.

10) Sublime — Supreme Beings of Leisure
Their self-titled album is from 2000 and its sort of that ambient mellow lounge sound. I bought it after hearing Strange Love Addiction, the first song (and strongest) off the album. Wow. Upon looking them up on Wikipedia, I discovered that they wrote the theme song for Frontline / World.

11) Pueblo Nuevo — Buena Vista Social Club
Great documentary. Great soundtrack.

12) The New Year — Death Cab For Cutie
Death Cab is the musical equivilent of a Slurpee. When you get in that particular mood, you have to have one and you will accept no substitutions. And then buy the really big one because you have to have it. Then you just end up with a brain freeze but you rationalize it somehow and continue to drink the Slurpee. What I'm trying to say is that a person often to listens to Death Cab when they're in a crap mood because they just want to lay there and be in that crap mood. Misery's first love isn't company. It's music.

13) I Do — Jude
This guy is to kind-of-attractive-guitar-driven songwriter-dude-who-writes-music-chicks-dig as Jon Secada was too 1999's Latino invasion. Both were just a few years too early. All those lame John Mayers and James Blunts and similar honkies took the same thing a few years later and made it more palapable for adult contemporary stations. This song is kind of sad, all about a guy who gets a wedding invitation from his long-lost love. I'll admit. The first time I heard it was on Dawson's Creek. Anyway, he's got a few decent tracks off that album. And he's not John Mayer. And if most people have anything at all going for them, its that they're not John Mayer.

14) There'll Be Another Spring — Dianna Reeves
From the Good Night and Good Luck soundtrack. She has a lovely voice and the soundtrack is relatively enjoyable, but I've never been one for a lot of vocal jazz. So I can never listen to the album as a whole.

15) Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall — Dianna Reeves
Spring. Rain. Stop it, damn you. Stop it. I think my iPod wants me to listen to this album more. Whatever. I'll thwart your plans, iPod, because I have the power. Next.

16) Fire & Rain — Me First & The Gimme Gimmes
This band does punk versions of classic songs. For some reason, I love them because they're just fun. Simple as that. We used to listen to this album when I worked at a store/tattoo & piercing parlor back in college. Spider, the resident tattoo artist, got me into this group. Spider wore all black and only drank Yeagermeister. You, too, would do that if your real name was Lyle.

17) We Looked Like Giants — Death Cab For Cutie
No, Death Cab. I am not going downstairs to get that Slurpee. Not today. Not now. But your guitar strains are reeling me in. And the sky is grey...

18) Who's That Man — Toby Keith
Random, right? Yeah, this song is from 1994. Maggie liked this song. I think it was during her country phase. She may have had a hat. While we fully understood it was a sad song about divorce, for some reason, we got a kick out of it. While driving around and singing it. Hey, come on. I was a senior in high school. Not all country is bad. I don't know that many songs, but I know the lyrics of the ones I do enjoy.

19) Denis — Blondie
I love Blondie. Plus, I can sometimes sing One Way Or Another and it doesn't sound too terrible. There are only a few songs I can sing and not offend the greater population. This song is kind of fun, a throwback to early 60s girlsounds, but you know, done by Blondie.

20) Some Unholy War — Amy Winehouse
I love Amy Winehouse. Saw her live back in May. Amazing.

I'm now bored with this exercise and have to get back to work. Hey, I wrote something "creative" today. Mission accomplished.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Typing is to easy, but that's the way it is

So here's the story from A to Z...

I want to say it was a morbid curiosity which forced me to turn on NBC's Victoria Beckham: Coming To America. But it was more that I was curious about her speaking voice. Sure, back in 1997, I owned the Spice Girls CD. But I don't think I could distinguish between Posh, Scary, Sporty, Ginger or Baby even after listening to Wannabe 100 more times. I've seen numerous pictures of Posh Spice, but I wasn't sure if she spoke. For all I know, removing one's vocal cords is akin to that urban legend of removing one's ribs in order to have a small waist.

(On a side note, I've never quite understood the whole "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends" lyric. Now in college, there was some overlapping as the years went on, yet you never made it "forever" let alone 2 weeks with one of those. Maybe they meant that you just had to like their friends? I'm not sure. But it is a catchy song. And I still talk to all my close college friends, so maybe friendship never ends? And the Spice Girls are doing that whole reunion tour now. Oh, I don't know...)

I turned on the show late, when Ms. Beckham was attempting to drive and get her license at the Los Angeles DMV. Her handlers did her makeup for the photo. She asked if they did retouching. Cut to the commercial break. I want this woman dead.

I continued watching and I have so say that she doesn't look as scary as she does in photos. The situations she entered were completely staged and contrived, and I still think evading the "dreaded paparazzi" could be much easier than some elaborate plot involving a blow-up doll. (Couldn't one get a room at a hotel, put on a modest disguise and then leave without anyone following? I would hope this would even be possible at the Chateau Marmont, but I have not been to L.A. since 1999.)

I decided it wasn't so much Victoria Beckham that frightened me by the end of the show, but more so the feracity in which photographers seem to be everywhere in L.A. I have close friends living there and they sometimes talk about being places where the paparazzi is staked out, but I began thinking about how anyone with a decent SLR can seemingly metastisize a career out of such a thing. And how a continuous regimen of plastic surgery will inevitably lead to L.A. becoming a virtual zombie state, if the Beverly Hills Socialites are any indication (For some reason, I found Posh Spice almost charming during this scenario, as it reminded me of those orientations for college or grad school and how you spend the day with the first people you meet, who will most likely become the people you despise more than anything by the time you graduate. But mainly I wanted to know where one gets an oil painting of George Clooney circa the between Facts of Life and Roseanne era).

Don't worry. I'm not a fan. I'm sure she's already taking Scientology courses. And I could ramble on and on about the decline of journalism and how celebrities are covered more than real news, how this is just another sign of a cultural apocalypse, blah blah blah. But its Monday and I don't feel like it at the moment.

Now this Age of Love show is on. Back in 1997, I thought Mark Phillipousous was hot. At that time, he clocked the fastest serve on record. I suppose he still is someone I wouldn't exactly deny, but the idea of this show disgusts me. For starters, any Bachelor-esque show is despicable and always will be. I find it amusing how these women get so broken up over discovering the guy that they, and 10-20 other women are "dating", may have screwed around with one or every other one. Hello? Why wouldn't you? Its the closest most men come to having their very own harem. You take advantage of it. I've seen some men do wonders with less and nary a rose to hand out.

I'm actually not watching the show. I'm typing. It's on in the background. I'm just wondering that about the whole premise. If women in their 20s are "kittens", and the around-40-year-olds are "cougars", at 30, what does that make me? Am I simply a cat? Would I eat the Indoor Formula Iams for adult cats — as opposed to the bag of kitten chow providing extra nutrients for growing felines or the mature cat formula, which prevents against bone density loss?

Oh, I don't feel like thinking about such nonsense anymore. I'm going to go finish my book. And listen to Oasis or the Verve Pipe, or maybe the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack. Things were a lot simpler when I was 20. And I know no one is picking me up for Monday night's $1 Rolling Rock and Ouzo shots at George's in a few minutes. (BTW, I never liked Rolling Rock, but the Ouzo would go down a few times by 12:45am.) But that's fine.

I would rather be a cat than a kitten. But I still really wanna zigazig ahhhhh.

Happy Monday

Its Monday and I'm in a semi-foul mood.

Here are some things you shouldn't be paying attention to while wasting time at work today:

Why is this "celebrity wedding" news? I would rather sit next to "Lard Ass" at that pie-eating contest than attend (or even) read about these nuptials.

Definition of irony. You know you don't want to admit it, and you feel bad doing it, but you read this article and sort of snickered to yourself. More of a snicker than a giggle. And you only did it once.

While that whole never-ending Iraq / Middle East debacle rages on, the U.S. has also managed to pretty much screw things up with Russia. Remember them? They're that really big country responsible for a bunch of dominating pairs figure skaters, Victoria's Secret models, mediocre tennis-playing blond sexpots and vodka. They also still have all those bombs that whole "Cold War" thing.