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Photo Friday: Lucky 13

In the words of my Dad, I’ve been “steady busy.” I’ve been planning a new ice cream blog. Because when you can’t find the time or energy to update your first blog, why not start another one?  I’ve also been: making ice cream, taking a small business workshop (see also: ice cream), worrying about my dog (he’s fine, don’t worry, but there’s been stuff), basking in the glow of my Craft Whores win, and celebrating anniversaries.

Last Wednesday was my 13th wedding anniversary. Dave had his usual Wednesday night jam class thing, and that means on Wednesdays, Dave is gone before I get home. This means that Wednesday is not the night we make sweet weekly love, but rather Wednesday nights I have to not only walk the dog, but also provide my own dinner (my life is hard).

But I found these on the counter when I got home.

I assumed there were 12, because a dozen roses is a thing, right? Later Dave told me there were 13 because we’ve been married 13 years and I was touched in my cold black heart by his  uncharacteristic romantic symbolism. But the best part of my anniversary present was the note on the counter saying “Chuck walk: check.” When I realized I could report directly to the couch, plant my ass there and watch TV, my eyes welled up with tears of joy. ‘Twas a happy anniversary indeed!

Last week was also our 20-year dating anniversary which, holy crap, is a long time, no? We celebrated by seeing Peter Gabriel on his last “Back to Front” tour stop. He performed the album “So” in its entirety in honor of the 25th anniversary of its release. Which occurred when I was FOURTEEN years old and Peter Gabriel didn’t look like an elderly Druid. But he sounded awesome. He also played two other non-“So” sets, including songs from the album “Us” that came out the month I met Dave (11 days before we officially started dating, not that I looked it up and counted). I assume he played “Come Talk to Me” in honor of our 20th anniversary, right?

As I rested my head on Dave’s shoulder and listened to the song, memories of that CD playing over and over as we fell in love came flooding back to me like 20 years hadn’t passed. How the hell did 20 years pass so quickly? Add Peter Gabriel to the growing list of bastards who made me cry at a concert.

Please to enjoy this video (this wasn’t our show, but the only video from our show on YouTube gave me vertigo). Song starts around 2:15:

Slap and Tickle

I like Squeeze. If you’re like most of the people I mentioned this to recently, you have no idea what I mean by that. That makes me sad.

When I mentioned seeing Squeeze in concert, people didn’t know who they were. This blew my mind. You don’t know “Tempted?” Did you not watch MTV in the 80s?

Confession: I used to change the lyrics of “Tempted” to reflect how anxious I was for romance in my pitiful adolescence — “alarmed by the seduction, I wish that it would stop start.”

But if all you know is “Tempted,” then you are missing out on Squeeze. As wonderful as Paul Carrack’s voice is, his tenure in Squeeze was short-lived and he wasn’t the lead singer.

I bought Singles 45’s and Under on cassette and played it until the tape almost snapped. Squeeze was never my favorite band. I didn’t love them and obsess over them like I did the Police, or the Beatles, or Genesis. But I liked every song on that tape.

I never would have been able to articulate why back then. So I was grateful for the opportunity to get to see them live for the first time Thursday night and figure it out.

Bands trying to recapture their previous glory can be depressing. One of the shirts for sale said “Squeeze est. 1973.” I was born in 1973…gulp (that makes them old, not me…right?). But I need not have worried about the quality or energy of their performance.

Within seconds of their taking the stage, I felt I’d been reunited with an old friend. And I realized why I like Squeeze. Their music is catchy and fun to sing, but the lyrics are also clever. I’ve realized I’m a lyrics girl. If I can’t make out the words, or the words are tired and trite, I don’t care how great the music or talented the singer. Squeeze spits out lyrics fast and furious that are so witty, combined with music so infectious, I’m putty in their hands. Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford might have looked older, but the songs sounded exactly right.

I had hoped there would be more videos of the show on YouTube by now, but no such luck, so here are a couple of classic videos.

My favorite song is “Slap and Tickle,” a song about young love/lust with lyrics that ring so true I feel like they read my diary (“He saw her in the morning, out with his sister Pauline. She felt all shy and soppy, he acted cool and cocky.”). Add the frantic music and I feel like I should check my answering machine to see if the boy I like called. They played it during the encore and it was perfect (starts at ~1:10 below).

“Annie Get Your Gun” encapsulates my rare moments of high-energy euphoria. I used to call it “getting giddy” in high school and college. Glenn Tilbrook is so adorable in this video I want to slap him.

Here is a video from the actual show. This was the last song, “Black Coffee in Bed.” This captures their charm, joking about the extreme heat (~6:00), and pretending to smash their instruments (~10:30).


This post is a response to this week’s writing prompt at The Lightning and the Lightning-Bug to write about something you like starting with the words “I like” (go figure!).

My Life’s Just Not That Interesting

This is one of those posts no one gives a shit about. I’ve been away from here long enough that I had to log in. The past few weeks, I’ve been trapped in a nostalgia sinkhole and it’s been harder to climb out than usual, because I’m deliberately trying to immerse myself in memories for something I want to submit to a literacy review.

This latest bout of nostalgia started when Dave and I went to see the Wedding Present play Seamonsters to celebrate its 21st anniversary (like that isn’t enough to make a person feel old). Dave loves the music so much and it reminds me of when we met, but it’s weird that these songs about relationship angst have somehow become “our songs.” I think Dave just doesn’t pay much attention to lyrics. But good lord, those lyrics. I obsess over them. I desperately wish I could write half as well as David Gedge. In 200 words, he can convey a feeling that needs no additional explanation. Of course, I’m guessing his life has actually been interesting. Having to go back twenty years to find some drama to write about, as I’ve done, means it’s time to admit your life just isn’t that interesting.

My writing, like my thinking, is heavy with detail, explanation, and analysis, not to mention an introspection that I believe blocks people from finding it resonant themselves. Part of me wants to delete every word I’ve written for the literary review and copy and paste the lyrics to Seamonsters into the submission box instead. Think they’d notice?

Then friends offered us free tickets to the National Symphony Orchestra. When I found out what we’d be seeing (Mendelssohn’s Elijah), I thought it sounded familiar. I looked it up and found the video below and recognized it. In fact, it contains a line that gets lodged in my head all the time and not remembering where the hell it came from has driven me nuts for years (“And a mighty wind rent the mountains around, brake in pieces the rocks, brake them before the Lord. But yet the Lord was not in the tempest.”).

My friends asked me if I’d sung the whole thing or just excerpts and I couldn’t remember. Of course, when I finally dug up the program, (like I would’ve thrown it out) it was during college–the same time I’m currently grinding over. My chorus sang it in its entirety–twice. Plus two excerpts at another concert. I can’t believe how much better I feel having figured this out. I can’t stand forgetting. Just try to imagine having to look for a choral program from 1992 and you can start to understand how exhausting it is to be me.

Then, this week there was something else, something maybe I shouldn’t even mention. But it’s contributed to why I’m spending so much of my time thinking about the past rather than functioning at all well in the present (I said fuck in one form or another at work today at least 20 times, loudly, because I am professional). I don’t even fully understand what the hell went on and it’s none of my damn business, but someone in my childhood best friend’s life was just murdered. There have been all kinds of murders on the side of town where I grew up and I can’t help but wonder what the hell made me so lucky.

So I’m busy writing, just not stuff for here (unless it’s not selected, in which case I might dump those 1,500 words–cause you know I won’t be under the word limit–here). And I’m busy thinking about my past as if it were a “Choose Your Own Adventure Book” rather than the prologue to my present. And I’m working with a designer to make this shit hole look more attractive and hopefully speak more accurately to what I’m trying to do here (which is actually to be funny, which you’d never know from this post).  

Ignorance and Malt Liquor

They say laughter is the best medicine. So when I laugh at people, I’m just looking out for my health.

One of many reasons I’ll be in hell if it exists is laughing at an impassioned speaker during high school who said, “we will no longer take your condensation!” Expressing frustration with condescension but messing up the word…now that’s ironic, Alanis. To this day, when I want to feign indignation, I say:  “I will take your sublimation, I will suffer through your precipitation, but by God, I will no longer stand for your condensation.”

So I’m a pain in the ass. But lest ye think I have no embarrassing moments of stupidity, I’m here to invite you to laugh at me.

Most of my highlights are the result of being naive. I have lived a pretty sheltered life. Although I’ve always had a mouth like a sewer, that came from growing up around my older brother and his friends, not the result of experience. I was, and sometimes still am, an innocent Catholic school girl at heart.

Sophomore year of high school, I was startled at the change in appearance of one of our classmates. I turned to my friend and whispered, “Wow, she really got fat!” And my friend looked at me incredulously and said, “She’s pregnant!” I can’t remember if she added, “you moron,” but if not, I deserved it. I was still a little confused even after the explanation (uh, isn’t sex required to get pregnant?!?), but managed to hold it in.

My specialty is misinterpreting song lyrics.

Sometimes I take things too literally. I’m embarrassed to report it was only a few years ago I finally realized “Santa Claus” was actually Daddy dressed up as Santa Claus in the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Before that, I had always just thought Mommy was a slut.

One of my favorite songs ever is “Mama Said Knock You Out,” by L.L. Cool J. It came out during my senior year of high school, when I was immersed in English literature (immersed as in having to memorize some of the prologue of The Canterbury Tales in Middle English). So when L.L. said, “Old English filled my mind, and I came up with a funky rhyme,” I was terribly impressed at such an allusion in a rap song.

Because clearly L.L. Cool J meant this Old English:

Of course, I learned later about an alternative “Olde English.” Perhaps this is the origin of the funky rhyme?

I still prefer to believe it’s a double entendre.

For all I know, the line might have been a triple entendre…

I could have swiped stock photos, but I am committed to my craft. Beowulf came from the library (buy it? bitch, please!), furniture polish from the grocery store, and the malt liquor…let’s say finding Olde English 800 in my neck of the woods was not as easy. We’d pretty much given up when we happened upon a little corner store with “wine and beer” in the title. On the way in, I had a premonition that our purchase of Olde English 800 would not go without comment. The guy behind us didn’t disappoint: “OE 800?!?! Kickin’ it old school like Dr. Dre!”

Nope, taking a picture of it for my blog. Dave’s excited to take it to his next band practice. He insisted I put it back in the fridge as soon I was finished taking photos so it wouldn’t be exposed to light. Something about degrading the quality…ahem. “Sweetie, I put the 40 of OE 800 next to your imported Belgian Trappist Ale.”

What’s your best moment of ignorance?

At the end of the funnel

I didn’t notice life was a funnel until I looked back and saw the light grow fainter and fainter. Each decision made reduced the infinite possibilities of youth as if I were living in a “choose your own adventure” book.

I never felt I had finished one of those books until I read each ending.

I hate the idea that decisions made at twenty can extinguish the light from other paths forever.

I’m ready to shine a light on all those other paths. While I wish I could see the ending before choosing, those paths are still there to take.


I’m linking up with Lance’s 100 Word Song prompt at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. The idea is to write 100 words, inspired by the song. This week’s song was “See A Little Light,” which reminds me of my youth. In the hopes of finding my writing mojo, I’m not grinding over this. I wrote until there were 100 words and I’m not massaging it.

30 Seconds of Greatness

It’s been awhile since I wrote about music. I still plan to input all of the songs I highlighted (in a positive way) during my iPod shuffle challenge into Pandora to try to train it to offer me new music that I’ll like.

But for now, I’d like to highlight a song that being a tennis fan has ingrained in my brain. That’s because I’ve seen the following commercial a thousand times over the past two Australian Opens:

I became obsessed with this music last year. First of all, what a great selection to make someone want to visit Australia. “I want to go where you go when you’re gone…” Australia is exotic, it’s always the opposite season! Adorable marsupials live there! You would be wearing a cute sundress if you were there right now! Secondly, it just haunted me until I did a search to find out what it was.

It is “A Heart Divided” by Holly Throsby. Unfortunately, I like the 30 seconds highlighted in the commercial considerably better than the rest of it. It almost seems as though the rest of it doesn’t fit, like she couldn’t think of where to go from the excellent beginning. Overall, it’s still quite pretty, but I kind of want it to be different. Last year I just couldn’t quite pull the trigger to download it.  

What do you think? Do you like the song? Am I just too attached to the part in the commercial to be objective?

2011 Favorite Christmas Song Addendum

I shared my favorite Christmas songs last year, but I also like to expand my collection each year. So here’s an addendum to last year’s list, although it’s getting harder and harder to find new stuff.

The Sirius Christmas channel, “Holly,” makes me want to stab somebody this year (program director, perhaps?). I really don’t need Taylor Swift to sing ever, let alone sing Christmas songs that sound exactly like all her other songs. I would also prefer to live in a world without Christmas songs performed by the seemingly hundreds of interchangeable and faceless (to me anyway) “Talent” reality show contestants, and the frigging cast of Glee. And was anyone clamoring for new versions of Wham’s “Last Christmas” (where does the exclamation point go when you need to add apostrophe-s to “Wham!”?)? Dude, if you gave your heart away last Christmas, you no longer have possession of it to give to someone special this year. Stupidest lyrics EVER.

So I switched to Sirius’ “Holiday Traditions” channel this year, and I feel like I’m ready to retire and move to Florida. But I’ve found some good “dirt old, but new to me” songs to add to my collection this year.

“Snow” from White Christmas

I’ve never heard people so awestruck by snow, it’s like they’re from Mars (or D.C., HA!). Seeing the scene from White Christmas just makes it worse. Danny Kaye seems to be implying he wants to shovel. Dude, you’re welcome here anytime, wash our car while you’re at it.

“To see a great big man entirely made of snow…” Take it easy, little lady. Sexually frustrated much? 

I keep trying to come up with even sillier lyrics than “I’ll wash my hair with snow,” (I’ll get some hookers and blow?). Who the hell would want to wash their hair with snow, well…unless they watched this YouTube video and believed an ice-cold rinse would help their charming new frizz problem, when really this woman is just fucking with people. “Let’s see if I can get people to rinse their hair in ice-cold water…suckers!” Yeah, doesn’t work (not that I tried it or anything, ha-ha very funny lady, you got me!).

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme “Hurry Home For Christmas”

Oh good lord, this is bad. In a good way. “Until you get here, jingle-bells-won’t-jingle-not-a-single-jingle-baby…” Listening to this makes me feel dirty somehow.

Pearl Bailey “Five Pound Box of Money”

Tell it like it is, sister! I’m so with her. I don’t want a lot for Christmas, just early retirement. Santa, can you hook me up?

Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby “We Wish You the Merriest”

I love the almost frantic need to provide yuletide greetings. As is so often the case with Frank, he sounds a little drunk (even though there’s no dit-dit-dit). For some reason I find this drunken persona of the Rat Pack endearing and think they would’ve been fun to hang out with until I remember how uncomfortable I am with habitually drunk people.

Amazon has been giving away a free Christmas song download every day in December. I needn’t have been so excited about this. My favorite of the bunch so far, I already knew (but didn’t own, and now own for free, so yea!).

The Superions “Fruitcake”

Dave’s been threatening to make fruitcake for years…shudder. The song includes a fun mace reference.

The Grand Candy “America, It’s Time to Shop (Best of Black Friday)”

This song by Dave’s talented guitar teacher (who I’ve mentioned a few times and think I always refer to as “Dave’s talented guitar teacher”) makes me smile. Sort of a Christmas/current events (well, current as of 2001 anyway)/yet funny version of The The’s “Swine Fever.” And I’m willing to bet you don’t have any other Christmas songs that mention anthrax or smallpox (please, please tell me if you do!).

But, my favorite Christmas song ever is still this version of “Carol of the Bells.” Who doesn’t want to induce a burst aneurysm for the holidays?


What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Old Friends

A Gift

The song didn’t exist and then, as if by magic, it did. He sensed it could be his greatest work. 

When Paul Simon said, “I think you should sing Bridge Over Troubled Water,” although Art Garfunkel obviously did sing it (and Paul ironically resented how the song came to be associated with Art), his original response was reportedly, “Nah, you go ahead and sing it.”


Simon & Garfunkel did not record another album after Bridge Over Troubled Water. If childhood friends who built their relationship over years and blended their voices together so beautifully couldn’t maintain a harmonious friendship, what hope is there for the rest of us?

The Harmony Game

Last year was the 40th anniversary of Bridge Over Troubled Water and I recently saw “The Harmony Game,” a documentary about the making of the album. The documentary reignited my college obsession with Simon & Garfunkel’s music. And their friendship.

I enjoyed the documentary as much for the old footage of Paul and Art interacting at the height of their partnership as for the more recent commentary on the music by them and the other players. The ease and bond between them back then came across clearly and poignantly. However, by the end of their partnership, Paul’s lyrics gave powerful voice to the abandonment, rejection, and regret he felt in his friendship. Those feelings resonate with me more than I’d like to admit.

I discovered the Simon & Garfunkel catalog and read their biography at a time of unwelcome changes in some of my friendships, some fading with distance and others damaged by regretful  behavior. From sitting in my tiny dorm room trying to work out Art’s harmonies, to shedding a tear 20 years later realizing I don’t sing very much anymore partly because I no longer have anyone to sing with, their music both soothes and unsettles me.

Obviously I don’t know the status of Simon and Garfunkel’s relationship today, nor is it any of my business. There was friendship, partnership, estrangement. There were reunions and rejections (like Art having to be talked into singing Paul’s masterpiece or when Paul decided to strip Art’s vocals from what was supposed to be their reunion album). The interviews did not focus on the friendship and Art, in particular, focused on how wonderful his memories were. Neither man mentioned any debate about who would sing “Bridge,” and Art only said how much he enjoyed “delivering Paul’s intentions.”

Both men danced around the obvious questions about friendship. Art said: “I don’t want to play my friendship with Paul on camera. It’s very deep, very private, and full of love. But yeah, those songs are about friendship.” Paul said: “If there’s a theme that runs through Bridge about leaving, it was certainly unintentional.”

This discussion centered around the most obvious abandonment song, “The Only Living Boy in New York” (one of three songs Paul did in concert this year that made me cry). But when Art heaped praise on what he called Paul’s “under-appreciated gem,” “Song for the Asking,” I couldn’t help but (probably) misinterpret this “love song” to be about his friendship with Art too. 

During the discussion of this song, Paul said, “Notes of apology that show up in album after album, that’s just to say I haven’t forgotten what I did to various people.”

“Thinking it over, I’ve been sad. Thinking it over, I’d be more than glad to change my ways, for the asking. Ask me and I will play all the love that I hold inside.”


I’ve been hurt by people I thought were my friends. And I’ve done really dumb things when I’ve felt a friend slipping away. It’s like my subconscious tried to avoid the pain of loss by, ironically, causing me to behave in a way that would speed up the loss. People say marriages require work, but friendship is more difficult for me. Without the commitment of marriage, the close proximity of shared space, and physical intimacy, what binds one to a friend?

One of the goals I set for 2011 was to be more social–a euphemism if ever there was one. It had become easier to believe I didn’t need friendship than to put forth effort, since that effort often exhausted me and left me feeling empty and rejected. And while it is daunting to feel that way, I decided to stop pretending I don’t need friendship or that a happy marriage negates that need. So I’m trying what for me is heavy lifting in the friend area. Like making some. And being a better one to those I have. I toy with the idea of trying to make amends to those I’ve hurt even though I worry those scabs are better left unpicked.

The jury is still out on how I’m doing, but I’m trying. In the year when both Simon and Garfunkel turned 70 (how terribly strange!), I wish for them the same thing I wish for myself, to have a cherished old friend sharing that park bench.


I haven’t even scratched the surface on the actual music. I’d love to write about my favorite songs, but haven’t been able to whittle my list down to fewer than 20. I might as well just say, “I really, really like Simon & Garfunkel” and leave it at that! Do you have a favorite Simon & Garfunkel song?

Have you ever reached out to an estranged friend? Or an old friend with whom you’ve lost touch? How did that go?

(Crappy) Photo Friday: Sting Back to Bass Concert

Possibly the Longest Intro to a Concert Review Ever

Sting is my Yoko Ono. He broke up my favorite band of all time. Unlike Yoko, Sting was actually in the band he broke up so I liked him as much as I hated him. I followed Sting’s solo career hoping it would sound something like the Police. It didn’t.

But I enjoyed his first three solo albums and was mostly with him through the fourth.

In the 80s, I read a Sting quote basically saying he wanted to stop before getting old; something about prancing around on stage as 50-year old being undignified. I remember being panicked at the thought of no more Sting music. Then Mercury Falling came out and I wish 30-year old Sting had convinced 45-year old Sting to stop before pouring that noise poison into my defenseless ears. I didn’t like a single song on that album.  Verily, verily I cried unto Sting, “What did I do to deserve country music?”

The televised concerts I saw during the Brand New Day era were awful. He rearranged song after song to sound alike–S-L-O-W and stripped of all their energy. Sting is the artist and the music is his canvas and all that shit, so he can rearrange his own songs however he wants. But I am free to hate the crap out of it.

In his early solo phase, I called his penchant for rearranging “jazzification.” The jazzifying strained, but did not break, my patience.  After hearing the “All This Time” re-interpretation of songs, I changed the term to “Stingification.” Because there was no jazziness, no sign of life at all, in these arrangements. Stingification is a term I’m trying to get into more common use. It simply refers to someone pissing all over something you love because they can. This makes me so sad:

Back to Bass Tour – DAR Constitution Hall – November 10, 2011

Last week, I gambled and went to my first solo Sting show since 1991. The tour was meant to celebrate 25 years of Sting, which implied a focus on his best stuff. I purposely didn’t investigate the set list or the new “best of” CD, because I wanted to keep hope alive.

First things first, Sting is an amazing-looking 60-year old. I was a little taken aback when he came out almost as bald as a cue ball, given the contrast from his recent Grizzly Adams phase. Maybe he just seemed small from my vantage point, but something about his head and how wee he looked made him appear almost elfin.

I didn’t really have any complaints about the five-piece band, you know, other than their not being the Police. The song arrangements were pretty tight and not overly slow. Sting also seemed to be singing more normally than he did during the Police reunion, without any of the annoying mumbling and “scat” vocalizing I got chastised by Sting fans for complaining about on the Police fan club forum (one of my fellow complainers totally nailed it with this, “It’s like the words are running down his chin!”).

The show started out very energetic and promising. But even though everyone sounded great, the energy ground to a halt for me pretty quickly because of the set list. Sting and I simply disagree on what his best work is.


The energetic opening of “All This Time, “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” “Seven Days,” and “Demolition Man.” “Seven Days” was probably my favorite performance of the night. It was my favorite song from Ten Summoners’ Tales and it sounded like it should sound, which is so unlike Sting it made me smile.

“Fortress Around Your Heart” This is one of the only solo Sting songs I ever thought sounded Police-like so I’ve always loved it. While they played it, I was transported to Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH where I saw Sting for the first time with my big brother when I was in seventh grade.

“Message in a Bottle” Sting came back out alone at the end and did it sort of Secret Policeman’s Other Ball style, which made me all warm and fuzzy inside remembering how much I loved Sting in my youth. Look at how lovable Sting was in 1981:


I couldn’t get over the song selection. If Sting’s written a country song he didn’t play, I’m not aware of it. About half the songs were from Mercury Falling onward. Sting talked more than I’m used to between songs, mostly about song writing and the stories behind his songs. I really enjoyed that, and found it necessary since he played five songs I didn’t even fucking know. Four were from Sacred Love, which I naively never imagined he’d dip into that much because it sucks (and now I’ve just increased my possible human alienation count by as many as a million or so more people, assuming the million or so people who bought this album think it doesn’t suck…sorry, write your own review).

Sting clumped these low energy songs together, sometimes three to five at a time, which didn’t allow the show to build or sustain any momentum. I got bored during those stretches and if it weren’t for the backing vocalist screeching like her pubes were being pulled out on “Hounds of Winter” and the electric violin solos on a couple of songs, I might have fallen asleep.

The backing vocalist was very talented, but her performance on some of the songs got a little too theatrical for my taste. Every line seemed to have deep meaning for her.

As a Police fan, I also have no particular need to hear Sting and his back-up band play a lot of Police songs. He played six and while most sounded OK, I missed Andy on “Driven to Tears.” More importantly, note to Sting: PLEASE. STOP. PLAYING. NEXT TO YOU. LIKE. THAT. Thank you.

Worst of all, Sting didn’t play a single song from my favorite album, Nothing Like the Sun. My two favorite solo songs are “The Lazarus Heart,” and “Be Still My Beating Heart,” and I realize “The Lazarus Heart” wasn’t a single, but “Be Still My Beating Heart” was a rather successful single. Why was it excluded from the show and the “best of” CD? It can’t be as petty as Andy having played on it, right?


If there’s one guy, just one guy
Who I’m not going to see live again, oh my…
It’s hard to say it
I hate to say it
But it’s probably Sting.

Crappy Photo

Because I still regret talking myself out of taking a camera when Dave and I had front row seats to see the Police in 2007, I now take a camera to every show even though concert pictures are always low-quality crap. Here is my obligatory, proving I was there, crappy picture of Sting and people’s heads. Elfin, no?

Things I Learned From My iPod Shuffle Challenge

In the two weeks since I finished my iPod shuffle challenge, during which I listened to a complete shuffle of all the songs on my iPod without skipping any, I’ve been restless about music. New shuffles bore me, my music seems stale. It feels like I’ve “just” heard all of it. So I’ve been listening to albums in their entirety, mostly because it feels different and because I can. I found that Abbey Road is almost exactly the length of one way of my commute. Listening to that album was one of the first things I felt like doing. Hearing side two Abbey Road songs during the shuffle felt wrong, as I explained in week 1.

So what did I learn from the iPod shuffle challenge?

* I have more patience than I thought. I did it. I listened to 2,724 songs without skipping a single second of any song.

* Since I have now given every song a chance to wow me, it’s completely OK to delete songs I don’t like very much. I erred on the side of inclusion when I originally ripped my CDs, but I don’t have to store my entire CD collection on my iPod. Good lord, no.

* The key lesson is my desperate need for some new music. Both new to me, since I feel like I’ve totally lived my current collection of songs at the moment, as well as new as in not old. Most of the songs I highlighted during the challenge were  released prior to the current decade. I’ve had trouble finding new bands I like for a long time now.

Suggestions are most welcome. Please, for the love of all that is holy, share any great new artists you love. I need a music freshening.

I was excited to get an invitation to try the free version of Spotify. It’s pretty cool, basically in exchange for putting up with the occasional ad, I can listen to almost any song I want whenever I want, without paying for it.  

But there’s a catch…your own imagination. I don’t know about you, but being able to search for anything I might want to hear but don’t already own makes my mind go totally blank. I keep using Spotify to listen to the same two songs, because they are the only ones that come to mind. The first is Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which is one of the very few new songs I’ve been exposed to and liked since starting the shuffle challenge. It’s fun to sing.

Then there’s Katie Costello’s “Stranger,” which I heard on “Switched at Birth,” and was pleased to find on Spotify. It’s one of those songs that you like, even though listening to it evokes feelings of melancholy that make you want to jump off a cliff. Wait, just me? Since I think about the issues I believe she’s covering in this song a lot anyway (how well can we ever really know another person?), I find it compelling. Go ahead and listen. It’s sort of a cathartic sad. Really.

* The last thing I learned during the shuffle challenge is that my iPod is missing stuff. Some songs I love never made it onto my iPod and I need to fix that. These songs include:

Steppenwolf “Born to Be Wild” This song, as well as “Magic Carpet Ride,” were part of the soundtrack to my post graduation trip to Niagara Falls with friends. I was not particularly wild, but I had the opportunity to be wild, so there you go.

Ace “How Long” There’s definitely a cheesy 70s lite rock vibe to this, but I love it anyway. I already expressed my love of Paul Carrack’s voice when Squeeze’s “Tempted” came up in the shuffle. I would listen to him sing the phone book (and I sort of feel like I have…Mike + the Mechanics).

Marshall Crenshaw “Someday, Someway” I don’t suppose anyone has ever before compared this to Buddy Holly? I love that I found a video of his performance on Letterman, so that’s what I embedded.

Elvis Costello “Veronica” For the longest time, this was the only Elvis Costello song I liked. More of his songs have since grown on me, but this one is still my favorite, especially now that I’ve known a Veronica (Dave’s Mom).

When I went to see Paul Simon in concert a couple of months ago, I was shocked to realize that although I have Simon & Garfunkel’s whole catalog, I didn’t have any of Paul Simon’s solo music. Not even my favorite song. Not sure how that happened. So I listened to “The Obvious Child” on You Tube 500 times before and after that show.

The Cranberries “Dreams” Maybe everyone can point to a song that perfectly explains what it feels like to fall in love, but my song is a particularly good one, no? This song was released the month I met Dave. Our favorite radio station played it incessantly while the lyrics were happening to me. Somehow this CD never made it onto my iPod.

Mazzy Star “Fade Into You” This song has been on my “to buy/download” list for 17 years. Oops. Need to get on that.

Wedding Present “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” I don’t think the Watusi album was very well received. It’s even out of print, even though earlier albums are not. I think it must have been a rare happy period for David Gedge, and perhaps that turned off his hard-core fans, who like him full of angst. But I thought the songs were goofy and charming. There is just something extra compelling about a bitter guy in love.

Of course, all of these songs are at least 17 years old.