Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Further I Fall

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! The sun was shining in Nashville, and I had a great weekend. I saw/heard some very talented local musicians (Tallest Trees, Drury Peek, and Shotgun Lover - the latter two of which are friends of mine) and spent my Saturday in the sun and in some thrift shops (where I came across quite a find, ... more on that in sec), and once the sun retired, I hung out with a good friend and watched "Men Who Stare at Goats," which was quite funny, from what I remember. (It had been a long and exciting day - see below - and my memory tends to fail me.) Good times.

My Thriftstore Find of the YEAR

Here's the thing. My grandparents have this awesome record player console that plays in the background of many of my fondest childhood memories. We would sit and listen to Conway Twitty and George Jones, and chat away the days. Or something like that. I've had my eye on that console for YEARS. But my sister, sneaky little devil that she is, called dibs on it and asked my grandparents for it years and years ago before the thought had ever crossed my mind. Shame on her, right? So needless to say, even though I have a record player (a nice new Crosley), I've pined for a console. And I finally found one! Armed with q meager budget, I set out on Saturday to peruse used bookstores and thrift shops for a few books on my wish list, only to come across this girl. And she's a beaut. A Magnavox, I'm thinking from the '50s or '60s, in perfect working order with a good needle and LOUD speakers. Even the old radio works. No visible scratches to speak of, and it even includes the original instruction manual. To top it all off, when the thrift store dude brought out an album to test on it, he brought out none other than Alabama's The Closer You Get, which of course I had to buy as well. I'm a happy girl. (Also, check out the Fort Payne boys circa 1983. Yikes.)

[30-Day Song Challenge] Day 4 - Sad songs say so much

Day 4 - A Song that makes you SAD

"Oh My Sweet Carolina" by Ryan Adams

I love this song. I really do. It reminds of when I first discovered RA's music, and I'm reminded of times with friends who I love dearly and miss much, especially now that we live far away from each other. I listen to this song and think about when I first lived in Birmingham, when my friends Jessa and Hunter would talk about his music and their experiences as students at Chapel Hill, with its fall colors and pumpkin patches, and how much they loved (and missed) their home in North Carolina. I could just picture it and hear the harmonica sighing, and it made me long for North Carolina as well.

Have you ever felt nostalgic for somewhere you've never even been? I do frequently, and it's simply an indescribable feeling... To be so sad and to miss a place you've never even seen in person. (Sdenote: I did make it to Chapel Hill for Jessa's wedding this past fall, and I will be disappointed if I find at the end of my life that I never lived in that area even if but for a year.)

And now that I'm a good bit away from my hometown in South Alabama, and I find myself missing home more and more, his words describe that longing for home in general just as much as for his home. Yep - and now I'm sad. I miss my mommy.

I'm only doing one for today, as this would have been my entry regardless.

Monday, March 29, 2010

[30-Day Song Challenge] Day 3 - When I need a Chin Up, Cheer Up

 I've decided to double the challenge, as I've found that for every day, a Ryan Adams song pops in my head first. And while I know there are some folks out there who would appreciate that, this is not a Ryan Adams blog, and I'm aware he's not for everyone. So for each entry, I'll give a Ryan song and a non-Ryan song. I figure that's only fair, seeing as I have 5,000 songs on my ipod, 989 of which are Ryan Adams or Whiskeytown.So here goes...

Day 3 - A Song that makes you Happy

"Send Me On My Way" by Rusted Root

 I always smile and giggle when I hear this song. Partly because it reminds me of my best friend, who oh-so-brazingly put this as her senior mantra/quote in our high school yearbook (surprising many who didn't realize just how ready she was to get the H out of our hometown). Partly because I laugh at myself every time I sing it and realize I have absolutely no clue what some of the words are. I've looked them up, and I never remember because they make no sense. It comes out as something like "i would like to hold my lil hand. maybe i'll runnnwaaayyyy maybe i'll callllwweeeee." Or something like that. Totally off. 

And then I just picture the dudes on the video and all kinds of people just skipping around, similar to that scene from BioDome to "Safety Dance," and it just makes me happy. Plus I just like the tune.

"Chin Up, Cheer Up" by Ryan Adams

This is my mantra for when I literally need to cheer up. One of my best friends, Sara Beth, who shares my Ryan obsession/love, and I continually respond to any Debbie Downer texts or conversations with a simple "Chin up, Cheer up." And every time I hear the song, it reminds me to do just that. It's upbeat and fun (unlike so many of Ryan's songs), and it makes me think of good times and SB. And that makes me smile too. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

[30-Day Song Challenge] Day 2 - Creepsters

Day 2 - Your Least Favorite Song

"The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel

It gives me the creeps. No one gets it, and I can't explain, but I just feel all icky whenever I hear it. Same kind of icky I get whenever I watch the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory movie.

However, I didn't know until I just did some research that S&G wrote "The Sound of Silence" in 1964 following the assassination of President Kennedy. Interesting. Maybe I should give it another listen. Or not. I seriously just shuddered. The ONLY time I can tolerate the song is in the scene in Old School when Will Ferrel has been hit with the tranquilizer dart and falls in the pool.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

First, let me start out by saying that since I read Twilight, way back in the Spring of 2008, I have rarely picked up a book geared for adults. I've craved the angst, indecision, first romance, and sense of wonder you get from the eyes of a teen. (My therapist has a hey-day with this.) Plus, I've found that I really enjoy all things paranormal.(Disclaimer: While I am thankful for Twilight, as it opened my reading habits to the world of YA, I have read so many great books since that I am now completely underwhelmed by it. So for all of you still on the Edward train, I urge you to try something else in the genre... you'll be incredibly impressed by what else there is out there!)

Collins's series has been recommended to me time and time again, from many a reputable source, as well as many friends and colleagues from the library/book world and the non-library/book world. I resisted reading it for quite a while, I think mainly because it is marketed as "sci-fi"(ish), set in a dystopian world... and it didn't have any vampires or other fun things like that. But I finally gave in, and boy am I glad I did. I finished both books in a week, and now I am just distraught that I have to wait until August for the third and final book of the series, Mockingjay.

I don't like to give away any spoilers with my reviews, and it's hard not to while reviewing a book and its sequel. But I'll try. HG is set in the future following a time when there was an uprising in attempt to overthrow the government. In this time, innovations abound, but freedom does not. Divided into 12 districts, each of which specializing in a sort of trade like mining, agriculture, and the like, the people are kept by the government in almost starvation mode. Unless you live in The Capitol, you work hard to barely keep your family alive. To make matters worse, as a reminder to the people of who exactly is in charge, the Capitol holds "Hunger Games," in which two child representatives (one boy and one girl) between the ages of 12 and 18 are put into an arena, where they fight to the death... all while the rest of the world watches on television like a modern-day Survivor. Only they kill each other for real. And very savagely. The Victors are seen as heroes, as they win their district acclaim and resources, while the rest die shameful deaths while their families watch. Here's how it works - every year, from age 12 to 18, children enter their names essentially into a hat. To make it interesting, you have the option to get more rations of food/supplies from the government for adding your name additional times. So for main protagonist Katniss, whose father died in a mining accident leaving their family living even more meagerly, her name is already in there an abundance of times by the time she's 17.

Katniss is bold and wild, taught to hunt and survive by her father at an early age. She has her best friends in little sister Prim and the rugged Cute Older Boy Gale, who also serves as her hunting buddy. She's incredibly likable and developed well as a character, as are all the characters, and she serves as an example of an extremely strong and confident female. She's one of those who thinks only of providing for her family... no thoughts to love or romance or any of that stuff. As you probably have guessed, she ends up as a contestant in the Hunger Games. She goes into it strong and ready to kill or be killed, skilled as an archer and knowleadgable about the berries and game of the forest... but finds she was not ready in the least for what happens. Nor. Was I. Though I had made the mistake of reading the book jacket for CF before reading HG (what was I thinking?), I was still unprepared for the twists when they came.

You'll find tons of action, mystery, and wow the tension between Katniss and Gale, as well as between Katniss and Peeta (the boy chosen to represent District 12 alongside her.. the boy who she knows she has to kill to win The Games) will make you crazy. I laughed out loud and enjoyed imagining the arenas and districts - Collins has a knack for imagery.  Be warned, though, as both books end with a cliffhanger... so if you're one of those who can't stand to wait, I'd put them off until August when MJ is released.

Sidenote, the symbols you see on the covers are evolving versions of the "mockingjay," a really cool hybrid of a mockingbird and the Captiol-crafted jabberjay bird (ohhh you'll see)... a bird/symbol which comes to mean so much more. Some of you may know I've always loved tattoos and always wanted one, but I've yet to be inspired by anything from literature that I'd want on my body (all of my ideas so far have come from the music world). I'm going to copy H, though, and say that this symbol would make a great tattoo. Especially since I'm fond of birdies anyway.

Hunger Games  (HB) - Scholastic, 2008
Catching Fire (HB) - Scholastic, 2009

[30-Day Song Challenge] Day 1 - She'll follow you down til the sound of her voice will haunt you...

Day 1 - Your Favorite Song

Silver Springs - Fleetwood Mac

This has undoubtedly been my favorite song since I was 13 or so. You can read back to when I first discussed my love of Fleetwood Mac and this song, as well as my idolatry of Stevie Nicks.

I imagine many of you are surprised that my favorite song is not one by Ryan Adams, and though many of his are favorites of mine, this song has held its ground. As Stevie says to the wildly applauding audience at the end of the song on The Dance (live album taped from their 1997 reunion tour), "Silver Springs is a great old song..." I loved the song long before I knew anything about the soap opera that was Fleetwood Mac back in the day. Now, having been informed, I can't help but find it interesting that the song was originally released only as a B-side, apparently blocked from being included on the Rumours album by Mick Fleetwood (a fact which Stevie attributes to adding to the tension which eventually led to the bands' breakup), only to be released on a box set in 1992 and to become wildly popular again with her more heated version from The Dance. I honestly always knew and loved the latter version, the one from the reunion tour in the 90s, and I was shocked when I first heard the original recording, because she seemed far more passionate and emotional 25 years after she first wrote it.

The song starts off sweetly enough, but when it gets to the end, and you listen and think about how she wrote it for Lindsey Buckingham and all the drama and also love that was there... and she's just pounding it out, "You'll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you..." almost like a threat... I get so caught up and find myself just belting it out. And whoa, Lindsey, she means it. You're never gonna get away. Not even decades later. When we saw them live last June here in Nashville... you could still feel all that raw emotion. It just gives you chills, and when they played it as their encore, with Stevie up there singing straight to Lindsey, it was just amazing and also a bit heartbreaking. Nevertheless, it's a beautiful song and has stayed in my head for about 15 years now.

Here's a clip from The Dance, although I certainly love the older version as well. Pay attention to the end. It just baffles me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coming soon...

(And only soon because the Day 1 Post is going to be take a doozy of thought.)


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

You Oughta Know...

Alanis Morrisette is working on a book that she likens to Jack Kerouac's collections of musings. She tells Spinner: "It's really turned out to be a very philosophical, non-precious, photograph, travelogue, essays -- a little ADD... It's all over the place, but there's a linear pathway throughout it all. It's kind of my fantasy book, the kind of book I wish I could read all the time from other people."  

They are quick to say this is not a memoir. So does this mean we will never really know if Dave Coulier inspired "You Oughta Know," or what it was like to (in my dreams) be with Ryan Reynolds? Regardless, I'm assuming it will be nothing less than absolutely indulgent for my inner 90's tween.

Sidenote: I had forgotten she was 21 in 1995 when Jagged Little Pill was released (and I was 13). Oh the angst-filled teen years.

9 Strange Things Found While Searching for Where's Waldo

I came across this recently and got a good dose of nostalgia (as well as a good laugh). There were a few I remembered from my childhood (the exploding bicep, for example), but others I am finding particularly amusing at the moment.

My favorites:

Man in Drag

The Sex Boat
(C) www.thetoplessrobot.com

Oh, the times are a-changin...

Well it's been since June that I've updated this, and for that I am truly sorry. Yall still with me? Anyone? Bueller?

Much has changed since I last posted. I've moved to Nashville. Music City! I'm in my element. Got an awesome job working for a nonprofit, managing the library and website and such, and am living with an old friend whose company (and whose pup) I enjoy more and more every day. I hate to be so far from home (and the beach), and I miss dearly the as friends and family who I left behind... but I'm happy here.

Anyway - thank you for listening. I plan to use this blog to meander and ramble, mostly about music, books, and life... to share the things I find interesting and that I hope will interest you. And also to share this journey as I strive for better health and habits. Recently I was given doctor's orders to change my eating habits and lifestyle in order to stave off the genetic downfall my diabetic parents and grandparents handed to me. I'm not diabetic, but I'm at risk for it. So I've added exercise to my daily routine, even if all I can do is 30 minutes on my lunch break (we'll see how that goes once the summer heat gets here), and changing my diet. Not dieting, but making the "lifestyle change" you always hear so much about.

I'll be checking in soon to share some book reviews and whatnot.