Thursday, February 26, 2009

Imaginary Band

I loved this so much in Facebook that I had to bring it over here.

And these really were exactly following the directions--I did crop and rotate the picture. Also, tip--have the sense to download the actual picture and not the thumbnail. Will definitely make your picture better, LOL.

I wonder what kind of sound they have? I'm thinking either intelligent thrash metal or Slavik angst.

CREATE YOUR BAND NAME & ALBUM COVER:To Do This:1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random”or click first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations"or click last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Top Albums

I got tagged for this on Facebook and I didn't know how to respond. It's supposed to be the albums that mean the most to you, but many people are listing albums which are considered great albums. And I like great albums--I'm not one of those singles only kind of people--but in terms of my top albums I came up at sort of a loss. I didn't spend my money on music in my teenage years and so the list is limited to my favorite artists. So I decided I needed to explain my choices.

1. The Wizard of Oz, original movie soundtrack. What can I say. This movie/album was the end all, be all for me, up to about 7. I had all the books, the play sets, the dolls, I even saw Margaret Hamilton in one of her last performances as the Witch. I wore down the grooves (isn't it nice that that is a thing of the past?).

2. At 8 it was replaced with Camelot (original Broadway recording). It was just the perfect show for me. I read The Once and Future King and The Mists of Avalon and any other Arthurian stuff I could access, good and bad. I still think Alan Jay Lerner was the best lyricist of all time. I read his autobiography, checked out again and again from the library (and still kick myself that I didn't pick it up years later in a bookstore in New York). I loved it's blend of dark and light. Also bubbling under were My Fair Lady and Oliver! which taught me cockney (or the movies version of it). Somewhere in there I also found Cabaret and learned that as well, and Kismet.

3. I didn't listen to rock and roll until I was 12 because my parents didn't listen to it. We listened to Big Bands and Standards and some opera and show tunes. And then at 12 I discovered Duran Duran. But here it gets fuzzy. The album out at that time would have been Duran Duran (original--reissue) with Is There Something I Should Know in constant rotation on both the radio and MTV (when I could view it at friend's houses) and boy, did I love that video, but I also loved Save a Prayer from Rio (although bizarrely missed hearing Rio, the song, for at least six months).

4. And at the same time that I saw Duran Duran's posters in record stores I saw David Bowie for Let's Dance, but I didn't get the cassette until a few years later when a friend gave me hers. And I distinctly remember another friend's older sister playing Young Americans, the 45 for us at some point. Mixed in to that I caught some run of old Bowie videos on Friday Night Videos or some other show. After seeing Ashes to Ashes and Boys Keep Swinging, I was hooked. So is it Let's Dance, Heroes, Scary Monsters, Station to Station? I love Hunky Dory now. But I never owned these albums (they belong to my husband).

5. This same friend's sister played us all of Hounds of Love by Kate Bush when she bought it and I was hooked. I saved up and bought cassettes of every one of Kate's albums to that point because Kate answered something in me. To paraphrase Emily Dickinson, I felt as if the top of my head would come off. I now know that HOL is actually Kate lite, so I would say that it's a tie with The Dreaming. Suspended in 'Gaffa's lines, "Am I doing right, can I have it all now" seem to sum me up so often.

6. Can you remember the first time you saw "Sweet Dreams"? Annie Lennox. I wanted her, or I wanted to be her. The voice, the beauty, the bravery. Saved up, bought Sweet Dreams. Played it over and over.

7. Then too, Savage got me through some high school times--Annie's pain, my pain, Annie's experience, my desire for life.

8. I've mentioned in other posts how Don't You Want Me? by The Human League was one of the first New Wave songs I ever heard and probably one of the first rock and roll songs, but it would be more than 10 years before I heard Dare, the album all the way through. There were numerous bands that I heard then, who's CD's I now own (or downloads), but I couldn't buy them then. I did own Pretty in Pink (soundtrack). It seemed to validate the music that I was listening to.

9. And it got me into the Psychedelic Furs. I found Mirror Moves in a discount bin in a convenience store in Muncie, IN. Years later Should God Forget, the Psychedelic Furs retrospective (double album) would help get me through the worst time in my life.

10. Music for the Masses (Depeche Mode) and 11. Strip-Mine (James). This was the soundtrack to my high school romance. I only got the actual CD's for both of them. I tapped them off of my high school boyfriend and when I went away I stopped listening to them. I missed Strip-Mine the most.

12. Big Thing (Duran Duran). Seven and the Ragged Tiger was not that good--too overproduced and then there was the hiatus and Notorious, while interesting and gritty is still too much Nile Rogers. I think it's on Big Thing that they really matured as a band (by which point no one cared). I listened to Big Thing over and over during Christmas break of my senior year, writing college essays (which were all due on Dec. 31) and an essay for a competition on Atlas Shrugged. Even now, passages of the album will make me think of passages in the book.

13. A Little Night Music (original Broadway album). I don't know why, this one of all Sondheim, maybe the connection to the Bergman film. Maybe just a memory.

14. Gone to Earth (David Sylvian). I remember seeing David's picture in Star Hits at some point, and while I didn't develop a crush on him I thought him so beautiful--almost too beautiful. I know I heard about Gone to Earth at some point, borrowed it from a friend in college, and then played my then boyfriend/now husband's copy over and over. What I've needed from David's lyrics have changed over the years but there's always something there.

15. And the list wouldn't be complete without L'Arc~en~Ciel, my mid-life crisis crush. But the crush is over and the music remains. When I first heard L'Arc, I felt as I did when I first heard Duran or Bowie. That this was necessary. But because I was downloading, and downloading in the twilight of their career, I got a few random songs, and a few more and then whole albums and pretty much the whole discography together. Tierra and Awake remain my favorite albums. And Hyde's own Roentgen deserves a mention, but I cannot say which of those is the most valued.

And just to round it out, another list for which I have not been tagged, but began thinking about anyway:

Songs I could not do without:

1. Forbidden Colours, instrumental--Sakamoto)
2. Forbidden Colours, vocal--Sylvian)
3. Kasou-L'Arc
4. Grey Lady of the Sea--Duran Duran
5. Gymnopedies--Erik Satie
6. Claire de Lune--Debussy
7. Suo Gan--Empire of the Sun soundtrack
8. Suspended in Gaffa--Kate Bush
9. I Love You Goodbye--Thomas Dolby
10. A Drop of Colour--Hyde

I have not been the kind of person who makes mixes--I stress too much about the order, but with my lovely random feature on my mp3 I can pick the songs and let the player order them differently each time. I recently made a big list of "Happiness Songs"--those which make me smile when they begin, even though they may not actually be happy songs (I must be the only person in the world who smiles when they hear Disappointed by PIL or How Soon is Now sung by Richard Butler (Morrissey cover). I then made another list called "Sweeter than Happy" because these songs make me a little sad, but happy in my sadness. All of the above are on there.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

1st Crown

So I finally got the crown on Friday--quick and painless. Seems to fit well--so well that the dentist had trouble removing it after testing it to put on the cement.

Even with the length of the process (pretty much a month) I still prefer it to a breast exam. I'm not kidding.

The tooth is smoother and rounder than my other teeth and I find myself worrying it with my tongue--though not as much as I did the temporary which felt like a lump of cold hot glue gun glue and tasted a bit like my fake vampire fangs. It also seems strangely the wrong temperature, but I can't quite decide if it is colder or warmer. It feels like a slightly misshapen marble in my mouth.

I am sad that my old tooth had to be filed down--like I've lost something important--no going back now. As though I have taken my first steps toward becoming a Cyborg.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Speaking of why I need to change jobs

On Wednesday my boss put me in a terrible position with our PR firm. I won't go into the details, but I had to rant for nearly an hour before I could call him back. And he, of course, felt that everything was fine. We are all miserable, and stressed and he thinks that's our problem not his.

That night I had a dream that wandered a bit, but eventually I ended up in a room in a museum filled with cases of live snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, beetles, etc. Creepy, crawly, you name it. And I knew in the dream that a friend was in the next room working on this exhibit. I was extremely freaked out, even though I don't have pronounced phobias about any of these things, just normal unease. The floor was sand and I found myself scooting, crawling out of the room, calling to my friend that I couldn't stay in there. There was a sudden sharp pain in my hand and I looked down to see a beetle biting me--a beetle about as large as my hand with half inch pincers. It was very painful and I screamed "Help me," and woke up as I was screaming. I was so skittish that the sight of my husbands sleep mask with it's elastic straps made me shudder.

Rolling over and picking up my fabulous phone I looked up beetles in dreams:

To see a beetle in your dream, indicates that some destructive influences
may be at work in your waking life. You may also feel that your values and
beliefs are being compromised.

And this:

The snake may also refer to a person around you who is callous, ruthless, and
can't be trusted.

I need to get out of my job.

A couple of weeks ago I dreamt that I was lost in familiar surroundings and I lost a whole day trying to get to where I was going, missing work. The dream was so vivid that I was relieved when I finally woke to realize that that was not my life. And I can usually practice lucid dreaming and take myself out of things.

Pre-decisions to be made

I went on a job interview on Friday. This should be a good thing as I must, must, must get away from my current job, but it's not the ideal job for me.

Basically I would be a wholesaler for a home health aide company. I would dine and schmooze people who could/would refer patients to this home company. But here's the thing. I hate schmoozing. I hate making phone calls. I barely call my friends. I can be that person--act like that person--that extroverted person, but it's only an act, and I find it tiring--Novel as people person. I do it for interviews, auditions, etc. I think I do it pretty well, but it's not who I am. The friend who recommended me thought that I was a people person.

But, the boss was sane and pleasant and quiet and calm, and committed to working together and helping grow the business, and focused and intelligent. I'd be working with an old friend (who called me in for it) and I wouldn't even have to work in the office as long as the numbers were there--the incoming calls. Beat my goal and I'd get a bonus. The friend and I worked for a boss like the one I have now, and she assures me that six months into this job this boss is exactly as calm and pleasant as he seems.

All of this is pre-decision. He's going to come back with what he could pay and then I'll have a second interview where I'll play that person--the one who can schmooze and soft sell with the best of 'em. It might not be enough money to make it worthwhile. He might not like my technique--I might not be able to fake it as well as he wants. So it could all be moot.

I remember speaking with a woman who was a coach for a company and we discussed being introverted/extroverted. She said that before she took that job she was an introvert on Myers-Briggs (or one of the personality tests) and after having the job for a while the numbers changed and she was more extroverted. Perhaps it would force me to become that more extroverted person, take me out of myself. Fake it until it become real. And I would have a script. The boss would work with me and we would make it work...

Again--this is a pre-thought. I have three friends who might be good for this job, but none of them live in Boston, and two of them do not like to drive in Boston (well, who does) and this job would require it. I wouldn't enjoy that piece much either, but it wouldn't often be at rush hour. I'd get to dine well. I'd be reimbursed.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Invisible Monsters (actually about my phone)

I just read "Invisible Monsters" by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club. It wasn't that good--the central premise seemed ripped from "Infinite Jest" by the late, lamented David Foster Wallace, the beauty disfigured. Even the drag queens and the parents who had more pride in being parents of a dead gay son than they ever had for the son, seemed to just be one of the threads in IJ. We've been here, done this. And the split identity of narrator/narrated was done much better in Fight Club.

The only reason I'm really writing about this is because it is the first book that I read on my phone. Yes, on my phone. Essentially one paragraph at a time, but it's a fairly short book. I'm currently reading Japanese Fairy Tales. These are great because I can read a few at a time.

My phone, the G1, is like the iPhone and has many of the same apps that you see on the commercials. One of the best is Shazam which allows you to hold your phone up to "hear" a song in public or on the radio--it listens and then analyzes--about 20 seconds and then it identifies the song, artist and album and links you to YouTube or Amazon or the artist's My Space page. I am boggled by the algorithms that this must take--because it's almost never stumped. It can't do classical (which would be difficult as there are so many recordings of the same pieces) and it doesn't do well with old standards, but it DID identify Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby singing Christmas songs (I was testing it's limits).

And then it has absurd apps. like the light sabre (with sound when you swing the phone), a steamy window you can write on and a Tricorder (Next Gen).

PLUS--better than the iPhone it has a hard keyboard so you don't have to deal with the tiny touch buttons. I can update Facebook, Twitter and my blog from the phone, plus surf the web and check my email.

In a very short time, our phone will become our only device. All it needs is a projection screen and projection keyboard, or perhaps just the movie eye-set or the predicted tv contacts.

The future is here.

25 Things + 5

In case you are not on Facebook and have not otherwise heard, 25 Things is the newest, greatest sociological thing, ever. So I'm reprinting mine here, but I realized that I had two #19's (there is no number 6) so I decided to go on to 30.

1. I own and wear some clothes that I've had since I was 13 including shoes and jewelry.
2. I gain weight first in my hips and thighs and lose it first in my shoulders and chest--always have.
3. I have trouble wearing fitted clothes for any length of time including hose--always have--it makes me feel claustrophobic so I've always favored baggy clothing (this may have contributed to number 1).
4. I have been known to eat and enjoy raw oatmeal including the instant kind in the little envelopes, uncooked batter of almost any kind (pancakes, bread), powdered drink mix as candy, orange peels and lemon wedges with sugar (peel and all). I have even eaten raw spaghetti, but I can't recommend it.
5. I've only begun to enjoy mustard as a flavoring in the last few years.
6. I still can't stand any kind of tomatoes or melons although I like most other fruits and vegetables, except squash and okra.
7. I have only really dated two men in my life and I married the second.
8. I had no intention of marrying the first man I fell in love with in college, but sometimes life trumps common wisdom.
9. I am allergic to wool and find acrylic and polyester uncomfortable, although I don't mind the new micro-fibers. If I could, I would spend the rest of my life in silk, rayon and cotton.
10. I still wonder sometimes what would have happened if I'd taken the scholarship and gone to Scripps in CA. I would have married someone else (or not married) and everything would be different.
11. I also wonder if we should have had a child--that it would have forced us to grow up--and then I hear some three year old screaming just because they can and think--nope.
12. The death of my first dog in 1998 was one of the top five most devastating things to ever happen to me. I can't imagine losing a child, also part of #11.
13. I still miss talking to my Dad who died in 1997 (that would also be in the top five).
14. I have difficulty parting with inanimate objects that I've loved and which have gotten me through rough times--I tend to apologize to them and try to find them new homes or new uses. But I am not one of those people who name inanimate objects like cars. I apologized to my old Golf when I traded it in. I think this is part of why I'm glad I've only dated two people and had two cars.
15. I read voraciously and eclectically, but I am quite dismissive of poor writing. I have no hesitation in skipping to the end of books if the writing is crap (I'm talking to you Dan Brown) or tossing them aside, but I will pick up almost any book that sounds interesting from a free table. Then I try to pass them along.
16. I think that speculative fiction is the most important genre as it tells us about where we have been, where we are AND where we are going--unfortunately there are even more crap writers in this genre than any other, except maybe mystery.
17. I am completely addicted to my G1 phone--I use it as an alarm clock, play with it before I get out of bed and check for new apps. at least twice a day. Sometimes I just like to hold it.
18. Sometimes I think of all the things that I'd like to do and could do when I wake up and end up not managing to choose anything to begin.
19. When I do start working I am extremely efficient.
20. I enjoy playing with programs instead of taking lessons--but then become frustrated that there's so much that I don't know. I also like taking things apart but only if I'm certain I can get them back together again.
21. Because my husband and I are fairly non-sentimental, I like to make up absurd terms of endearment for him like Puck-Wudgie. It used to annoy him, but I think he likes it now.
22. We both make up absurd names for our pets and change the lyrics of songs to fit them.
23. I think con-artist is the only crime that should absolutely get the death penalty.
24. I instantly distrust arrogant people and narcissists. I think it is a front for insecurity. (Says the woman typing 25 things about herself.) This is somewhat difficult in theater and may be why I'm not doing much of it.
25. I believe more in nurture than nature--say 90/10 or maybe 85/15.
26. I am in favor of less friends, but better relationships.
27. I'm not much of a drinker. I like drinks that taste like desserts primarily, and even then 1 will pretty much do me.
28. I've begun to drink more in this job--which means one drink two or three times a week as opposed to one drink a month.
29. My irises have been getting steadily lighter in color since my mid-20's.
30. I stalked my husband for a month before I got up the nerve to talk to him.

Wednesday Nights--Television

Last week I noticed that tonight's television line up is:

Life, Lost, Lie to Me, Life on Mars and Law and Order

Brought to you by the letter L (or Quaker) evidently.

Then I went into my DVR over the weekend and noticed that I had two shows back to back:

Trust Me
Lie to Me


But seriously, I need to cut out some shows. If I didn't have DVR it wouldn't be so bad--I'd have to choose one to watch and that would be it, but now I can watch double the shows! I've lost Eli Stone and Crusoe, of course, but this is what I'm watching (parenthesis for what I'm taping):
Monday-House, 24, Medium (Trust Me)
Tuesday-Fringe, Law & Order: SVU
Wednesday-Life, L&O (Lost, Lie to Me, Life on Mars)
Thursday-Bones, CSI, 11th Hour

And now on Friday we have Dollhouse coming up. My husband is actually being very frugal--House, Medium, L&O:SVU, L&O, Life, Bones, CSI with occasional foray's into Lie to Me, Life on Mars and 11th Hour. Oh, and ER's pulling out the stops for the last season, so we're kind of watching that.

And to tell the truth, we haven't really fallen for Trust Me or Lie to Me yet. We're mainly watching for the cast and that may not be enough.

I'll report back.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Fun web things

Found this great site that lets you make simple tiles for backgrounds--as you can see, I've added it here. I'm thinking I need to jazz up my site.

Fun thing a friend sent me