“The Bitch is Back”


Hi there.  It’s been a while.  Not quite as long as I thought it had been, but still.

I’m back.

I’ve not been posting for a variety of reasons: caregiving, general laziness, dying pets, dying musicians, political exhaustion, rage, regular trips to Disneyland, reading.  You name it, I’ve been doing it.  I’m also gainfully employed once again.  (I’ll go into that in some near-future post.  I’ll probably go into all of it in future posts; I’m not afraid of oversharing.)  But I committed to this year’s Nano Poblano (go Team Peppers!) and while I’m probably not going to follow the rules Ra set, I will use this committment to bring myself back into the blogging world, which I’ve missed.  It’s a way to get me writing again, which I’ve REALLY missed.  And I can once again harangue people about the music I love more than just about anything else.

Yeah.  The Bitch is indeed back.

You’re welcome.

“Beep Beep”


Today is the November 30th, the final day of Nano Poblano.  It was a fun ride this month, and I learned that getting back into the swing of posting regularly isn’t that hard.  This week’s gonna be busy, but I’m hoping to keep up the habit (I might start taking weekends off again, though).  School’s almost over, and I’ve got two final assignments due on December 8th, so a lot of my brain power will be heading that way.  I also enjoyed being a Tiny Pepper this month.  I’m not a huge joiner, but it’s always fun to be a member of a community.

Have I learned anything else?  Well, judging from my song choice for today, I’m gonna go with no.

I had this song stuck in my head all morning.  It wasn’t that bad, really, as far as earworms go.  It was one of those novelty songs I used to love to listen to when I was a kid, and it’s still kind of fun.



We’ll just call this a Friday round up since I don’t really have anything to say.  I just want to make sure I continue being a Tiny Pepper and post for Nano Poblano.  It’s the 20th today, and I’ve almost made it through the entire month; I’d hate to break the streak now.

I also want to note that this week marked the birthday of one of my dear, dear friends from high school, whom I recently reconnected with on Facebook.  Like so many of the people I spent those wonderfulconfusingexcitingdesperate years with, we lost touch.  She got married, had kids, moved up to NorCal. . . all the usual stuff.  The only reason I joined Facebook was to get back into touch in some small way with people like her, and I’m so glad I did.  This is just a little shout out to her, because knowing she (and all the other old friends I found) are out there is such a nice thing.

It’s an appropriate song, in spite of the fact that Adele is singing about such heartbreak in it.  I’m not heartbroken (one of the eternally pleasant byproducts of swearing off romance) about anything, and certainly not finding friends.  But this is just an awesome song by an awesome artist.  You might think that I’m a little behind since this has been making the rounds on the interwebs for a couple of weeks now, but the album just dropped today and I picked up a copy when I was at Target today; call it an early Christmas gift to myself.  I’m very much looking forward to listening to the rest.

I have to go now, because the kettle is starting to whistle and I really want my cuppa.


Old Repost: “Sing”


Rara put a request out today for something nice.  While the news story that inspired this post was not very nice, the sentiment is.  And given all the crappy news since last Friday, I think we should all remember to sing a little song once in a while.

Dan reminded me about this terrible story from Miami last week (original link broken). I get that public transportation has to have rules and regulations to ensure the safety and comfort of the passengers. I get that they don’t want to encourage any activity that can be viewed as disruptive or illegal. I use public transportation, so I understand and make every attempt to abide by the rules. And I also understand that there are laws governing street musicians, and so on. But who in the hell thinks it’s okay to yank an old lady off the train just because she was singing hymns? She wasn’t busking for loose change; she wasn’t being offensive. She was just singing and tapping some object in time to the song. It might be against the rules, but I figure the rules can be bent a little to accommodate an 82-year-old woman. Seriously.

Dan’s post also reminded me of this little ditty from the glory days of Sesame Street. It’s a simple song, about a simple pleasure. Singing is something common to virtually every culture in the world. It’s the most portable form of music, and the easiest to participate in–all you need is some air and a voice. Not everyone is blessed with a professional voice, but so what? These days, half the professionals don’t even have professional voices. I, for one, like singing along with my music. I often find myself randomly humming or singing songs all day long. (Whenever I file things, I have the urge to sing “Strangers in the Night.” I have absolutely no idea why.) Now, when I’m on the bus, wearing the iPod, I’ll just mouth the words like I’m trying out for a lip-synching competition. But I’m singing in my head.

So today I’m going to encourage everyone to engage in a little act of civil disobedience and add a little beauty to the world: sing out loud in public somewhere. Sing on the bus. Sing at the grocery store. Sing while standing in line at the bank. Or the DMV. Emma Anderson refused to stop singing, so let’s all join in.

“Victims of the Darkness”


Today is the birthday of one of my lovely blogging and Facebook friends, Sandee Harris.  She is fierce and beautiful and funky, so join me in wishing her many happy returns.

Please note that the choice of song today has nothing to do with Sandee personally.  In reality, the darkness would probably be a victim of hers.  I selected this Allen Toussaint number because it is as funky as she is, and I’m still missing his great musical voice a little bit.

“Only a Lad”


This one came out of the blue for me today, inspired in part by this Dangerous Minds post about a different song from the same album.  They used the word “spiky” to describe it, and that’s the best word I can think of to describe pretty much all of Oingo Boingo’s music.  Spiky.

Prickly is another good word.  Sharp and razor-edged also work.  There is nothing soft or easy about this band, and that’s a good thing.  I’m not a huge fan of their work, but I’d probably hate all of it if it didn’t sound like they’d all just gotten out of mental hospitals and been allowed to play with scissors again.

Oingo Boingo’s frontman Danny Elfman is best known today for his film scores, but it’s interesting to hear how he cut his musical teeth.  “Only a Lad” is one of the few Boingo songs I own, and it’s so much fun to listen to.  Dark, kind of subversive fun.  The kind of fun I used to get from reading Uncle Shelby’s ABZ’s or watching The Twilight Zone after midnight.  Come to think of it, those two things can be combined to form yet another apt description for Oingo Boingo’s music.  There’s something so wonderfully weird about it.

Around the time they got really popular was also about the same time they went to heck in a hand basket.  I know plenty of people who think “Weird Science” and “Dead Man’s Party” are great tunes, but those to me are kind of the hallmarks of their decline.  The edges were dulled by then, the spikes worn down to dull nubs.  They still needled and poked a little, but nothing ever broke the skin.  That was the beauty of Oingo Boingo in the early years: you never knew when someone was going to lose an eye.  And you know what they say.  It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

And then it’s just fun.

As Seen on TV: “I’m a Pepper”


Hey, y’all!  I’m back!  It hasn’t been that long since I posted, and it’s not like I don’t have some ideas (I got some new music, and there’s always the massive collection living in my closet after all.)  But I’ve been saving my posts up because I became a Pepper for the month of November.

The lovely and wonderful Rarasaur (who is just as lovely and wonderful in three dimensions as she is on the interwebs) has recruited myself and a number of other bloggers for Nano Poblano, an easier to say name for National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo. . . or something like that; her name is so much better).  The goal is to post something every day for the month of November.  This is good for me, because I have fallen out of the habit of posting regularly.  I like to keep the jukebox stocked with great music, and my lack of posts has been weighing on me a little (not too much, to be honest).  I’ve heard it takes about a month for something to become a habit, so I’m going to make the most valiant effort to post every single day this month.  That may mean a lot of reposts and quickies, but so be it.  I am determined to be an active part of the blogosphere again.

I chose this classic little bit of advertising cheese from the seventies because it relates to the quality of being a Pepper, not because I drink Dr. Pepper (it’s not bad; I just prefer Coke).  This is one of those classic commercial jingles that they just don’t write anymore–it’s another dying breed along with the great TV theme song.  David Naughton really sells it, too.  It was probably one of his earliest paying gigs as an actor, and it showed his potential.  After all, if he could convince people to buy a weirdly flavored soda, then he could do just about anything.  (“Just about anything” for Naughton turned out to be a great turn as a werewolf in An American Werewolf in London, but that was also pretty much the peak of his career.)  People of my generation grew up on this commercial, so I hope others feel just as fondly for it as I do.

Halloween is Coming


My time away from the blogosphere wasn’t all bad.  Yeah, a lot of crap went wrong, but most of it has been taken care of.  And lest the Universe be listening to my complaints, please remember that I am grateful for all the good that fills my life every day.

One good thing coming up is Josh Ritter on Wednesday at Fingerprints (expect at least a couple Ritter posts in the next few days).  And I made plans to enjoy one of my all-time favorite scary movies at a theater with the lovely and dear Rarasaur at the end of this month.

John Carpenter’s classic Halloween is being shown on movie screens again for one night only on October 29th, just two days before the titular holiday.  Luckily, one of the theaters showing it is literally just down the street from my home (I’m not kidding; I could walk there).  Now I love this movie.  Halloween is probably the best of the slasher flick subgenre of horror, mostly because it basically invented slasher flick.  Oversexed teenagers getting picked off one by one by some faceless, masked killer who seems unstoppable, only to be defeated by the one good girl of the bunch.  (Many years ago, I read a great article for a class about why the heroine of these movies was always sober and virginal, and usually given a boyish name like Max or Sam; if I ever remember where that was from, I’ll add a link.)  Michael Myers was one creepy villain, and the tension of this movie is almost unbearable.  Or it would be if it weren’t so much fun getting scared.  While others of this genre have degenerated into ever more blood and titillation, Halloween set the bar with style and spook.

Part of the film’s success, I think, rests on the limited budget.  John Carpenter made this independent masterpiece for $300,000 dollars.  Because of that, much of the awfulness is kept in the shadows or not shown at all, which heightens the terror Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie feels as she discovers all the bodies and is stalked by Michael.  And like any really good horror movie, it takes some time to build up, so you get to know the characters.  I will always contend that the movies that wait to scare the pants off you work better because you actually have a chance to care about what’s happening.

One other thing the tiny budget for this movie gives us is the unmistakable theme music.  Since he couldn’t afford a fancy score, Carpenter composed and performed the music himself.  It’s one of the greatest scary themes of all time, largely because of its simplicity.  There’s no over-embellishment or Pop star singing some dumb song.  It’s just that same intense series of notes, over and over, coming at you with the same relentlessness as Michael Myers.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Gulp . . .


I’ve made the Facebook jump, Jukebox listeners, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.  I’m not going to stop now, although I don’t know how attentive I’ll be.  I certainly won’t be constantly posting pictures or updating the minutiae of my life.  Hopefully, I’ve correctly linked the blog to my Facebook page, and this (and all other) posts will show up there.

Having created the page about fifteen minutes ago, I only have my sister-in-law as a friend, but I’ll get there.  I’m planning on being relatively private—or as private as anything on this corporate behemoth/Big Brother substitute can be.  We’ll see.  Either way, what’s done is done.  I’m officially a member of social media now.  I guess that means I have to actually do something once in a while.  But I think this song helps describe my mixed feelings.  Enjoy.

Repost: “Do It Again”


I was bored the other night, and changed up the look of the blog.  I’m not sure why changing things up a little makes me think of this song, except for maybe the lyrics I reference.  Today’s been generally not a good day, too.  Which makes me think of the vicious cycle that is life.  Let me know what you think of the new look, okay?

One of my favorite Kinks songs, “Do It Again” chronicles the boredom and alienation of life, the greatest vicious cycle of them all. I don’t mean that life is bad, or anything negative. But it is just one damn thing after another. “Day after day, I get up and I say, ‘C’mon do it again.'” It doesn’t really matter what you do, how much you love your job or your family, eventually it wears you down. You get fed up and tired. And it doesn’t matter what you do to change things up, you’ll still be the same person who will eventually get fed up with everything all over. “The days go by, and you wish you were a different guy, different friends and a new set of clothes. You make alterations and affect a new pose: a new house, a new car, a new job, a new nose. But it’s superficial and it’s only skin deep, because the voices in your head keep shouting in your sleep, ‘Get back!'” (A possible homage to the Beatles?) What are you trying to get back to? I suppose that depends on who you are. And who you want to be.

There’s a sense of history to this song, but that’s no surprise. Ray Davies has always been the most British of the British Invasion rockers. He seems to carry his nationality with him like a touchstone. It’s a big part of the reason why the Kinks never had the same commercial success in the U.S., but it’s also what makes him so interesting. He understands that a large part of his identity is tied up in his Englishness, and that much of what makes him English is bound up in the history of England. He gets that it’s just another cycle, and he’s just another spoke in the wheel.

I guess that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. I’m not in control of anything that goes on (as if I ever was), but I can control how I react. I’m still working on that one.