Tuesday, June 27, 2006
My Soul Patrol t-shirt is supposed to arrive today.
I gotta quit this.
Monday, June 26, 2006
This is, according to the most recent stats, the top ten artists I keep playing on my computer. There are a couple ties, so I am going to combine them. The questions are relative to the numbers.
1. Taylor Hicks
2. John Mayer
3. Iron & Wine
4. Dixie Chicks
5. John Mayer Trio
6. The Shins / Relient K / Better Than Ezra
7. James Taylor / The Beatles
8. Johnny Cash
9. Dwight Yoakam
10. Ben Harper
What was the first song you ever heard by #6?
For the Shins, I'm pretty sure "Caring is Creepy" came first in Garden State, so that one. Relient K? I bought "The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek" before I ever heard a song of theirs. "Pressing On" is the first track. And Better Than Ezra? The best guess is "Extra Ordinary."
What is your favorite album of #2?
This is possibly the hardest question ever. Room for Squares has a special place in my heart.
What is your favorite lyric that #4 has sung?
My favorite to sing has been "And it wrung me out / And it strung me out / And it hung years on my face / God help me, am I the only one who's ever felt this way?" from "Am I the Only One." One of the best, though, is actually a Patty Griffin song they did called "Let Him Fly": "There's no mercy in a live wire / No rest at all in freedom / Of the choices we are given / It's not choice at all / The proof is in the fire / You touch before it moves away / But you must always know how long to stay / And when to go."
How many times have you seen #5 live?
Technically, never. But if you drop that little "Trio" offa there, I've seen him three -- going on four -- times.
What is your favorite song by #7?
James Taylor? "Steamroller." The Beatles? I've been on a "Hey Jude" kick, but "Eight Days a Week" was my first love.
What is a good memory involving #10?
Every time that Dad is in my car and "Suzie Blue" comes on, he always gets really excited because he loves the horns. It's kind of cute.
Is there a song of #3 that makes you sad?
Iron & Wine has a way of putting one in a somber mood. However, "Passing Afternoon" reminds me of the fleeting nature of time, which is always a little sad.
What is your favorite lyric that #2 has sung?
Oh, dear. I am really supposed to pick one, solitary John Mayer lyric? I'll just go with the one I remembered fondly yesterday from "Perfect Sense": "If it ever gets bad / I mean really bad / I'll move to Nova Scotia and forget the life I had / I'll be up at nine each morning / Down by the shore / Collecting things that fell off boats in storms / Okay, so I might never / But it's nice to know the option's there."
What's your favorite song by #9?
I am glad you asked because I just realized that I do not own my favorite Dwight Yoakam song, "Things Change." (Just bought it.) "Streets of Bakersfield" makes me happy, too.
How did you get into #3?
Well, I heard Sam Beam's version of "Such Great Heights" in Garden State -- great movie, great music. When I ran across the song a while later, I heard it and instantly knew that I recognized it from the movie. I tracked down the Endless Numbered Days album when "Such Great Heights" wasn't enough Iron & Wine to do me.
What was the first song you heard by #1?
Oh, Taylor. I guess this would be from the American Idol audition when he sang Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." Love at first bite.
What is your favorite song by #4?
I'm really into "I Hope" from their new album. Good song. It's an anti-war tune, and John Mayer on guitar doesn't hurt a thing.
How many times have you seen #9 live?
I don't think I've ever seen Dwight Yoakam live, but you know, there were a bunch of concerts in there when I was little that I barely remember. Lots and lots and lots of country.
What is a good memory involving #2?
Oh-so many. Just about every memory there for a couple years was scored by a John Mayer song.
Is there a song of #8 that makes you sad?
"Sunday Morning Coming Down," no question. This song is about the most lonesome song in the world.
What is your favorite album of #5?
Well, considering there is only one, I'm going with it. Try!
What is your favorite lyric that #3 has sung?
"A baby sleeps in all our bones / So scared to be alone" from "Passing Afternoon."
What is your favorite song of #1?
This is indeed a difficult decision. I'm going to go with original, non-American Idol tunes. My first favorite was "Hell of a Day." The grooviest song, though, is "In Your Time." Also, he does a mean cover of "Georgia On My Mind."
What is your favorite song of #10?
"Show Me a Little Shame" is on up there.
How many times have you seen #8 live?
That'd be none.
What is your favorite album of #1?
Well, these options are sort of limited, but I'll go with Under the Radar.
What is a good memory involving #9?
Dwight Yoakam reminds me of Justin Downing, back in the B-Unit days. *tear*
What is the first song you heard by #8?
This is nearly an impossible question. I can say that the first Johnny Cash song I ever loved was "Tennessee Flat Top Box," but it was back in the day when CMT was playing the video of his daughter Rosanne singing it.
What is your favorite cover by #2?
I have this bootleg of John Mayer singing Guns N' Roses' "Patience" that I really enjoy, especially when he tries to sound like Axl Rose at the end. Pretty good stuff. Funny, actually.
Okay, well, there's that. Glad I got it out of my system.
I did my last microteaching thing today. It was okay. I really have mixed feelings about being a teacher. There are moments when I feel like I have a certain knack for it. And then there are moments when I am certain I have definitely gotten in over my head. Too bad those moments alternate like a strobe light in my head. Is that called manic depression? Ah, dear.
However, one thing I know that I have a knack for is creating really cool manipulatives to use in the classroom. (What am I? A kindergarten teacher?) Last night, I made some things I am calling "conjugation cubes." Basically, they're a set of three cubes that you can move around and, by so doing, make Spanish sentences. What I like is that they are sort of, um, interchangeable. Right now, they are covered with pronouns, regular -AR verbs stems, and present -AR verbs endings. I realize that none of that probably makes any sense, but here's the point. They could be covered in something totally different. They have Velcro covers that you can take off and replace with different Velcro covers. I have to say that I am pretty dang proud of them. You should ask to see them sometime, and I'll let you have a look -- as long as you promise not the steal the idea. A patent could be in the works...
So I know I am weird and all, but I got a little something for you. I had something like reverse deja vu this weekend. Maybe that's not the way to describe it, but I'll try. For who-knows-how-long, I have had this sort of "flashback" to a place that I've never been. Weird, I know. Well, this weekend, I was finally there. That's all I am going to say. I know that dreams and dream-like states are the hardest thing to talk about. It is so fascinating to the dreamer, but when you try to explain it, it doesn't make a lick of sense. So there.
Well, I have to go give up the rental car now. I suppose I could get all of my stuff out of it first. It's back to the ol' Taurus for me. It drives like a tank. It will definitely feel like that after driving a little tumble bug for a couple weeks.
Hmm. Yes, I think the music-related posts tend to have more substance. Therefore, I'll let you in on my 641 musings.
Music -- all forms of creative expression, really -- is like an imprint of the soul. I had heard some lyric -- could've been "I'm bigger than my body gives me credit for" or "I hope you can feel me in the air" or something else of that nature -- and I began thinking about the separate entities of body and soul. You know, questioning it, considering the magnitude of its implications, what have you. And it ocurred to me that art, namely music, is a way of extracting soul from the body. We can use our mouths to put forth a voice or our hands to write a story, but what is left on paper or in the air isn't our body. It's something intangible. And I have a hard time believing it's just particles in the air bouncing against one another. Maybe it is. You know, I really have no idea. But it's through those airwaves or rearranging molecules or whatever that people are able to connect with one another. Here's what I am saying. Sometimes knowledge -- specifially, really knowing someone else -- seems so inaccessible. Even attempting to comprehend the concept of "soul" boggles my mind. But there is something about creative expression -- be it a painting, a dance, a song, a poem, a nicely turned phrase in a conversation -- makes knowledge a little more accessible. It puts the soul in a language we can understand.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Finally, when I was rolling down the hill on 641 into Murray, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" graced the airwaves. I was singing along -- thanking God for Marvin Gaye -- when I remembered that I bought one of his greatest-hits type CDs waaay back in 1996 (omg, ten years ago) for my thirteenth birthday party. You know, it was one of those birthday parties that sold itself as a "dance" party at the community center. So in an attempt to come up with some "cool" dance music, Mom let me buy the "Macarena" CD, and for some reason, she thought it wise to get some "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," too. Now, for the life of me, I cannot figure out what exactly we were supposed to dance to this, but twirling animated raisins come to mind. Anyhow, I'm thinking Marvin and his tunes didn't go over very well anyway. I'm remembering far too many rounds of the macarena dance and something about that choo choo train song.
But that's beside the point.
This is the point: What ever happened to my Marvin Gaye album? Upon research, I've discovered that it was Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye. The poor thing is probably floating around in a black hole somewhere with Los Del Rio and a mismatched pair of brightly colored bobby socks. And you know, I remember at the time thinking that fourteen dollars or whatever it cost was too much to pay for just one song that I wanted. (Now, you can buy the thing brand new for less than ten bucks anywhere.) But I did listen to the whole album long after the party -- along with Justin Mooney's copy of the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over that I ended up with -- and I did appreciate it. But oh! how I would appreciate it now.
The chances of me finding my copy of it are the slimmest of slims. I could just break down and buy it now. I could. But there's something about the fact that I already own it somewhere that's holding me back.
Oh, what's goin' on, what's goin' on?
Saturday, June 17, 2006
According to johnmayer.com, the album Continuum is due out on September 12 -- three long years and three long days after the release of Heavier Things.
Tour dates have also been set. How convenient that the last night of the tour is my birthday. And how convenient that the tickets go on sale tomorrow morning -- technically, today. Atlanta, though, is not exactly convenient. But it's not impossible.
Yes, I am aware that all I talk about any more is music and the people who play it.
To keep up with this tradition, I'll note that I went and saw Justin and Century Century play at Vitello's tonight. I knew all but one song, which kind of makes me proud. I was able to tap my foot knowlingly along as I stood at the door and made people's change for the three-dollar cover. I'm not exactly sure how I got that gig, but as Justin suggested, I should tell you folks that I was a "hard-ass bouncer" for the show. I don't know about hard-ass, but I did kind of have a power trip when two girls without the appropriate amount of cash ("Oh, all I have is debit...") finally realized I wasn't going to let them in and turned away. Oh, yes.
Shake, shake that Polaroid.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I met with the Fulbright rep on campus today. That went well. We just talked over the possibilities and application and stuff. The application process is a doozy -- that's how dictionary.com told me to spell that -- if there ever was one. Turns out, though, that if I apply this year and don't make it, I can apply again next year for the same program at the same time. Thank you, overlapping 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years.
I'm kind of stressed out about all of it, though. Between figuring what to do about my car, the increasingly insane summer class, and Fulbright to think about, I'm getting a little crazy. Just because it's summer. I could excuse this during the school year because it's supposed to be hectic. I just want to relax, really.
To make up for it, I did some impulse shopping. I put my little toe across the line and ordered a Soul Patrol t-shirt from Neighborhoodies. I know, I know. But it's cute. I got it in "asphalt" (err, dark gray) on gray (err, light gray). I should be ashamed, but I'm not.
I had the strangest realization yesterday: I love songs about Georgia. It's true. I must have some subconscious fascination with the state. And I always that it was North Carolina... Huh. It occurred to me when I listen to Taylor's (who would've guessed?) cover of "Georgia On My Mind" for the thirty-fifth time. "Why Georgia" has always been close to number one on my John Mayer list. And then, today, when I was rummaging through some Iron & Wine songs to learn to play on guitar, I remembered that "Sodom, South Georgia" is the song that, every time I hear it, I start making amazing lesson plans in my head -- see, I could be teacher -- about the use of figurative language, specifically similes. Beautiful song. And I ended up learning to play it, by the way.
Papa died smiling / Wide as a ring of a bell / Gone all star white / Small as a wish in a well / And Sodom, South Georgia / Woke like a tree full of bees / Buried in Christmas / Bows and a blanket of weeds -- "Sodom, South Georgia"
Everybody is just a stranger / But that's the danger in going my own way / I guess that's the price I have to pay / Still "everything happens for a reason" is no reason / Not to ask myself, "Am I living it right?" / Why, tell me why, why Georgia, why -- "Why Georgia"
Georgia / Georgia / A song of you / Comes as sweet and clear / As moonlight through the pines / Other arms reach out to me / Other eyes smile tenderly / Still in peaceful dreams I see / The roads lead back to you -- "Georgia On My Mind"
Monday, June 12, 2006
It has come to my attention (deficit?) that I am incredibly fidgety. I cannot cannot cannot sit still. I remember that when I was a kid, my mom was constantly on me about messing with the mini-blind string behind the couch and about kicking things with my feet. I pop the battery cover on the remote control incessantly. Too bad that the remote for my TV now has a screwed-on battery cover. In my education class right now, we have little name plates that we've made for ourselves. If someone ever needed to know my name, they'd never see it because I am flipping and twirling my name plate around the whole time. I am a pen clicker. I cannot help myself.
Being an education person -- God, the regret -- I have to think about these things. And as I have come across some ADHD symptoms, it is like looking in a mirror. All the signs are there. I don't have the patience to proofread. My mind is incredibly scattered. Just look at the babbling incoherence that is my blog.
My whole life -- or just recently, whichever -- I have been trying to channel that confused and pent-up energy toward something. I have wondered why I have about nineteen hands-on projects going on all the time. I have a new one, by the way. I have a dulcimer now. Play me some mountain music, yeah.
Interestingly, according to those personality/learning styles assessments, I hardly ever come out as a kinesthetically-inclined person. I am beginning to think they are all wrong.
Now, I think I am going to go run a lap or something, thank you.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
One of them happened when I was in the shower, and I had my iPod/FM transmitter/jalopy stereo system going. And Taylor's live version of "Tighten Up" came up on shuffle. He started off the jam telling about how the song was from 1973 -- think that's wrong, by the way -- and he was singing it. You know, the year. And he starts doing this "Way back, way back, way back, way back in nineteen seeeeventy-three" scat type thing. And that's when I had the epiphany. This style reminded me so much of some of John Mayer's stuff. I went back and listened to "1983" and some other live tunes. The pieces started falling together.
I had read -- somewhere in what I like to call my "research" -- that Taylor (yes, first name basis...you want a piece of me?) wants to tour with John Mayer. I kind of laughed at that, but now, I'm catching the groove of this. It all makes sense.
I've been doing this thing which John Mayer once called a musical family tree, or something. Basically, it's just listening to the music that influences the music you like, and you keep moving around, listening to the influencing artists. It wasn't long before I got to the Taylor Hicks/Ray Charles/John Mayer connection. There are some other overlapping things, yes.
Turns out, though, that it's that "soul thing" (I wrote a sufficiently cheesy journal on my Last.fm page about it) that ties them up together so nicely in the music-loving part of my brain. It's when each performance of a song is an individual work of art. The music and lyrics as they appear on a page might very well be art, but when they are given breath, that's when they come alive -- obviously. I've watched somewhere around six or seven versions of Taylor singing that semi-lifeless "Do I Make You Proud" song, and each time, he does what he can to give it breath. He injects a little improv, and you know, soul. And it works. Not every singer can do that. It really does take an artist.
That's why, back in the day, I could listen to three different versions of "Your Body is a Wonderland" or "Daughters" or "Something's Missing" or "Covered in Rain" and it felt fresh and soulful each time. And that's the point, apparently, because as it turns out, John Mayer has a MySpace and uses the blog feature. And on there, he mentions something about the Trio song "Vultures" going on his new album (next month, maybe!) and being a different creature than the one we know because it has grown. A song is not just a song. The performance -- the living soul in it -- has everything in the world to do with it. It's not art until there is actually an artist behind it.
That's the problem. There is so much music right now -- pop crap -- that is just manufactured. For instance, I really like Maroon 5, but I remember at the Nashville show, I was so impressed with how much the song sounded exactly like the record. And that didn't sit well with me. Now I know why.
I mentioned this on the Last.fm thing. I like the imperfect music. It's like that thing Holly talks about -- the "needing to be airbrushed" factor. I like the music that isn't flawless. It's when the sour notes in Taylor's version of Elton John's "Levon" and John's "Man on the Side" become the highlight of the song that you've found something. It's a little bit of Soul peeking out. Paula Abdul might be hopped up on OxyContin, but I think she was actually right when she told Randy that what might seem pitchy to him is really the essence of Taylor. When the song's grabbed ahold of you and those kind of notes bust out, it's real. And that's what I like. Real.
I remember the first time I encountered it. About eight minutes into John's nine-minute version of "Covered in Rain" on Any Given Thursday, he comes up for air after about four minutes of tripped-out jamming. After a little bridgey thing, he starts singing the chorus again, and it is this huge burst of emotion. And the song was no longer just a song. It's the same thing that happened when Holly and I first heard the acoustic version of "Disease." It will make you cry, and you almost cannot explain why. But it's because it's not fake music. Turns out that Rob Thomas has a soul.
So, yes. That's what I love. Real music, warts and all.
As a closer here, I have a few John Mayer things that I didn't know until just recently:
Again, the Continuum album is supposed to come out some time soon.
He's on the Cars soundtrack. The folks at iTunes won't let you just download his version of "Route 66" though. It's an "album only" track.
I bought the new Dixie Chicks album about a week ago, and today, I found out that he's featured as the lead guitarist on the track "I Hope." I don't know how I missed that.
And like I said, he's blogging on MySpace. And has been for a long time. Check it out. The man has the best vocabulary I've ever seen in my life.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
I was going to watch Kathryn while Sissy paid a visit to the dentist. I was going to meet her in Draffenville at 1:40. I left my apartment at about ten til 1:00, and at 1:25, I was still sitting in construction traffic -- not even out of Murray. I'm not even sure if I'd passed Circus Skate yet. But finally, they let us through, and I turned into the Draffenville DQ right on time. Sissy was coming down the road behind me, so I did a little doughnut in the parking lot and jumped back in the road. And then about a quarter of mile from the dentist's office, it happened.
Yep, I had a wreck. The car in front of Sissy came to a complete stop because it was making a lefthand turn, but it had to wait for oncoming traffic to pass. She got stopped. I got stopped. The car behind me, however, was cruising on at about 35 miles an hour. Into my rear end. And it bumped me toward the left -- also commonly known as "the other lane." Luckily, Sissy's bumper kept me from sliding into the path of an oncoming car. Narrowly missed, indeed. My right headlight area crashed into her left taillight area. So there we were in a three-car pile-up of sorts.
Without going into all the details about the police report and the crazy tow truck driver who sped off without me giving him a destination, I'll say this. The woman who hit me has all the responsibility. Her insurance is supposed to pay for my damage and Sissy's, too. The tow truck driver suggested that my car might be totalled because it's a 1998. The frame might be buckled. I don't know. I do know that when we finally had the police officer call the driver and get him redirected toward Murray Auto Body, he set off down the road with my muffler dragging along behind the car. It probably fell off somewhere on 641, who knows.
The car, at least, did not burst into flames between the accident scene and Murray. My old Taurus has been hanging out at Sissy's as a spare vehicle, so I got it. On the way home, I swung by the body shop, and it was sitting there looking sad and droopy in the drawers.
I hope this isn't goodbye for the Buh-yoo-ick. We have lots of niiice memories.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The iPod recovered. And I hooked myself up with an FM transmitter -- as Holly suggested -- and now I can enjoy my music in the car. I very excited about this. Now, I could stand to get a charger to go with it. It really never ends.
Well, I found a new best friend: Last.fm. I'm finding and enjoying all kinds of new music. The problem is that my iTunes bill is racking up. Not cool.
Tomorrow's the first official 5-week summer class Wednesday off. This makes me happy. It's not as if I am dedicated every fiber of my being to this class anyway, but it will be nice to have it out of my hair.
I have a few goals for these five weeks, and I'm not meeting them very quickly. I need to find a job for next semester. I need to work on Fulbright things, and by that, I mean that I need to find out about the program in general. And I need to be working on Spanish. I have hardly practiced since school's been out, aside from singing some along with some CDs I got in Spain. How am I going to be of any use in Mexico come August?
I'm going to watch Kathryn tomorrow while Sissy goes to the dentist. So. Yeah.
I've discovered -- long ago, actually -- that I have a very difficult time finding a way to end a blog entry. Perhaps I should think up something creative to do instead of just concluding with, "Well, I guess that's all I have to say about that."
Monday, June 05, 2006
The real disaster is the ol' digital camera. In my heart, I am unwilling to lay the Canon Powershot SD100 (aka Really Really Obsolete) Digital Elph to rest. Partially because I just re-upped my Flickr account. Apparently, I have dropped it or jabbed it with a sharp object in the LCD screen region. When I turn it on, it looks like digitally shattered glass. When Holly and I were at Nick's and I was getting ready to show her a picture on the camera, it took me a minute or so to realize that this wasn't a picture I had taken. Anyhow, the dismay is great. The seemingly nice four-year service plan I purchased does not indeed include accidental damage. So here I am. It can still take pictures I suppose, but fun stuff like aperture and shutter speed -- which I have just learned how to use in my photography class -- are now completely beyond my control. It's a sad day.
And now, my iPod is going through its first big crisis. Something about a corrupt file. It's pretending that I didn't just spend something like twenty minutes creating all new playlists. There's no music to be found on it, but interestingly enough, there is no free disk space either. So I'm downloading some God-Help-Me-Save-the-iPod application from the Apple website. I'm assuming this problem is recoverable.
I think I'm going to do some sort of burnt offering and spread the ashes around my laptop. Just in case.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
However, this weekend has been good. My Best Friend Forever Slash came down and saw me. We had us a fun weekend full of various quantities of things like making tacos, walking to the BP, going to Tessa's wedding, spending too much money (see: next item in list), securing Seattle plans, but mostly being disgusting about Taylor Hicks. When you listen to a mix CD of his Idol performances on repeat, a strange thing starts to happen. You realize that all of his songs are really about an assortment of abuse and harassment. Who knew?
It's definitely shower time, so oughta be taking care of that business here in a minute.
Geek update: Harry Potter scarf is almost two-thirds done. That mother is going to be forever long. As a matter of fact, the pattern that I'm using called for four skeins of the red yarn, but I'm definitely running out. No doubt I'll be warm come winter.