Thursday, December 18, 2008

I feel so hip...

The Airborne Toxic Event has a station identification spot for NBC! Caught it at the end of L&O last night! They're all crammed in a limo with their instruments like in their acoustic "Does This Mean You're Moving On?"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shoes at Bush--Important enough to post twice

I'm going to mail old shoes to Bush--I encourage you to do the same.

Some suggested messages:

It's not just one Iraqi, Mr. President.

Over 4,000 dead Americans--nearly 100,000 dead civilians. Injuries for decades to come.

Nice insurgency, Mr. President.

You said we'd be greeted as liberators.

Hey, hey, GWB
There's no saving your legacy.

And my personal favorite:
But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection.
Henry V, Act IV--William Shakespeare

Monday, December 15, 2008

Music on the radio

Isn't it funny, that one may have a CD/album at home, or even on one's mp3 player, available with a few flicks of the finger, and still be irrationally pleased to hear an old/obscure song on the regular radio?

This evening I heard 'Pulling Mussels From the Shell' by Squeeze and 'Call Me' by Blondie, both of which I can call up in seconds, but instead listened to on air.

No Libs

Driving up to Lowell yesterday I was behind an enormous pick-up truck with a McCain sticker and a vanity plate that said, "NO LIBS." And I so wanted to follow him and ask, "No liberals? No libertarians? No women's lib? No liberation? No librarians? Or just no liberties?"

But I didn't because I'm not that crazy yet.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

A couple of months ago I bought at Target a little shopping bag that folds up and fits in one's purse. My husband had been using canvas bags and a large cooler bag to shop for groceries for some time, but I kept finding myself at a CVS or Target buying shampoo or something and having to either shove the item in my purse, carry it out to the car in my hand, or take a plastic bag.

For a little while I would forget I had it until the clerk had already bagged my item. Or I wouldn't say, "I don't need a bag," fast enough or loud enough. Sometimes I would forget to unpack it after buying, say craft supplies, and so wouldn't have it on the next shopping trip. But over time I've used it more and more.

We reused our plastic bags as much as we could already. Using them to line small trash cans, pick up after the dog, etc. But that only postpones their deposit in a land-fill. It's not like I was rinsing them out. Likewise at my job (which does not recycle) I use both sides of paper when it doesn't need to be fancy, but that only postpones, doesn't eliminate. My husband's office does shred and recycle--thank God.

At home we bag magazines, newspapers, catalogs, envelopes. Rinse out cans and boxes. The standard stuff. I have friends who have been sorting trash into 12 pails since the 60's or 70's depending on their age. Who've had a brick in their toilet and EnergyStar appliances as soon as they became available. They would think we don't do enough.

For instance, like parents debating cloth or disposable, the better option would be to use paper towels after my dog, but I buy sandwich bags or use plastic grocery bags because it's "icky." I recently bought a slightly larger trash can for my bathroom that won't take the plastic bags. I'm using large trash bags for the moment because our town just went to "special" garbage bags so these are useless, but when these run out, will I buy special sized ones or clean out my trash can each week?

Or the Christmas Tree. Any environmentalist would tell you what a waste that is. That a tree should be left alive in the woods, that the land used to grow Christmas Trees should be used for something useful and sustainable.

But I love real Christmas Trees...

Which is the same lame excuse that someone could use to justify their need for an SUV or cigarettes or any other thing that I consider beyond the pale. That we love it or it is more convenient.

Boycott Black Friday

I hate Black Friday, always have and can't foresee a time when I don't. I mean that number one shopping day, the day after Thanksgiving. This is because I've been in retail and worked it, but fortunately I never worked at a store (as a salesperson) that really did well out of it--people aren't buying fabric on Black Friday.

But now someone has died, and quite frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner. And the real horror isn't that this young man was accidentally trampled, but the fact that the shoppers became ANGRY when they were told that they had to leave. I can't even imagine--"Sorry, you died because somebody needed that big screen TV at Walmart prices."

I remember when I was working in visual merchandising and I was decorating a Christmas swag on Columbus Day (and before you wonder why stores have to decorate for Christmas before Halloween, let me remind you that our Macy's put up 52 Christmas Trees and 30 swags, plus numerous other decorations and displays--thank you to all of the shoppers who felt it was OK to come and insult us as we stood teetering on ladders--but that's a rant for another day) and the store was opening at noon. I was on a ladder near a mall entrance and for an hour before we opened I watched a crowd gather--faces pressed against the glass, as if they were starving and we were the only food.

And I thought, "I have to get off this ladder and have it packed away before that door opens or I am going to be knocked off."

Visual didn't even work the day after Thanksgiving--there was no point. We'd have spent our day directing traffic.

I also remember times when the power went out--both at House of Fabrics and at Macy's when people didn't want to leave--claimed they could keep shopping in the dark, even though we couldn't have rung them up. What is this madness?

And now you have stores opening at 4 AM, and shoppers waiting in line over Thanksgiving night all for some lottery on the lowest prices. Will this tragedy cause laws to be enacted like after the concert tramplings in the 70's?

My husband and I boycott Black Friday--we always have. We see no reason to go out at all, even if someone had $5 big screen TVs and $1 Wii's. We don't get groceries. We don't go to a movie. The only time I can remember going out was when we had just gotten our dog Guinness and we had to go to the vet.

I urge you and your family to do the same next year--stay home and be with your family instead of shopping for things.


You will note that I have added both a simple Twitter link (now you can know what I'm doing EVERY MINUTE--aren't you excited?) and a topic cloud which is of course huge shoving my friends blogs way down to the bottom.

But now you can find any post quickly and easily--as can I--except for those I wrote before Blogger added tags... because you know, I should really stop and go back and tag those...

Wow, I didn't know that I wrote about myself so much, but I guess I'm not that surprised.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

God Bless...

I saw a banner today that said:

God Bless America

I tried to take a picture but somehow didn't frame it right.

Thank you God for all-you-can-eat buffets.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Airborne Toxic Event and Franz Ferdinand

We went to a concert last Saturday. I bought the tickets on mad impulse just before my job went into freefall. The mad impulse was because I had only heard one song by the first band at that point. But I loved it, loved it, loved it. So after I had bought the tickets I bought the album and didn't love it on first listen, but it grew on me--BUT I knew my husband wouldn't like it. So I told him to listen to it and the Monday before the show he sends me an email that says, "You were right. I don't like it."


But I heard the band live on the radio and they were more amazing live so I convinced him. Plus he likes Franz Ferdinand more than I do. In retrospect he gave in more easily than I expected. Must be the meds.

It was part of a two night show by my favorite radio station called "Miracle on Tremont Street." The second night was The Black Kids (how do they get away with that name?) and Vampire Weekend, and I'm sorry I'm just not that into VW.

So the show was terrific. The venue, the Orpheum Theater, is a great place to see shows and we had very good seats, the second closest we've ever been at the Orpheum. Unfortunately we were on the front corner of a section so we tended to have people crossing in front of us during the set changes.

We only caught the last two songs of the opening act and were quite underwhelmed.

This is the song that I love by The Airborne Toxic Event:

This is the same song done acoustically--squee.

My husband had to agree that they are better live--you have to love a rock band with a viola player. During the show the bassist played his bass with a bow on some songs. I think they need a good producer to really tighten them up while keeping the rawness--rather as Eno did for U2. The album is a little overproduced and several songs have the same shape as if they can't trust a song to just be but need to add the crashing guitars each time.

This is the second single done acoustically as well. I NEED to get an album of the acoustic stuff.

And this is also the acoustic version and very funny:

The name is from a Don Delillo book in case you are wondering. Followed by a band named after the assassinated Archduke. Gotta love it.

Franz Ferdinand came out of Scotland in 2002 as part of that new British Invasion (that somehow also contained The Killers f(O_o)

I first saw the second half of this video and told my husband that he would love it. I was right.
(The embedding has been disabled so here's the link)

You have to watch until at least the minute mark to really appreciate the genius of Franz Ferdinand.

My husband said that he understood why I like TATE so much--it's a lyric band. The lyrics are full of longing, loneliness and loss.

FF on the other hand is not so much about lyrics--although they are often clever.
This is my favorite song by them:

I think the lyrics are hilarious! "Not to look you in the shoes, but the eyes." Even funnier if you know who Terry Wogan is.

Both bands were brilliant live--serious musicianship and showmanship, which I was not entirely expecting.
On this song, as in this live version, they ended by all four band members and a roadie playing on the drum set with no other instruments. Amazing.

I also found that the lead singer sounded even better live. That doesn't happen that often.

And one last one--for Musing--smexy...

One shoe down

The really cool job no longer exists--maybe by 2nd quarter.

Trying not to let this discourage me into a deep and immobile funk.

Having little confidence in my present company and even less desire to work hard for them, I am struggling with my happy face.

Monday, December 08, 2008

WARNING--Bad Pun alert

Getting ready to watch House a few weeks ago, I said to my husband, "So, since we watch House on Tuesdays, does that make them our Housian (halcyon) days?"

He rightly threw a pillow at me.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Things You See When You Don't Have Your Camera (and where I've been)

One morning last week, as I was walking out to my car, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, the darting shadow of a squirrel, but something seemed wrong--the shadow seemed distorted, like some grotesque Tim Burton squirrel come to terrorize my morning ritual. But no, walking around the tree I could see that the distortion was due to the intrepid squirrel holding an ENTIRE bagel in his mouth as he danced up the tree...

Then, working through the giant rotary (the nightmare curse of New England) I found myself behind some modest behemoth of an SUV wherein every surface was covered with yellow chintz! The seats the headrests, even down to the little useless one in the middle of the backseat!
So I didn't have a camera, and digging for my camera phone with its limited capability didn't seem worth it.

I did have my camera in Scottsdale, AZ where I went for our Summit.

The first picture is of the golf course. The resort was very beautiful--very new, and so shiny that it gave me the eerie feeling that I was in a game of Myst. This postcards shows it even more. Of course, all photos are suspect now--colors tweaked, imperfections removed--but it really had a hyper-real quality.

At night it was cold and we gathered around the fire pit while a bagpiper played.

And next to the coffee shop was this statue--Ode to the coffee bean... In Myst it would be a vital clue, or guardian of a passageway.

Anyway--like last year, the conference had me busy, but also, the thing that I referenced in my last post had me distracted.

Basically, my company came to me and said they had no money and needed to lay me (and three others) off, but would I mind getting them through the Summit in a month? They'd understand if I didn't want to...yada yada. The conference was already paid for--much as AIG claimed as an excuse for their going ahead with their retreats after their bailout--so that cancelling would cost more than going. Well, having a job seemed better than not having a job AND I could look for another job openly, rather than furtively. And I believed that I could stay true to the job. I tried, but there were certainly afternoons when I thought, "Why am I working hard for this company again?" But the conference is like designing a show. Somehow something has to be there when the audience arrives. So I did everything I had to do to the best of my ability, but the things that were more optional or long-term I found I didn't start.

I also went on a very good interview for a very cool company for a position that seemed designed for me. As someone who rather fell into Marketing, I was finding positions that wanted Marketing degrees, wanted years of experience, wanted specialization in web design, or SEO or research, etc. This company wanted someone who understood marketing, but wasn't too high and mighty to do the grunt work on a website or a mailing.

So with that interview behind me I went off to the summit, enjoyed Scottsdale and got a facial. During the conference my current company said they appreciated how hard I had worked and that they felt they really couldn't afford to let me go. However, I am still wary of their precarious financial position, but unfortunately, the cool company can't make a decision on that position because of the precarious financial situation in the country.

So....I am waiting for something to shift--for the other job to come through, or for this company to go under. I continue to look for work, and to spend money for Christmas and other things, but there are certainly things I've denied myself that I wouldn't have if things were more stable.

And jumping back into blogging. It seemed wrong to just come and post some random tidbit without explanation. But by the nature of posting, this will move down and people checking in won't find it under all the other things.

I'd like to get back into it, as it helps me clarify thoughts. And there are things I'd like to put out there.

Another reason for silence has been my discovery of Facebook (and the addiction to my new phone--an expenditure I probably didn't need, but cannot regret). Social Media is a strange world, but more on that later.