Friday, December 31, 2010

Snappy Goo Year!

Should old acquaintance be forgot?
Yes.
And never brought to mind?
Most definitely.

We're a little bit too Rock 'N' Roll for Auld Lang Syne, so how about a swingin' alternative?


As a personal Hogmanay to myself, I like to recap the year before it's final hour.
Not only is it a chance to reflect on the last three hundred sixty-five days (or -sixty-six, whatever), but it can make for some pretty interesting blog material.

There are always things that don't make their way to the blog (directly, anyway); take, for example, the televised images of 2010.
Here's a small sample of what was lighting up my television screen this year...





Five minutes into this film, I paused the disc, and loudly exclaimed "I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE!"

...the sounds filling our headphones...






...and the memories that tie it all together...


A small breakdown of adventures, if you're interested...

February - Fort Davis/Midland-Odessa area (feel sorry for us)
March - Phoenix for PAUL!
May - VEGAS, BABY! Oh, and Red River.
July - Denver for PAUL!
August - Albuquerque day trip (oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that)
September - South Padre Island/San Antonio, Austin
October - Colorado for fall foliage, Austin/San Antonio
December - Colorado Winter Excursion (yeah, we haven't talked about that yet, either)
And, of course, another holiday season without killing people!


HOORAY!

How much of the year we skipped in this silly little post, I don't know; I'm sure it's quite a lot, since you can cram all kinds of boring drivel into that time frame.
And, I have to say, as far as years go, 2010 was beautiful. If you'd have told me last year that I was describing this year as beautiful, I'd have to have asked what was going to happen to make it so.
So, for last-year-me, the only thing I can tell her is I don't have any sodding idea. I just know it was great.
And, going into 2011, I've got a good feeling. Every day, in every way, it's getting better.


So, from everybody here...
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Yes, even Reginald Kitty. That does not mean he is amused, though.

...we wish you a rockin' new year, and hope you'll stick around to share in our year, too (we've got some pretty gear stuff planned, so it shouldn't be too terribly boring. Besides, if you're reading this to begin with, we're all probably cut from the same bolt of crazy, so it's all kosher)!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

In No Way Associated With Pete Townshend

Well, folks, this is it.
In our family, December 24th means Christmas; we don't do that silly wait-'til-Christmas-morning bollocks, we get straight to business.
All of the annoying Christmas music, the wrapping and buying of gifts, the decorations, and general festive goop leads to this one night.

So, while it may be a little early for the rest of the world (except our European friends, of course; thank you, time zones!), we'll be having a Wonderful Christmastime...


...sending you a lovely Christmas card...

When I was little, I thought the lyric was "instead of letting the postman read it", rather than "instead of letting the postman bring it". I have always been suspicious of government agencies.

...and thinking of world peace...


Now, I know we haven't really kept this tradition up as well this year as last, but I find it fitting to draw your attention to my favorite Beatles Christmas record (the 1966 Pantomime), as it's just so charming.

That damn Podgie and Jasper bit kills me every time.

Really, all silliness aside...
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Why's That Nutter In Her Dressing Gown?

1:24 AM

I have now regained enough feeling in my fingers to properly type.
How did I loose feeling in my fingers, you ask?
I just went traipsing through our neighborhood in my jammies and dressing gown (christened The Arctic Robe during the Frosted Flakes storms earlier this year... yes, for similar reasons), enjoying a surprisingly strong snowstorm!

Not knowing what setting to put the camera on for nighttime (besides the one with a picture of a little stickman and a moon; don't be snarky, it doesn't suit you), yet knowing that photographs needed to be taken RIGHT BLOODY NOW, I slipped on the closest pair of shoes I could find, and headed out.
If I do say so myself, I don't think these turned out too badly, considering I wasn't using the proper settings.
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I think looking at this display of colorful lights, with the cheezy plastic nativity lit up in the background (you can't see it very clearly in the photo, but it's there), during a beautiful, quiet, early morning, December snowstorm, warm lights glowing from the house I was standing in front of as I snapped the shot... is the most Christmas-y I have felt in years.

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Reginald Kitty finds this pathetic.

I plan on going out tomorrow to get some daytime shots, too. That's why you're reading this post now, and not sooner.

Tonight, after I came in from the cold and wet, as I stirred my cup of piping hot cider (yeah, I do that kind of thing from time to time, what's yer point?), still enjoying that semi-Christmas-y feeling, I looked out the window. As the snow fell gently outside, this song played back to back (on two different radio stations!); 'somehow,' I thought to myself, 'this fits'.

If I wasn't the only one up right now, it would probably have been Christmas music. I like mine better.

I shall now finish my cider, and continue watching the snowflakes grow; it looks like the opening of Star Wars out my office windows right now, so I'd better go enjoy it!

2:06 AM

Just refreshed the My Life Is Average tab. About this time each night, the new "Average Word Of The Day" is updated. Today's Average Word: snowflake.

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Reginald Kitty is not amused.


9:54 AM

I have just returned from an arctic expedition, deep into the proverbial Texas tundra.
I have, again, just regained feeling enough in my fingers to properly type, and I have a nice, hot mug of cider at my disposal.
It snowed all night, and is still snowing now; we estimate we've got about seven or eight inches by now, and, as you'll see in the accompanying photos, it's beautiful out there!

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It's like that scene in A Christmas Story!

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The favorite bloggy snow shot.

The house is awake and bustling to the sounds of Christmas music now, just like every other morning.
Somehow, it doesn't feel as cozy-Christmas without snippets from the LOVE album, but this, too, will work... I guess.

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Reginald Kitty is in agreement.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dear Society, Stuff It. Sincerely, Me

Mother and Daddy went to the annual office Christmas party this evening. Though I was invited, I politely declined. It was such a hard decision to make; sit in a room with a bunch of lawyers and their families, or have the entire house, Bose and all, at my disposal (I blew my voice, but the speakers are intact).
When my Wrinklies came back home, they proceeded to regale the evening.
So-and-such's daughter was going to Wisconsin, Mrs. What's-Her-Face's son went to New York, little Billy Schmuck has decided to go to university in Miami. So I'm told, one of the office secretaries is my age (trying to pay her way through college), and, apparently, was disappointed that I wasn't there; something about working with old people, and wanting to meet me (I immediately asked 'she didn't find my blog, did she?', with a worried note in my voice... well, what's left of my voice, anyway).
As Dad turned on the evening news, and Mother happily added marshmallows to her hot chocolate, I sat and pondered my own existence.
I realized that, in comparison, I have no accomplishments to my name, whatsoever.
I don't go to a fancy university, particularly an out-of-state one; though I travel often, it's usually not very far... our vacation to Canada, in my fifteen year old eyes, was the biggest deal ever, and it's still one of the most magical and wonderful things I've ever done (despite the Toronto Incident, but we won't talk about that right now); and I am certainly not in the workforce, trying to pay my way through community college.
I started thinking of certain musicians with recording contracts, and big selling albums by the time they were nineteen; thinking of that stupid git that wrote the Eragon series (boring as hell, by the way); wondering why I didn't luck into something mega like Emma Watson did (what a lucky tit).
As all of this was running through my head, I had a shining moment of comprehension.
Though I am none of the things I have mentioned, I am something infinitely better: I am myself.
Instead of wondering what, according to society, I should have done with my life, I looked at what I have done.
Sure, I may take two classes a semester at the community college; I may not go far and wide, like my father's co-workers. I don't have to do any of it to discover who I am. I don't need the fanfare to recognize that, though insignificant my life is today, that doesn't mean it won't be something greater tomorrow.
In my life, I have learnt that timing is everything; timing is what got me here in the first place, if you think about it. The time I was born, the time I live in now, forms other times, for other experiences I'll need in the future; whether it's for spiritual growth, or a husband, or future crib midgets, the timing will eventually be just right. Just right for all of it.
With the security and confidence to know who I am, know how far I have come in things besides human academia, and faith in family and friends, I realize that my life is, quite possibly, more significant than I give it credit for.

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Reginald Kitty is skeptical.

And the wonderment continues...

Have a song.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We're Celebrating Our Cotton Year!

Well, folks, here we are again. December 14th.
Every year, we memorialize a momentous occasion in the history of blogdom. Without this event, not one sodding thing would have changed; with it, not one sodding thing has changed.
What helps keep the waters calm?
How the hell should I know, it's certainly not me.
It is, however, the Turret Full Of Ravens birthday!
Way back in the mists of time (or, more accurately, 2008), I had absolutely no idea how to blog, or, indeed, what to blog about. All I knew about it was that my sister set it up, and she'd want it updated more than once every two or three months.
Look at how far we've come since then! We're already on design 2.1 (is it slightly nerdy that I'm keeping track of that?), created by yours truly; we've updated more than two or three times a month; I've figured out the whole "how to" of blogging itself; and, I found a topic to blog about (OK, that one's not true, but it sounded better than "we're still working on that one").
All in all, I think this little experiment has gone rather well!
How about some stats from the last year? (You may remember I did this to celebrate our first year. You may not, though, as the rest of you have lives.)
Of the 237 videos that were embedded in the last 86 posts, here's how they break down:
The "Other" Category - 68
General Music Of Awesomeness - 71
Beatles Awesomeness - 38
Britcoms - 27
Just Paul - 25
Just John - 8

I have taken the liberty of constructing a graph to illustrate 2009 and 2010.
Yes, I have too much time on my hands. So what?
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Now, wasn't that interesting?
Let's continue!

Total posts dedicated solely to music: 19

We must not forget good ol' Reginald Kitty!
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He has appeared 64 times, in 46 individual posts. Not to mention the header as part of redesign 2.1! He's a busy lad.

The most referenced post this year, and, indeed, in the history of this blog: In Defense Of The British Male.
If I had known that at the time I wrote the post, maybe I wouldn't have been so anxious to simply get it onto the main page (I get kind of excited when I blog. I blame the tea, of course).
Speaking of that post, since I will never get my fill of proving to my sister that I was 5000% right on that point, a post from My Life Is Average:

Today, while reading MLIA, I read about a girl with a British boyfriend. I was struck with a brief moment of jealousy (I have an affinity for British people). Then I remembered that I have no reason to envy this girl. I'm a guy. A completely straight guy. At least that's what I thought...MLIA

I understand, good sir. I understand.

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Reginald Kitty understands, too.


We shall now continue the Mr. Gee-esque tradition of summarizing the last 365 blogging days, with my own poetaster flair, in some kind of rhyming form.

Before we move on to year number three,
Let's look back to see what we can see.
There was the visit from Ellie,
And junk we remember on telly,
The neighbor's obnoxious radio,
And Hot Pants At The Home Depot.
My Life Is Average brought folks together,
While RAIN and Frosted Flakes were in the weather.
Paulie came over to play for us twice,
And we showed my sister those Brit Boys can be quite nice.
With prospective voyages across the pond,
And remasters from Paul and John,
We celebrated birthdays here and there,
And discovered that we weren't really square.
We talked of The Fabs, and this newfangled sound,
And why record labels are driving themselves in the ground.
Twentieth century gadgets, and a frightened Mr. Schuman,
Bieber, Netspeak, and changing textbooks? Nothin' doin'!
Cat glasses, follicle meltdowns, and leprechauns,
Conservatism, The Brothers Gibb-Starr, and Revolver appears to be gone.
Pete was on half-time, and we somehow found Mickey,
Ken Jennings blogged, bacon treats, and, of course, Reginald Kitty.
So, here we herald the next blogging year,
And one thing I'll say; I think it'll be gear!

Thank you.

I have to admit, when I first started blogging, I didn't expect anyone but my mother and sister to ever read this drivel. Somehow, it's gotten past the two of them, and has branched out in a way I never expected. Judging by my sneaky facts and figures, I know there are a few more of you out there than just the family I've let in on this little secret. Truthfully? It tickles the hell out of me. I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for finding my life more interesting than I do.
And, as for the blog, I enjoy it too much to do anything but keep right on truckin' to year three.
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For the time being, though, let's just sit back with a strong, sweet cuppa, and bask in the awkwardness that was year two.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fuzz-Bucket Leaves, The Henderson's New Car, And Bendaroos

It is a little known fact that I collect blog material constantly.
If I see a funny picture, or a video I think I can use later, I'll sock it away in the kitty for a future post.

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No, Reginald Kitty does not eat the blog material.

I find the only problem with this system is that, sometimes, certain things will just not fit with any subject discussed on this blathering slice of the dubya-dubya-dubya (www, for those of you not familiar with the Texas Drawl).
Though possibly seen as a disadvantage, I find that this just opens up the opportunity for a rarity on this here blog (pfffftttt): a totally random post!
If you're ready, we'll begin the slum-gullery right now!

Mother was going through the shed today (why she decided to do this eleven days before Christmas, I still don't know), when she found some give-away boxes.
Curious, I looked in one of them, and discovered it was a box I had packed when we moved ten years ago.
Three items stood out to me; not only because, at nine years old, that was what I decided needed to get switched to the new house, but that I haven't changed much in those ten years (I was advanced for my age, sue me).

Exhibit A:
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Fresh off the 2000 election, I suppose I was feeling the lack of political action (much as I still do after an election, really), and left this out as a reminder.
That's what I'm telling my future therapist, anyway.

Exhibits B and C:
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I suppose this was the beginning of the end, so far as the grammar department was concerned. Why I kept them, I don't recall, though I find it amusing. In even odder news, my hand did not grow much after this tracing; my fingers just got about two inches longer. This makes me feel sorry for Dan Radcliffe, in an odd way (believe me, this will make sense). When I placed my hand in his imprint at Grauman's Chinese Theater, I was stunned that his hand was exactly the same size as my own; I mean, no one would have known the difference if I had put my hand in that wet cement instead (kind of in that Lucy stealing John Wayne's footprints way).
Unfortunately, no one was particularly interested in this story as we talked about that specific vacation, so it hasn't ever really come up again. UNTIL NOW!
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See? Interchangeable hand prints.

Switching gears, now!
One of our little traditions for Christmas is to color. Yes, like, in coloring books, with our big 100+ crayon kit. My Mommy liked mine, so she hung it on the fridge...
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Look, Ma! I stayed inside the lines!

I was actually quite surprised at how well the colors worked together; when I do my little doodles, I work in shades of black/white/gray, never any other colors...
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The latest sketch! I left the photo a little large, so you could see some of the detail work.

...so I was quite pleased when I noticed the colors blended nicely.
And that's how seriously I take coloring.

It's hard to believe that we're almost two weeks away from Christmas.
A couple of days ago, as I went out to look at the sunset (yeah, I do stuff like that... 'cause, one day, I'll be dead), I saw our little purple weeds blooming through the cracks in the flagstone path by our house. You know, those early/mid-spring purple weeds? In December.
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We're having crazy weather in our neck of the woods, though, so I'm not as surprised as I should be.

While they're blooming outside, my geraniums are blooming away inside, too...
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...and even growing some little fuzz-bucket leaves (no, that's not a technical term)...
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I just love this picture, by the way. I thought of editing the header to include it.

What I'm most excited about, though, are these.
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I have this freshly cut one, and two more on the plant.
And I'm really, really glad to have 'em.
When I started growing geraniums, I was probably fourteen (that was a big year for me). When one of these little spriggy things appeared in the middle of my carefully tended blooms, I asked my grandfather, who's mother also grew geraniums, if he could tell me what they were.
He said something along the lines of "if ya plant 'em, you'll get another plant".
Ahh, seed pod!
I usually don't get these, but I've got an abundance this year!
I'm currently drying this one, and I'll (maybe) attempt to plant them this spring/early summer. It depends on how adventurous I'm feeling this growing season.
Two weeks to Christmas, I have high hopes. We'll see when it's two weeks to spring.

Speaking of Christmas, let's talk advertising; newfangled-this, shiny-cool-that, new-packaging,-same-great-flavor, or whatever they're trying to shove on us this time of year, they're always trying to sell you something.
Here are a couple of ads I took notice of.
Exhibit A:

Overall, a pretty ordinary commercial, right?
No.
Please, take note at the 0:10 time stamp, as GMC tries to tell you about their special "multiflex" seating. You will notice a little stick family. Let's look at them for a second.
Moving right to left, we see Daddy Stickman, Mommy Stickman, Oldest Sibling Stickman, Youngest Sibling Stickman, and... Harry Henderson?
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I didn't get it, either.

Or what about the amazingly-fantastical Bendaroos? What child of the 90s didn't encounter Bendaroos at some point in their young, as-yet-meaningless lives? That waxy smell from the package, and the odd tacky-sticky feeling that lingers on yer fingers after you've twisted your little primary colored stick into goofy shapes like swirls or hearts (my sister once got adventurous and made a pretzel).
Judging by this commercial, Bendaroos have changed since I last saw them.
Apparently, they now glow in the dark, as well as bend into swirls and hearts.
Let us observe the ad...

Let's look at the 0:36 time stamp, shall we?
"Turn old, scratched CD's..." is pretty much what we're looking at, here.
You know, as much as I love MP3 (and heaven knows I loves me some MP3... young and impressionable during the first decade of the Millennium, doncha know), there's a magic about having the tangible record in your hands, being able to read the liner notes, and look through the little booklets. I have always loved to look at a physical CD. When I was younger, and CD players were still a status symbol, I used to watch the discs spin through the clear plastic cover; occasionally, I would take other CDs out of their cases (when I had on a favorite or appropriate track) and play with the rainbows the back of the disc would make on the wall if the light hit it just right. Of course, it dawned on me the other day that my little niece, aged one year, will one day ask what a CD is. And why it was cool; especially since, with newer albums, you can download the booklet with the album, and have it on your computer. Then, she'll ask her Gammy what a record is. And then, we'll all feel freaking old.
In our family, there was/is no such thing as a scratched CD. Albums cost money, so you take care of them just like anything else you pay for.
I think hearing you can stick Bendaroos on CDs was more like an insult to my childhood from these younger hoodlums than actually using old discs for amusement. What right have they to take our antiquated technology and twist it to fit their little UFO Village? That's right, they haven't. At least, that's what stingy little me thought as I watched them fitting pink sticks onto a disc.
I don't care that they're outdated, personally. I still get a rush when I look at a CD booklet, and look at the label on the disc itself. I know there are at least two wrapped and under our tree right now, and I'm looking forward to getting them... and looking at the booklets. Incidentally, I find it ironic that the two albums I know are under our tree are two of the albums helping keep me sane during this Christmas music season. As I type, I've got my headphones on, relying on the good people of YouTube to keep me supplied. Perhaps it's karma for figuring out which two albums they were. It was all fair, I swear! I didn't snoop or anything. I just have supersluth skills. That, and Mother didn't know what one of them was, so I had to make sure she ordered the right thing.

Believe it or not, I've got about four more tabs of stuff to talk about. I have realized, though, that my mother is absolutely right on a certain point; I don't talk much, but once you get me going, it's hard to shut me up.
I love her. And I get to pick the home.
Ahhh, the perks of being the baby of the family.

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Reginald Kitty is amused. He suggests Shady Pines.

Since Christmas is driving me bonkers, here's something that has nothing to do with Christmas. Don't say I never gave you anything.

It's like The Kinks and The Who had a love-child circa 1965/early '66. Not too shabby, considering this band's first album was only released this summer. Never fear, once I unwrap the album on Christmas (whoops!), we'll talk about it. In detail. It will be fun! Well, for me, anyway.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Little Deaths In Musical Beds

Every year, one month is set aside for holiday festivity.
Decorations? They're OK, I guess.
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BUBBLES!

Television specials? Iffy.

Have you ever seen the Nestor abomination? It WILL make you weep. Like a little girl.

Gift giving? It's only once a year, right?


Christmas music? Hot poker to the eye, much?
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I suppose the dislike for Christmas music started when I was about fourteen.
In the days before we were privy to online radio, or Sirius, we had the Sirius rip-off from our old cable company. It was pretty decent for eleven months of the year, so we were quite excited to hear what they would come up with for Christmas.
In the first night alone, they played The Little Drummer Boy several times; now, when I say several, I mean, "holy lizard with an afro, are you KIDDING me?!", several, several times. I lost track after the thirteenth go 'round, and I wish I was exaggerating that fact.
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After that, I lost all interest. Any Christmas music wears on my nerves about this time every year. I mean, really, we've been going since Buford Thanksgiving, for heaven's sake! The 24th of November. Sixteen days of the same forty songs, sung by different people.
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Reginald Kitty is not amused.

Speaking of Reginald Kitty not being amused, I saw this headline on MSNBC the other day, and knew I had to get that screen cap.
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Now, of course, we are getting off track.
Anyway, annoying Christmas music.

As Frosty The Snowman played for the two hundredth time this season, it occurred to me that I never wondered why good ol' Frosty was carrying a broomstick in his hand when he went with the children through the village.
The conversation with my mother went something like this:

Me: What was the broomstick for, anyway?
Mother: Well, snowmen don't have feet, so he kind of used it to hobble along with. (Hobble with broomstick motion)
Me: Is that honestly the best answer you can give me?
Mother: I don't know, it's just what I always figured.

As the tune continued to play, I realized that the entire song is merely the tale of a suicide mission, on which the "snowman" endangers gullible children's lives.
How depressing is that?
Give it a listen, and see for yourself.


Of course, there is a slight bonus to this Christmas music season.
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Maybe I had to look this up in the Urban Dictionary, and maybe I didn't. What's it to you?

While the holiday radio was on in the car the other day, I was happily sat in the back seat with my iPod turned up as loud as I'd like, rather than worrying about my hearing (you're never too young to take an active interest in the inevitable failure of your faculties). The excuse? Just because the Bose is noise canceling doesn't mean it covers it up all the way.
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So, until the 26th of this month, I'll have to make due with "plugged-in" musical fun.
Until then, I'll just have to find something to keep me sane, and keep me rockin'.
I find the title of this song in line with my mindset today...

It's so refreshing to see that there are folks out there still willing to have fun with surrealism (Mr. Ross, I'm lookin' at you).
Of course, I have never understood the draw to abusing your instruments (time stamps 2:05 to 2:13). I know how expensive they are. You don't want to have to replace them.
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Except you, Pete. I'm sure it would be a hard habit to break at this point.

As an aside, and not relating to anything, this is what my dog is doing as I write this post.
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That's my baby.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Three Decades

It feels like I should say more today.
Like I should wax poetic about the loss of a truly wonderful life; that I should try to memorialize that life with fantastical, polysyllabic words, like efficacious, or, facetious.
As I was trying to come up with something to say on this subject, I realized that any words I could type in this space simply wouldn't be enough; as an advocate for the spoken and written word, that's saying something.
So, it isn't going to be big, elaborate, or overly dramatic.
I will, however, say this: whatever you're doing on this busy Wednesday, take a moment to think about John Lennon. Whether you think of his life, or the loss of it, remember to think peace, act peace, imagine peace.
We'll all be better for it.

Big hugs, sweetheart. Love and light to you and yours.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas OCD, Conundrums, And That Ruddy Music

Our living room is filled to brimming with cardboard boxes; some are empty, some are set aside for unknown purposes, and some are filled with empty boxes, which are then set aside for further unknown purposes.
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I have always been proud of my talent of packing boxes/grocery sacks. It's a useful life skill, and something college can't teach you.

Yes, Christmas has descended upon Fusspot Farm.


We've been pottering about with the decorations since last month (who cares if we're only four days into December, it was still last month, dag nabbit!), but we're getting there. It's quite a lot of work for just a month (since, come midnight on December 26th, I switch off the Christmas radio, exchange it for some Jim Morrison, and start pulling out those wretched cardboard boxes to pack all this festivity up for another three hundred thirty-five days [it's the one day I'll voluntarily get up early, come to think of it]), yet I take the task of putting up the tree and wrapping the gifties very seriously. As in, 'do you REALLY want to move that red ornament? Well, do ya, PUNK?!', or 'no, we put tags on the back of the present, so as to look better for the entire sodding month it's taking up floorspace'.
That's right, kiddies, it's Holiday OCD!
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Of course, if the person that made this actually had OCD, they would not have omitted two commas; nor would they have capitalized the first letter of each word inside the sentence, as it isn't proper.


So what if I line all of the ornaments up by color and shape?
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It makes decorating easier! Cross me heart and hope to fly!


Overall, I think the tree turned out very nicely this year.
Even if it is short on tinsel, in my opinion.
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This tree needs more tinsel.

Overall, it took about six hours to complete; but it was incredibly fun!
Now, once the tinsel box has been completely emptied, that's when the real fun begins for me.
I have this thing about wrapping presents. I mean, it's really something I look forward to, and Christmas is the gift wrapping mecca. Sure, there's the occasional birthday to wrap for, but nothing compares to Christmas. It's gotten so bad that I'll even wrap my own presents, as long as they're properly covered (don't want to ruin any surprises, doncha know). I can usually wrap about six presents before my back gives out, so this task takes about a week, but I really, really dig it; it's my favorite thing to do at the holidays. Cooking? Can do all year. Baking? Most Mondays during the year (I participate in Meat Free Monday by making us a lovely TVP-laden dinner, and making some kind of dessert). Caroling? Pfffffft. Wrapping gifts? VEGAS JACKPOT!
From making out the tags...
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To the giant box of bows...
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Oooooo... shiny!

It somehow just makes my season brighter.
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Yeah, ho, ho, ho, a'ready.

I have this thing about using "scraps". I take very good care of them, just in case there's a small gift, or one that needs to be patched together with a seam (you know, where you cut the paper just a little too short). This is my scrap bag.
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I get excited to see this every year. I spent fifteen minutes alone just looking through my inventory this afternoon.

Of course, I don't understand why I have some of the things I've got in that scrap bag...
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We haven't had this paper in years, but I'm positive I'll use it somewhere... just give it time, Grasshopper.

I hit my six gift limit this evening, but I'm quite optimistic about tomorrow's endeavors. Let's be honest, I'm excited just thinking about it.
You have your holiday hobbies, I've got mine; and, though I complain about the Christmas/holiday season, I enjoy the OCD-ness of it all. It's kind of like this...


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Reginald Kitty can attest to this fact. He is also not amused.

Now, with the decorating, and the wrapping, we also get the music.


Perhaps you'll remember from last year that I have great issues with Christmas music.
The "best" station for such evil... I mean, music, is our local Mix station. During the rest of the year, they play old, new, and annoying; but now, it's HOLIDAY EDITION. That being said, they play what has to be the most aggravating Christmas songs known to man. And they play them over, and over, and over. You will hear the same song, by the same artist, several times a day. You'll hear the same song by different artists several times a day, too, never fear.
Being that they play older music mixed in with the newer drivel, I'm often surprised not by what they do play, but, rather, what they don't.
No Partridge Family, no New Kids On The Block, very little Carpenters, incredibly little Gene Autry, limited crooners (Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, et al), a single Chipmunks number out of at least three Christmas albums, and that's just what I can think of right off the top of my noggin.
This holiday music season is even starting to wear on my sister.
I got this one-line email from her yesterday afternoon :

Subject : Ahhhh!
From : Seester
To : Archibald Heatherington Nastyface

Vince guaraldi trio wins the award for the most annoying version of little drummer boy


To which I responded :

Taylor Swift wins the award for worst cover of Wham!'s "Last Christmas".

Do they have a problem playing Taylor Swift?
No.
Does the radio station have a problem playing decent Christmas music?
Yes.
Now, admittedly, I hadn't heard the lass sing before. Girl singers give me the creeps for many unknown reasons (excluding Cass Elliot and Karen Carpenter), so I usually shy away from them with holy water and crucifix in hand. When one unexpectedly comes across the radio, though, there isn't much you can do about it.
So, when I heard the abomination described in that email, it got me to thinking of even the modern stuff they don't play, in place of the rubbish they do.
So, here's a sound for sore ears; here's to hoping they give this more airplay in future.

Yes, I chose a live version over the studio cut. I am of the opinion that Tom Higgenson's voice sounds better with acoustic accompaniment, rather than electric. I have studied this subject objectively, and come to this conclusion after much research.

Since it's past Thanksgiving, it's time to strike up the Turret Full Of Ravens Christmas Tradition! You know, the one you were hoping I would forget?
If you were reading this blog last year, you may fuzzily remember what I'm about to say; if not, settle in for a surprise!
My favorite guys, and, hopefully, yours, The Beatles, would release a Christmas record exclusively for their official fan club every year. It's absolutely fascinating to see their progression as a band gaining global notoriety, through the recording of their final album, Abbey Road/the Get Back Sessions (i.e. Let It Be/Phil Spector Album/Abomination... and that probably doesn't make sense to everybody, but that's what happened, Amen).
Since Last-Year-Me described this video so well, I'll let her say her piece about it.

We're traveling back to the revolutionary 1967 for this track.
Originally spliced and used sporadically throughout the psychedelic Christmas record, this cut of Christmas Time (Is Here Again) features the spoken word wishes of merriment from the lads which weren't included on the original record.
Until the 1970 bootleg, The Beatles Christmas Album, a compilation of every Christmas flexi-disc, this had only been available as a special order item from the fan club.
This was also the last Christmas record where each member of the band was present at the same time to record, in case you were wondering.
So, sit back, and enjoy this little snippet!


Well said, Last-Year-Me, well said.
Really, enjoy it, and don't blame me if you're singing it all season.

Is It A Subscription Box, Or Something More Sinister? (It's A Subscription Box. Maybe.)