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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Dear Friends:

As you know from this post and the followup, I’m on a health kick as I slide headfirst into the holidays. (Perhaps the worst time to start a diet. Or the best, depending on your POV.)

Despite the calculated complaining I’ve been doing on this blog, it’s been OK. Mostly OK. All but three times OK (an alumni event at a brewery, happy hour where beer cheese soup was present, and an Uno death match with friends last weekend during which chips and dip sat within a foot of me for HOURS).

My willpower is strong. When I decide to do something, I do it. I told you: I’m Tracy Flick.

Besides my crazy diet, I’ve made other changes:

  1. I’m taking the “Lyft Ditch Your Car” challenge this month. I already walk to work regularly, so it will be fine.
  2. I’m drinking so much water every day — well over the 64 ounces recommended — that I spend much of the day in and traveling to/from the loo.
  3. I’m not drinking any alcoholic beverages. (Oh don’t be THAT surprised.)
  4. I now have a standing desk at work.

Standing desk

These are all the rage in offices lately. I love mine. Added bonus: If you put on some music, you find yourself moving much more while standing.

Except I have a cautionary tale: Earlier this week, I listened to Big Freedia, “3rd Ward Bounce.”

Big Freedia: 3rd Ward Bounce

If you are familiar at all with Big Freedia, you will know the dance moves that go with bounce music.

They are not appropriate for work.

They are probably not appropriate for me any time at my age (29 <cough> forever).

I was definitely moving around a little more than usual at my desk, though. I was a little worried someone would walk in and think I was having a seizure.

But my iWatch approved.

And for those interested in my progress, there’s about 12 pounds less of me to love. (My big personality is still intact, though.)

I’m keeping this up until the last weekend in October, at least (i.e., the last weekend for Oktoberfest).

Wish me luck,
Beth

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Dear Routinely Judgy People:

I try not to be you, but sometimes I am. Case in point: Friday night.

It was a weird, busy night.

5:30 p.m.
Mini reunion of some high-school friends: Lee Ann, Susan and Katherine. Lee Ann’s husband had signed up to be part of the 500 Songs For Kids fundraising event at The Earl.

7 p.m.
Quick get-together with Eddie, the kids and Brenon, an old friend in town for a funeral.

8 p.m.
Picked up Wendy to go to The Earl. Wendy is a college friend in town to move her son into our alma mater.

8:30 p.m.
Wendy and I met up with Lee Ann and Susan (and I hoped my worlds colliding would be a success).

The fundraiser featured plenty of crowd-pleasing songs such as “Bad Reputation,” “Stacy’s Mom” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Lee Ann’s poor husband Bill got stuck with “The Gambler,” though. Not a bad song, but not so great for this event/venue.

Here’s where the judging comes in:

Between each song, the host chatted up the fundraiser, all Jerry Lewis telethon style. After a while, though, he talked more than the bands played.

There he is, talking. Again. Still.

I began to hate him.

I actually looked in my pocket to see how much cash I had, thinking I could donate all of it to make him SHUT UP.

Lee Ann and Susan had left by this time, but Wendy was with me in sentiment (lest you think I was the lone hateful hag).

But then, something magical happened.

That’s right. He threw Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies into the audience to the tune of Michael Bublé’s “Haven’t Met You Yet.”

And my heart grew three sizes that day.

The romantic aftermath

I should have learned my “book by its cover” lesson, but no.

Another group came on stage. Riff Raff with a dye job, an ’80s hair band reject wearing Uggs lite and smuggling chicken nuggets in his spandex, and a D&D basement dweller.

Whose basement exploded?

 

Wendy and I were being very mean.

Me: (About the RHPS lookalike) There’s your boyfriend.

Wendy: (Squeals) Every time I see him, I’m freshly horrified.

Then they began to play.

They played Rush’s “Tom Sawyer.”

They played Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” better than any band I have ever seen (sorry, Jesse’s Divide) besides Rush themselves.

Riff and the gang earned mad respect. And Wendy and I felt like the heels we were.

So hallelujah for self awareness.

And hallelujah for that guy. Amazing.

So even though I try not to be disparaging, I often fail. But I also admit when I’m wrong.

I was wrong.

I’m sorry.

I’ll do better.

Love and karma,
Beth

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Dear Owners of the Crown Hotel,

I enjoyed visiting your establishment Saturday night. I had booked a stay in case I wasn’t able to connect with my friends Hannah and Clair before an event in the area.

Clair had nothing but unkind comments for you. She said shocking things such as:

That is where the council use as a B&B as temporary accommodation for people who are homeless/on the council waiting list.

I certainly wouldn’t leave anything valuable there! And take it in the shower with you and nap with your laptop under your pillow!

Don’t forget to put elastic bands around your trouser bottoms to stop the flea bites!

I really think she underestimated your attractions. You have billed yourself as a “cheap, no-frills hotel,” but I think you are selling yourself short.

Just look at all your amazing amenities:

1. Extra foliage in the chimneys for a lovely garden effect PLUS a location convenient to the train.

Photo by the Clair the Hateful

2. Designated parking for ladies. I’m sure the ladies of the evening feel honored.

3. A Sizzler on site for guests’ dining pleasure.

4. Double-doored entryway to keep out the riffraff. Or not.

5. Convenient access to and egress from my potential room.

6. Stray bits of plaster from the walls to remind one that the property is historic. (Hannah does not see this as a positive: “They did not even bother to hoover the room!” She and Clair have standards, you see. Too bad, really.)

7. A sock over the smoke detector so that someone can light up in peace.

8. A window right out onto the roof to allow easy access for rapists and murderers — what a perk!9. A policy requiring guests to leave their key at reception (Who needs to keep up with a pesky key? Who cares about their valuable items in the room? Life is too short to worry about material goods.)

I’m so sorry I did not take advantage of your ample charms. I ended up staying out late and going home with Hannah.

Sad to say, her home had been freshly hoovered, and there were no fleas in sight. I felt safe too. Where’s the adventure in that?

Maybe next time, Crown.
Beth

*Credit/apologies to Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part II,” 1597.

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Echo and the Bunnymen perform for the elderly at Chastain Park.

Dear Fellow Concert-goers (aka Grizzled Old Beasts Just Like Me),

It was great to hang out with you at the Echo and the Bunnymen and Violent Femmes performance last night. Between the sets, I was taking a good look at all of you — people watching, as I do. You know, finding inspiration for this blog and other writing projects.

I noticed plenty of partial and full hair loss, beer bellies, socks pulled up too far, white shoes, varicose veins, gray hair, etc.

“Jesus, these people are old,” thought I.

That uncharitable thought was followed quickly by this one:

“Oh shit. These are my people. I’m old too.”

Dang. That was a rude awakening. I’m still 27. In my head. Forever. As I bet you are too.

 

Notice the beer (which was delicious). Then notice who is beyond the beer. Notice the cane and the socks.

How we feel how we look.

It’s depressing.

😕

But not as depressing as the thought of the geriatric dating game. Some of you were definitely hooking up (or trying to, at least). I mean, good for you.

Eddie and I ended up joking about that this morning (I’m in blue, in case you are cursed with an Android phone):

(Don’t give me flak for hating on the stout hairless men of the world. We all have a type, and that’s not mine. And they don’t like me either. So there.)

If forced, I guess I’d have to get some Botox and lipo and start cougaring. But then I’d have to forget knowing every ’80s song, including the Femmes’ repertoire.

I cannot live a lie.

Just like us (in our minds), the Femmes’ sound hasn’t aged at all.

So I think we should all agree to keep on keeping on, just as Hunter S. Thompson recommended:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride!'”

Ride on, fellow geezers.
Beth

 

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Dear Dad,

The last time I wrote to you here, I had satire on my mind. This time it is to complain. Thanks to you, I feel the need to bleach my entire body. This weekend cleaning out your garage was rough.

Even before you passed, I had marshaled the troops (i.e., your son in law and grandchildren who had no choice) to get your garage hoard somewhat under control. Just one bay of the three took us almost an entire weekend, including two trips in two trucks to both the dump and Goodwill.

Since your September demise, I’ve spent many weekend days inside your house going through mounds of paperwork (Why would you save owner’s manuals for appliances you gave away in the ’90s?), office supplies (so many office supplies) and CDs (Four copies of the same Flatt and Scruggs recording? What the heck?!) in just one room alone. At least I was in air conditioning and relative comfort.

This garage cleaning, though … sheesh. Here’s what I personally handled in just three hours:

1. Empty and near-empty bottles of all manner of small engine fluids
2. Stacks of 78 rpm records
3. Hundreds of jars of dried-up model airplane paint
4. All kinds of outdated technology (a slide projector!)
5. At least 45 different species of spiders and bugs, most of them alive and ready to rumble

Some people (you) might say, “Hold on — that’s valuable stuff!” Well, Dad, not when it has been in a detached garage without climate control and regular roach bombings.

Three more trips to Goodwill and another trip to the dump, and I’m not done yet. I see at least three more days of purging ahead of me. And maybe some therapy to address my new daddy issues.

I know it’s bad form for me to be upset with you when you aren’t physically present to defend yourself. It’s frustrating, though, because I remember the week I spent — using vacation days from work, no less — cleaning this very same garage after Mom died in 2009. And you were not happy about it (even though you asked me to do it).

When I tried to get rid of your model-airplane parts, you yelled at me that you were going to get back into building planes. When I questioned the need for 400 cassettes, you said you still listened to all of them — even though there was not a tape player in sight (the reel-to-reel player doesn’t count). When I started to throw away some dry-rotted Christmas decorations, you claimed you used them “just last year” — a statement we both knew was false when Frosty melted in my hands.

I begged you to be more aggressive in your tossing. I remember saying, “Dad, please don’t leave this all for me to clean up when you die.”

Now it’s almost 10 years later and everything is exactly as I left it. Except you’ve added more. For example, what’s this collection in the corner, Dad?

I really don’t want to put my hands in that pile.

I was not prepared mentally or physically for this garage showdown. For one thing, I forgot to bring gloves, a mask, boxes and industrial-strength garbage bags. When Katherine brought out some trash bags from the house, I felt encouraged that they were laden with “rodent repellent.”*

mint-scented rodent repellent bags

That is, until I got a whiff.

Remember my last post in which I said I have a “titanium stomach and a broken sniffer.” Yeah, well, mint-scented rodent repellent apparently is my kryptonite. I could smell that very well. And my stomach did not approve.

I really needed a hazmat suit, a cheering squad for motivation, and an OSHA-approved eye- and body-wash station. I even considered another trip to the Jeju Sauna. That’s how bad it was.

None of my friends should wonder why I like the show, “Hoarders.” It provides cognizance, comfort and coping skills all in one!

I realized, though, while I was doing an extended-surface and deep-body-cavity cleansing afterward that you are still teaching me even though you have moved on to the great beyond.

The lesson?

Never do this to your kids.

Mine will be lucky to get a footlocker from me, as I plan to chuck almost everything long before I kick it.

You know I love you, but I did not love this.

Sigh.

Say hi to Mom and Gram for me.

Your organized and aggravated daughter,
Beth

* Note that it says it is effective against raccoons. Two things:
1. Hando did not come with me on this adventure, so I guess it works on dead raccoon parts.
2. It does not work on live ones, or at least live rabid ones. Katherine tangled with one on the front porch just moments before we got there. (Ironic, no?) The rabid brethren of Hando then tangled with a car and lost.

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Dear Music Lovers:

If you are like me, you have playlists for various occasions. In my case, these playlists correspond to very specific occasions. Here are some examples:

1. Playlist that keeps me from murdering my attitudinal oldest son and burying his body in the shrubs outside our door:

Notes: It’s hard to be mad at your 13 year old when 13-year-old Taylor Hanson is scatting. No, I’m not ashamed to have One Direction on a playlist. Yes, “1985” resonates (I too never got a hand on a member of Duran Duran. Yet.).

2. Playlist that helps me get ready for work when I spent too much time the night before bingeing “Santa Clarita Diet” and drinking wine.

Notes: I dare you to stand still when you hear any of these songs. “Thrift Shop” is one of my youngest son’s favorite songs.

3. Playlist that allows me to let my redneck freak flag fly (and those moments I can ignore over-the-top objectification of women):

Notes: This may surprise you, but my first date with Eddie was a Tim McGraw/Sawyer Brown concert. I was a DJ for a country music radio station at the time. As I also worked as a TV news reporter, I couldn’t use my real name on air at the radio station. I wanted to call myself Moonpie Jones, but my boss wouldn’t let me.

4. Playlist to offer when someone asks you your favorite song from the ’80s.

Notes: How could I choose? So many great songs for so many good reasons. It’s shocking how Bow Wow Wow is undervalued and underplayed.

5. Playlist for when the kids are not in the car:

 

Notes: All great. All NSFW and NSFC. It’s surprising there’s no “E” next to “Crazy Bitch.” It’s definitely “E.” (Sarah K., don’t say a word to me about Buckcherry.)

6. Playlist for stress cleaning your habitat because your house in your old city STILL hasn’t sold.

Notes: It’s been a year. This is better than drinking.

7. Playlist for cooking complicated dishes like Mexican tamales, Puerto Rican pasteles and Japanese gyoza while wishing regular life could be as easy as following a recipe.

Notes: If I’m going to cook, I’m going to COOK (i.e., go all out). All-day cooking makes me feel very counterculture — counter to my usual routine — hence this throwback playlist.

I’m open to new bands. I promise! (I’m just too lazy to go searching.) Send me your top playlist and its best occasion!

Thanks for the recs,
Beth

 

From Instagram. Change 2000s to 1980s.

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Dear Union EAV:

Thank you for being the bright spot in an otherwise dim evening. Mistakes were made.

Mistake No. 1.
Going out on a school night. My friend Kalen and I thought the Star Bar would be hopping with people grooving to DJ MP3PO and Quasi Mandisco. Yeah, not so much.

Mistake No. 2
Thinking 529 or The Earl might be more lively. They were as dead as some of my favorite GoT characters.

Seen in the Star Bar ladies room

Mistake No. 3
Investigating Mary’s. It was voted Best Karaoke in Creative Loafing but I’m not sure why. We walked in the door then right back out.

But you, Union EAV, lured us in and salvaged the night. I never would have chosen a rap open-mic night, but there we were, packed in a 20-by-20-foot room with about 30 30-something black men. I’ve never felt so white. But also I felt welcomed, as we all were there to see young artists perform.

The first rapper we saw was this guy:

It was like “Showtime at the Apollo.” He introduced himself in a thick Eastern European accent. The crowd was prepared to boo this dude. But then he began rapping and earned respect.

Me: Where did he say he was from? Belarus?
Kalen: Bosnia!

This woman was one of the best of the night: a true master of the form:

Everyone was clearly having a good time. It could have been the performers. Or it could have been the result of something that formed a cloud with a distinctive odor. Or it could have been the effect of what we suspect was in the container guarded by the Punisher.

Didn’t matter. Still chill. Great fun. Like “8 Mile” without the conflict.

Then the Lyft driver for my ride home turns out to be a Peruvian opera singer.

I always have the best time when I say, “Yes, and …

So thanks, and maybe I’ll see you again.

Sincerely,
Beth

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