Saturday, December 31, 2011

Celebratin' New Year Like It's 1997

Have I ever mentioned that I'm a sentimental sap? I keep the dumbest things: brochures we picked up from places we've visited, those impossible-to-take-off wrist bands from whatever events we went to, or the star of the Infamous Water Bottle Story from our trip to Canada (we don't talk about it). That sappy sentimentality makes every December 31st (OK, the last two weeks of the year) even sappier than the previous three hundred sixty-four days. Of course, I keep the sappy to myself, 'cause that just gets ruddy old after a while; but on New Year's Eve, sappy is so acceptable that you appear to be cold and heartless if you don't show some kind of sappiness.
If you haven't already guessed, this post is going to get rather sappy.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

Reflecting on the past year is an oft practiced New Year tradition, though is generally just a passing fancy in anticipation for the unknown, shiny wonders of the next year.
To that, I call bollocks, sir.
Is it just me, or does this annual anamnesis not get nearly enough credit? With as quickly as our lives are flashing before us, does it not seem prudent to do more than pause in its honor? It feels like just a couple of weeks ago that I wrote out last year's post on this subject (the website I found the photograph of the skeleton on gave my old computer a nasty virus, and I was terribly afraid I wouldn't get the post up on time [you know, 'cause the writing process for each of these posts also has a story]). Was it a year ago that we were discussing what had been such fun about 2010? When we discussed the quirks that make another passing year so memorable in that ten percent of our brains? And, more to the point, why the hell have I been calling this year 2010, and will I be able to remember that we are now treading into the questionable territory of 2012 (come on, ten percent, work for me, here)?
What about the quirks of this year? Before we head off into the hell storm that will be 2012 (and not because of the whole end of the world bollocks), let's bask in the glow of awesome that 2011 has been. Sure, it's had its fair share of bad times, but the ruddy awesome times far surpass those depressing bastards.
I feel I should warn you that we did some things I didn't blog about. And, since we're being honest, I think I kept the most interesting story of the entire year a total secret. I debated whether or not to mention this at all, but my mood over the last few days has been somewhat bizarre, so I figured I'd go ahead and tell the tale; honestly, it tickles me.
This may or may not have happened.

And I may or may not have been at it.
Like, the whole thing.

And I may or may not have wept like a little baby.
See, I was there. It's just that the only person that wanted my photograph was my mother.

And, um, a couple days later, when we saw Paul, this may or may not have also happened.

And I may or may not have wept again, 'cause I know that nothing I ever do in my life will ever be that cool again, and I know that is not an exaggeration.

Well, now that the story is out in the open, let's look at some other highlights of the year.

February - San Antonio
March - Wichita
May - Colorado
June - I think I just told those stories.
August - Mount Rushmore
September - Colorado; Corpus Christi
October - The McCartney Wedding; Red River; Plain White T's/Austin; London Bridge (um, yeah, that's another one we didn't talk about)
December - Vegas!

But, you know, it's not just about the vacations. It's the little things that happen, or that you do; they make up the delicate tapestry of life references, making it so that no one understands your references, and just looks at you like you're some kind of ape-like creature that may spontaneously implode if it continues to speak.

The things you choose to watch...

If you think I was going to wait until stupid American PBS got series two of Downton Abbey, you thought wrongly, sir.

Yes, The Bachelorette is a bigger deal at our house than The Bachelor. There, I said it. Whichever it is, we always scream "HI, CHRIS HARRISON!" at the beginning of every episode. It's tradition.

If you've never seen Jack Whitehall, go to YouTube. Really, right now, I'll wait. I had forgotten about him completely until we watched Big Fat Quiz of the Year ('cause there was no chance of America ever getting that one) and they used a clip from Fresh Meat in the television montage. I may or may not have watched the entire series in two nights (and I'm still on the fence about it, quite honestly; though it has its good points, and that's what pulled me through), and gone bonkers with clips from Mock The Week.

I love this film, OK? It's an historical drama about Lincoln, staring James McAvoy; what's not to love? Am I alone in this?

And we have silently lamented the loss of one of the greatest television shows of the last decade.

We've also been spinning quite a lot of ear candy this year.

Mentioned on this blog -- by name -- five times in the last year, yet no one in my family knows who the hell Jon Walker is. Educate yourselves, you filthy heathens.

These first two examples are proof that the Chicago area has consistently given us good music in the last decade (approximately). Also, my Nigel loves this song.

Yeah, Chicago's pretty great, but Britannia rules the airwaves.

I can't believe they put this on a Christmas album. It's beautiful, and relevant at any time of year.

I've seen this video several times, and I've yet to tire of watching Mr. Kane work the guitar pedals. Make of that what you will.

Can someone please remind me why people didn't like Dirty Work? Maybe it's the Fourteen Year Old Fangirl Syndrome, and they don't understand that the early twenty-somethings (such as these blokes) grew up with this kind of sound on the radio (or from older siblings), and think it's perfectly fine to put their own spin on it. Thanks, fangirls, for making me feel ridiculously old. I'll just go put on some Harvey Danger, and count my POGS. (Now that I'm older, I understand why my mother disliked it when her children -- aged eighteen, and six -- would sing this song. Sorry, Ma.) By the way, any fangirls that just so happen to be fourteen; that Harvey Danger song was released in 1997, also known as the year you were born. Is this the beginning of the generation gap, or has someone run off with my Zimmer frame?

So, I guess it's another year down. Sure, I skipped a lot of highlights: The Lamb Story, watching Geraldo Rivera accurately guess Bin Laden's death, John Stossel selling lemonade, or the Charles Xavier dream.
So what, I brought it back to James McAvoy; it's my blog, and I can.

There's so very much to continue to look forward to. You'll be reading about some of it in the near future, rest assured. Things that will undoubtedly creep into the blog are the newest season of The Bachelor...
Now accepting roses from the gentleman on the far left.

Paul's upcoming album (possibly albums? Come on, darling, we know you're working on one, just release it, already)...

Whatever other little bits and bobs I may find...

I don't care that this was just released. If this is the direction they're moving (you know, that would-fit-in-perfectly-with-All-That-We-Needed [please, tell me you know the album I'm talking about, folks] direction), things are going to get interesting.

And -- though I shall try to shut up, I know I shall fail -- the biggest thing in my entire universe, bigger than any album launch, or Bachelor Monday combined in all of history: election year.

Come on, Sarah. I know you filed all of the appropriate paperwork to run way back in May. Change your mind, save us from this stupidity. Please?

Until then, have yet another 90s kids blast from the past; I watched this as it aired, New Years Eve 1997. I remember being quite bored by the cartoons, so I went back and forth between Nickelodeon and TV Land. I was always boring, I know.

In all seriousness, happy new year, everybody!

Now we'll celebrate the mysterious cloud that is 2012!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Doin' The Reindeer Dance With Pirate Bob

Another Christmas is finally upon us; well, the Bufords, at least, since most of you folks celebrate on Christmas Day instead of Christmas Eve.

I hope everyone has written their letters to Santa; I know I have.
Actually, I'm getting concert tickets for Christmas. More on this in the new year.

So much work for one day, isn't it? Just think about it, as it's a good excuse for being on the Internet instead of with your family.
All of the shopping...

...and the wrapping...

...and the caroling...

All that for one day? For one-twelfth of the year, we throw ourselves into an alternate reality of activity, and do stupid things we wouldn't ordinarily be caught dead doing.

The question I always end up asking myself is, "is all of this really worth it?". The buying, the cooking, the stressing over gifts. To which I generally answer, "yes, because we'll all be dead one day".
So, now that we have contemplated one of the most fundamental meanings of this holiday, get on back to your family and celebrate, before they all wonder where the hell you went.
Before you leave, though, have a song or two to take with you.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Poor Miles (Fi'e-Dolla-Now)

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the auto-post function here on Blogger? Well, I ruddy well do. Here you thought I was making posts regularly, when I was actually off on holiday! Ain't that a scream? All of last week, we were out in that desert oasis we so love; no, not a sandy island in some salty water - Vegas!

Would you like to hear some trip highlights?
Well, pretend, anyway. It's almost Christmas, and Santa can still change his mind.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

* We got free tickets to a second-rate magic show. Now, this may sound like a waste of time, and you would be right; that is, until little seven year old Miles took the stage. The performer asked if there were any children in the audience who wanted to learn some magic. From my balcony seat, I saw little Miles being coaxed by his mother to raise his hand. Like an obedient lad, up shot his hand, without any care for the consequences of this action. Like a moth to flame, the performer snatched the boy up, and led the child up the stairs to the proscenium arch. Only, little Miles wasn't having any of it. He stood in front of us, his entire body stiff as a board, eyes wide with a mixture of embarrassment and fear. When asked simple questions, the poor boy just buried his face in his hands, and obviously wanted to fall right through the stage floor. By the end, he refused to speak. Have you ever seen a child's entire self-worth dissipate? It's simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. Poor Miles. I hope he's recovered from his trip to Vegas, 'cause he may never want to go back.

* Brookstone is a hilarious place to go, especially in Vegas. The store in the Venetian is a great place to watch foreigners explore the wonders of America. Now, I have no guarantee that the man I saw was foreign, but the odds are with me. He spoke not a word, and was dressed like this.
He observed all sorts of odd things, like massaging pillows and remote controlled hovercrafts with keen interest. His little shopping trip was going splendidly until he saw the noise machines. He picked up one of the more complicated models, and began pushing the numerous buttons. As the product delivered the sound it has promised on the box, he clicked the "off" button; at least, he thought he did. Thus, the frantic button-push-jitterbug began. Eventually, he sat the product back on the shelf, and shuffled away, hoping no one saw him break the machine. I saw him repeatedly look over his shoulder, until a saleslady silenced the broken model.
The lesson, children, is that some culture notes are practically identical. You break it, you pretend you didn't, and leave quickly.

* Only in Vegas can you look out the window as you have a leisurely croissant at 8:30 in the morning, and watch Spiderman walk though a parking lot, get in a car, and drive away. I think Spidy was a little drunk from the night before, though, because he had some serious trouble unlocking that car.
Where does Spidy take over for Peter? It should have happened before this point.

* I have discovered a new talent: guessing weights of M&Ms. I guessed 1.75 pounds, and it ended up being 1.76 pounds. That, my friends, is pretty damn good for delicious chocolaty candies.
Speaking of chocolaty goodness...
If ever I were to dream of food, it would be the chocolate praline (the first time I had one, it was called the Symphony) from Cafe Belle Madeleine.

* Since the first time we went to Vegas way back in the mists of time -- OK, 2006 -- The Strip has been deluged with street performers. Most of the time, they just annoy me, and add to my headaches. This time, however, there was actually a fun one: a bagpiper, playing the Star Wars theme. Unfortunately, the number was cut short when someone requested "Amazing Grace". Just as disappointment started to sink in, a girl screamed out, "awww, it's the theme to Titanic!". Laughter ensued.

* There we were, at the Coke store, slurping our Cherry Coke floats and minding our own business. Through the din of shopping tourists and the giant televisions playing music videos, I heard a familiar chord over the speakers. I looked back at the flat screens to see this.
I know it's blurry, but I was excited. Does it look familiar?

What about now?
I was thrilled to hear The Young Veins (or, as my dad calls them, The Blood Veins) in a public place; it was just a bit more special that it was in the hometown of Mr. Ross, I think. This song is also kinda special to me in that it was the very first song I heard from the Ross/Walker team (yes, I'm weird and remember that kind of thing; it's like a mental scrapbook [take 'mental' however you wish]). After I got over the shock of the situation, I started telling the general space how the video was initially shot, then filmed through a vintage television. I only started getting weird looks when I said "rock that solo, Mr. Walker". OK, so I fangirled, sue me.

* The Venetian has transformed itself into a Winter Wonderland.
The best part is the recycled plastic skating rink. The first forty-five minutes alone, I counted fifty people who fell over before I was told to shut up. It's like I told my mother, "I'm watching America's Funniest Home Videos live right now, don't bug me". We went back several times during the week, but that first group of suckers were still the best biffers of the lot.

* My camera was hit on more than I was. Note to self: next time, ditch the Wrinklies.
Aren't they cute? Now, buzz off.

* There was a film being shot all over The Strip while we were there. The best part of this was the Bellagio Incident. A boat full of crew workers was sent to unload giant sheets of wood onto an island in the middle of the Bellagio lake. They hitched their boat to the island, and began unloading. When about half of the load was on each vessel, disaster struck: both the island, and the boat started sinking from the weight of the wood. After much fuss, a corner of the island was sinking under the weight of the entire load, while the boat putted back to dock. The next day, the island had sunk -- wood and all -- in a tucked away spot under a bridge to the parking garage. What morons.

* The Arc de Triomphe at Paris. Check the slideshow.

Speaking of slideshow, would you like to see some photographs from the trip?
Remember, Santa's checking that list twice.

I Saw Murray Kissing Santa Claus

Have we talked about Christmas music this season? 'Cause I've bitten my tongue so long it's starting to bleed.
You wear those headphones, Santa, 'cause I don't wanna hear that bollocks.

Don't psychiatrists advise against bottling up such emotion? Well, pull out the corkscrew, kiddies, 'cause this bottle is about to blow.

Just for kicks and giggles, I have been paying attention to Christmas music this year -- I know, I know, don't pull out the holy water yet -- in an attempt to analyze just how terrible it is. It all started with one of my stupid, dry jokes about "The Little Drummer Boy", and grew into other stupid, dry jokes from there.

* The Little Drummer Boy
Banging a drum for a newborn baby; yeah, that's a good idea. In one version, the lyric is sung 'then he nodded', instead of 'Mary nodded'. To whomever changed the lyric: you do realize that babies' heads just lollop about, right? They have no neck muscles; he probably just had a little slip or something. (You laughed, see ya in hell.)

* I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
'What a laugh it would have been if Daddy had only seen...'? Yeah, 'cause Daddy ought to know about that one.

* It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
'A pair of hop-a-long boots, and a pistol that shoots is the wish of Bonnie and Ben'.
Bonnie? That's not a traditional male name; are you telling me that girls want hop-a-long boots, and pistols that shoot? All the little girls I ever knew wanted Barbies. I, on the other hand, had more sophisticated taste in gifts.
What do I mean had?

* Celebrate Me Home
I can't understand a bloody word; but what does 'celebrate me home' mean?

* Do You Hear What I Hear?
'Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, "do you know what I know?"'. Yeah, a little shepherd boy is going to visit a "mighty king", taunting I-know-something-you-don't-know. That's how you get beheaded, kids.

* The First Noel
'They look-ed up...'. Look-ed? Really? Maybe it's my inner writer, but syllable counts MATTER. They exist for a reason. They are important. Think about it.

* The Christmas Shoes
What is the purpose of this song? I don't know, and I don't understand; like, at all. Did somebody sit down and say "let's write the dumbest, most miserable Christmas song we can devise"? And, more to the point, if 'Daddy says there's not much time', shouldn't little Johnny be at home with his Mama instead of in line to buy shoes? Does Jesus care if you're wearing a brand spanky new pair of shoes when you die? I hope not, 'cause I don't plan on wearing pants.

* Up On The Housetop
'Up on the housetop, reindeer paws...'? Hang on there just a second, reindeer have hooves, not paws. When I pointed that out to my mother, she, of course, took the I-LOVE-Christmas-music attitude of "maybe they meant reindeer pause; you know, like, they stopped". No, Mama. They did not mean stop; if they did, then the writing is weak, and deserves to be made fun of.
THIS reindeer has paws, but that falls under the heading of 'technicality'.

* Walking In A Winter Wonderland
'In the meadow we can build a snowman, and pretend that he is Parson Brown...'; later in the song, '...we'll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman until the other kiddies knock him down'. So, the other kids must really be little sons of bitches to knock over a fake preacher, AND run other people out of a meadow. Public school really does encourage children to be terrible little creatures, doesn't it?

* No Place Like Home For The Holidays
'Gee, the traffic is terrific'? Look, folks, I've been stuck in traffic many times in my life: SoCal, Dallas, and downtown Chicago, just to name a few. Traffic is far from terrific. When we were little (and even now, come to think it), our mother would sing 'gee the traffic is horrific'. I'm inclined to agree.

* Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
'Elephants, boats, and kiddie cars, too'. Elephants? Who asks for an elephant for Christmas? They're endangered, people! My dad's friend, Ben, had something to do with this, didn't he? (Story time: when I was about five years old, I asked Santa for a pony. Three days before Christmas, Ben leaves a message on our answering machine asking when Daddy wanted him to deliver our new pony. I've been waiting for a pony from Ben ever since; fifteen years later, that joke has not lost any of its potency, and I mention the fact that Ben owes me a pony every time I speak to him. If you're reading, Ben, PAY UP.)
Let's hope that the elephant in the song is metaphorical; if so, I want an elephant next year (whoops, I'm having a Conservative moment, again).
Here's another thought to ponder: what the hell are 'rooty-toot-toots and rummy-tum-tums'? They sound like something you order at IHOP.

* Baby, It's Cold Outside
'Mother will be there at the door... Father will be pacing the floor...'. Um, it's called a telephone, honey. They had them in the dark ages before Internet and cell phones. They had this little wheelie thing that you stuck your finger in, and it clicked and spun. Sometimes, you could talk to a real live person, and they would connect you! Sweet Belinda of all that's good and cheezy! CALL HOME. Problem solved.

* Silent Night
It was before you started singing, Asshat. (I don't know why this was in my notes, but I nearly spit tea all over my screen when I read it; it had to be included in the list.)

* Little St. Nick
'Christmas comes this time each year'. Thanks, Brian, we didn't know that. I thought Christmas was bi-annual, and my life was just really flying by.

So, there we have it; just a few observations about some of your favorite carols. I say 'your' because we all know they aren't mine. Sure, there are some Christmas songs I like, but they don't get a lot of airplay.

Why do the videos with the best audio quality always have the dumbest video content?

Happy listening, folks. Only a few more days to go.
Santa, you are not Sir George Martin. Step away from the sound board.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Toffee, Cookies, And Puppies In The Snow

Is there anything more fabulously wintry than snow? Snow is magical in a way that words simply cannot describe; no matter how hard I try, I can never seem to spit out enough adjectives to do justice to snow. That's where my handy dandy Cannon camera comes into play; after all, isn't a picture worth a thousand words? So, take a look at the slideshow to look at those thousand words I am absolutely unable to articulate.

To warm up, I decided to make snowball cookies...

...and some pecan toffee.
These, I can describe: thems is good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We're Celebrating Our Leather Year!

Three years ago today, the Turret Full Of Ravens was officially started! Can you believe it's been three years? I can't.
Something you may find interesting, dear reader, is that this blog was not my first introduction to blogging. Believe it. A few months before my sister pestered me into starting the very blog you're reading today, she pestered me to blog on MySpace (back when MySpace was still somewhat cool). I went back and read the two posts I made there, and laughed heartily. The first blog I ever wrote was to publicize Banned Books Week; yes, I'm big on Banned Books Week, sue me. The second talked about keeping "your fingers, toes, arms, legs, and eyeballs crossed for a US Boosh tour, not only because it should happen, but because it's fun to see what people say about your unusual position... you'd be amazed how many strange faces people can make". Later in the post -- as a post script, actually -- I said "You may also want to keep your fingers, toes, arms, legs, and eyeballs crossed for a Paul McCartney tour sometime soon... because we need one of those even MORE than the Boosh. YAY, PAUL!"
In the words of Frank Turner: "time may change a lot, but some things, they stay the same".
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

Now that we've gotten past those very awkward stages of blogging, and forged into whole new worlds of awkward blogging, let's break down some numbers about the 2011 blogging year.
Out of the fifty posts made during this year, there have been a total of 178 videos.
They break down as follows:

Songs - 65
Beatles - 21
Beatles Without Songs - 8

"Other" - 59

Britcoms - 17

Bachelor/ette - 8

Total posts dedicated solely to music - 13

And, let's not forget about good ol' Reginald Kitty; he appeared 40 times in 30 individual posts this year.

Another interesting statistic you may not be aware of is that the "Hipster Versus Anachronism" post is the most viewed in the entire blog's history. Believe it. That post is generally what brings folks to the blog in the first place. So, if you found us via that post, and decided to hang around, we're glad you've stuck it out.
Something I always like to make sure I do in the anniversary post is thank you, dear reader, for spending some time on this peculiar little slice of the Interwebby. That anyone on the other end of that lighted box decides to read what I'm typing on my end of the magical keyboard makes my jaded little heart all warm and fuzzy. Since I've taken notice of my blog stats (and I don't know how accurate those are), I've seen readers from Latvia, Qatar, Finland, Bulgaria, and a host of other countries crossing the threshold that this blog is. What started out as a project that would keep my sister happy has turned into something much bigger -- and more fun -- than I expected back in 2008.
So, before we embark on our fourth year, let's keep with our Mr. Gee-esque tradition of bringing together some of the more notable posts in some kind of rhyming pattern.

As another blogging year ends,
And before the next one begins,
Let's look back on these days,
And see what stupid things I had to say.
There were funnies in color, if they weren't blacking out.
And Paul gave us reasons to scream and shout.
There was talk of the 90's, and my Zimmer frame,
YouTube, green shorts, and mentions of Dames.
We talked about music -- acoustic or not --
Of choppers, Chris Harrison, and how fangirls shop.
We met Katie, Mr. Do-Its, and Bonzo,
Had snow days, and Anthology's no-go.
I'm socially awkward, but it doesn't hurt,
That's only 'cause Tom Higgenson likes my shirt.
We cannot forget the wordplaying hipsters,
That our kitchen caught fire, and the tropics make me bitter.
We won't go to Nebraska, Shep looks like a dog,
There was a very special wedding, and confessions on the blog.
So, now we begin year number four --
Strap your self in, 'cause there'll certainly be more!

So, as I like to say...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thirty-One Years

This is such a busy time of year. As a college student, I've just wrapped up finals week; society at large is preparing for whatever holiday they celebrate around now. Maybe you're making plans to travel, or getting ready to have people over to your place for some kind of get together.
Whatever you're doing today, make sure to think about John Lennon; remember his values, and the kind of man he is. Think of his legacy, and the beautiful impression he has on the world.
Yes, this is the thirty-first anniversary of a terrible day, and is always marked in my mind; but instead of marking a premature event, I think of that legacy, that impression, those values, and John, himself. Generally, I also like to think of him smiling.

To me, he is as alive as ever, just in a different way; and, perhaps, that's something else to reflect upon today.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Shopping With A Fangirl

If you have never been shopping with a fangirl, you are missing out on quite the experience.
If the fangirl isn't talking about her chosen subject, she's looking for merchandise about her chosen subject; if she falls silent too long, she's stuck in her own little world -- which revolves around her chosen subject -- while simultaneously still searching for merchandise. Then, of course, if she finds something that remotely reminds her of her chosen subject, she emits a squeal that only certain animals can hear, while rushing toward the object; whether she purchases it, or simply cuddles it for a second before putting it back on the shelf, odds are likely she'll eye-ball it as long as possible. Yes, fangirls are a crazy bunch. I can say these things matter-of-factly simply because I have spent years fangirling something or other; one learns to control it, but it's always somewhere in the back of your mind, ready to pop up when you're in the middle of real-life things, like timed exams, or when you're sitting in the warm glow of the computer screen at four o'clock in the morning.
Since I rarely go shopping, I rarely see fangirls; but, the other day, I came across one in its retail habitat. My mother and I were browsing the Christmas section of our local Target, mindlessly jabbering about who knows what pointlessness. As we made our way from the holiday stuff to the back isles, I saw this...
...and made a rather inappropriate joke along these lines...

About two seconds later, a little girl -- about eight years old -- came around the corner screaming "JUSTIN BIEBER!" over and over again. Her mother eventually got her to settle down, but she kept whispering his name in that creepy way.
"Aw, how cute," I thought to myself, "but, oh, what she's in for." Hey, no one said the fangirl road was easy, OK?
I thought nothing more of what I had just seen, and we went on our merry way.
We made a detour through the DVD section, looking for a Christmas present for my sister; it was while my mother was on the telephone, sorting out what seasons of which television show she wanted, that I saw it. I raised my arms, let off that high-pitch squeal, and shouted "RONNIE!"
Yes, I just fangirled Ronald Reagan. And I am unashamed.

The moral of the story: once a fangirl, always a fangirl.
Of course, I'm perfectly fine with that.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No Gingerbread Man Is Safe

I rarely venture out of my little universe. I rather like it in my bubble -- mostly due to the central air conditioning, but that's neither here nor there. In The Bubble, we have good radio; Beatles (and all that comes with them), Donovan, Peter and Gordon, Plain White T's -- you get the idea. Yet there is that time every year, from the third Thursday in November, through December 25th, that I must relinquish Roger the Bose to my mother. That time of year when I start to slightly lose my mind, and cling to my noise-cancelling headphones. That's right, folks, Christmas music season.
There are a few outlets my mother likes to use for Christmas music, one being a local radio station; every year, they ask listeners to vote whether they do or don't want the holiday music on the station 24/7. Earlier this week, we participated in the vote; the results were pretty one-sided at 98% for the holiday music, so I left it at that. My musical world gets put on personal-mode from Thanksgiving, so I actually didn't give it a second thought -- that is, until this afternoon, when I was told "they've started playing the Christmas music on the radio!"
Um, what?
I tuned in to hear the little Charlie Brown children singing 'Christmastime Is Here', and as the sounds processed, I shut them off with haste.
This cannot be happening.
Today is only the tenth day of November. I should have another two weeks before I have to hear 'The Little Drummer Boy' thirteen times in a day (true story). As I was dwelling on what I just heard, I noticed that the city's Christmas lights -- which they put up about a week ago -- were turned on. Yes, in the afternoon. Some of them were still on after the sun had gone down (they must be testing them before the big unveiling later in the month). Then, of course, I noticed that the college had put out a giant 'Peace On Earth' lighted display right at the door I go in and out of.
This is absolute lunacy. Let's get over Thanksgiving before we work ourselves up for the festive season, m'kay, everybody? I mean, I can't be the only person to recognize that starting Christmas ten days after Halloween is a little nuts; our dad wouldn't even have let us eat our Halloween candy by now...
Photobucket why, in the name of all that's good and cheezy, should we be breaking into Christmas?
Society will make us switch into holiday mode after Thanksgiving, but until then, I shall fight this kicking and screaming. Let's start here.

Hang on, where have I seen this idea on a bigger scale?

Oh, that's where.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

I don't care that I've used that video on the blog already, the line of similarity had to be drawn.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Basking In The Glory Of My Social Awkwardness

I don't know if anyone has ever noticed this or not, but I'm one of those fabulously awkward people.
Outsiders (and maybe even some insiders) observing my life would probably blame the fact that I was homeschooled from second grade through 74% of my college career. I, however, know that I was just destined to be "that weird girl" from the off. Looking back on my brief public school career, that was certainly true (they used to laugh at my saddle oxfords, and tell me that the songs I knew weren't "real" [probably because their parents didn't listen to the same things mine did]). By the end of those wretched years, I had become the leader of all of the other weird kids, who seemed to genuinely believe they would miss me during the next school year.
Fast forward a few Presidential administrations, and I am now a "college girl". Does it matter that I seem to know the schedule better than the teacher? That I know the material better than the others in the class? Personally, I would say yes; but then, there's that beautiful awkwardness, glimmering like sunset on the ocean.
I have no idea why, but that awkwardness seems to be about 50% bigger in that class than in any other social situation in my entire life, ever; in particular, with one of my classmates.
Would you like to hear about it? 'Cause it's really hilarious.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

Earlier this semester, I had to make up an exam (you know, 'cause we've been gone quite a lot in the last couple of months). The Classmate also had to make it up, so we took the exam together. As he professed his nervousness, I tried to tell him to have confidence in himself. Unfortunately, I've been dealing with some vocal issues lately; what should have turned out as a normal phrase -- "you have to have confidence in yourself" -- turned into "you have to have con--"

That got some weird looks.

The next day, Classmate walked by my desk. After a brief conversation, he placed his hand palm up in front of me. What did I end up doing? Turning his hand over, and shaking it.
I still don't know whether he wanted a "low-five", or some other salutation I don't understand. His response to this? "OK, see ya."

I was fine with all of these exchanges. I knew my strangeness was very evident to everybody (considering I sit at the very front, in the middle, and have massive amounts of frizzy hair; really, my hair rivals Yoko's on the Grapefruit cover). It probably doesn't help that I don't own a solid-colored shirt, and wear vintage rhinestone cat glasses (generally two pair, sometimes at the same time), and I am more than fine with that. I sincerely do not care what they think of me, so I don't fret about stupid little things like my socially backward anachronism mind.
Until the social niceties today.
A group of students were gathered at the front of the room, sorting out some graded papers. Classmate continued to call my name, handing me each paper as he found it.
"Thank you, Alfred (names changed to protect the poor guy)."
This happened three times, and I thought nothing of it. Until he said "my name is Frank, not Alfred".
And that's when I felt my eyes grow to saucer-like proportions, my pulse quickened, and I just kind of froze on the spot.
I made my apologies, and admitted how terrible I am with names and faces. He smiled and said he understood.
But that wasn't enough for my little "Social Emergency Button". Oh no. It wasn't.
Standing right next to me was the real Alfred. Before I could stop myself, I heard my tiny little voice squeaking out "wait, you're Alfred, aren't you?"
"Yeah," he said, apparently enjoying my mix-up.
Well, he must have done, because he moved from his usual seat in the very back of the room to the empty desk behind me, and proceeded to converse with me at opportune times.
Because that didn't add to the awkwardness. Not at all.

I now have two wishes: that neither of these people ever, ever find this blog; and that the real Alfred could see past my hair.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Zimmer Frame Is Double Parked

It's official: I am starting to feel old.
Don't get me wrong, I know I'm not old.
That doesn't mean I don't feel old, though.
For example, today, while watching a television show, a young girl -- aged about sixteen, judging by the fact that she was driving -- admitted that she didn't know what a Walkman was.
A Walkman.

No, Roy. She is NOT from the past.

How can I be four years older than her, and have worn out three of those in my lifetime? How is that possible? What is this madness? Does she know what a portable CD player is? A boombox? Why am I using so damn many questions?
Perhaps on any other day, this wouldn't have bothered me in quite the same way.
Not today.
Today is my twentieth birthday.
I swear, it never occurred to me that people would be younger than I am. In that same way that, until I was fourteen, I didn't quite understand that you actually had to do something with your life before you were married, I never thought active people could be younger than I am/was.
This is a flaw on my part.
Now, how do I handle this?
My first inclination was to put on my Writing Playlist (supplemented with late-90's, early-00's drivel, just to add fuel to the fire). With my beloved Mr. Higgenson in my ears, though, things seem a tad bit better.
This does not fix the problem.
What fixes the problem?
More Tom Higgenson.
But what after that?
And then, the lightbulb went off.
This is not your problem. It's their's.
All this means is that those "youngsters" still have all of that bollocks to sort through. "Remember YOU at sixteen?" I said to myself. Not to bring down the mood or anything, but I was a mental mess, in my own Sliding Scale of Suck way. Everything I had built my world on, and everything I believed simply crumbled like a crushed cookie beneath me. (Yes, my teenaged battle wasn't the journey to find myself, but to discover who others were. Sue me, I've never been conventional.) But isn't that the point? That you've got that finite set of years to finish being a total twit, so that you can start sorting out the important stuff? You know, like, the real-life, boring stuff?
That's exactly what it is.
Sort all of that out then, kids. Go out there and be stupid, 'cause one of these days, it'll hit you that somewhere, your future is wandering around on this planet -- chances are, just as clumsily as you (for me, this was at sixteen, after a visit to Camp Pendleton). It'll occur to you that the odds of mortgage/car payment/parenthood/pension plans/white picket fence-dom within the next ten years are so high that you'll wonder why in hell you worried about that stupid two page essay you slapped together on global warming, or how driving scares the holy living hell out of you. 'Cause when that realization hits you, you WILL want to buckle yourself in, identify the emergency exits, and keep all limbs inside the vehicle. Whatever you are doing, you feel like it's contributing to your future.
So go ahead, kids. Figure that out.
I'll be here, trying to sort out which buckles click together, where the emergency exits are, and how to keep my limbs from getting whacked off (I feel I will need them in the future).
In the meantime, my zimmer frame is double parked... right next to my Walkman.
I'll be that girl also doesn't realize that this sound used to mean THE INTERNET.

Reginald Kitty is not amused.

Here, have a song. It seems appropriate.

By the way, go get this. It's free!

You're welcome.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tom Higgenson Likes My Shirt

OK, so this just happened.
"That's a nice shirt you've got there," said one of my favorite songwriters of all time.
"Well, thank you very much," I replied, my fangirl senses praying that I didn't make a total fool of myself. "Y'all put on a great show tonight, thanks for coming out."
My mother asked me to turn around for a picture, I thanked Mr. Higgenson, and was shuffled down the line.
I don't know how I lucked out and got three autographs, two from the entire band. Photographs will follow when I've gotten everything framed.

In the meantime, here's the rest of the story.

At first, I thought the entire evening was going to be ruined. I have discovered another thing I do not like to share (in addition to my computer, and my chair): my camera. Though it isn't a professional camera, it was still confiscated. I'm still not sure why. This situation took thirty minutes to deal with, which nearly made us late for the opening acts (and is why the above photograph is so fuzzy: cell phones!).
Of course, the first opening act was one I could have lived without (I think I've mentioned that girl singers give me the creeps). I don't even remember her name, so we'll just skip that bit.
It was only when The Downtown Fiction (yes, I familiarized myself before the show) came on did I notice that the sound system wasn't working. Without being able to hear the lead singer, I just enjoyed the fact that musicians are the only people who can get away with wearing skin-tight, bright red trousers. I was also very impressed when their lead used his mic stand to play slide guitar (on an acrylic body, no less).
Afterward, I enjoyed watching John Gomez (from The Summer Set) try to fix the sound issues.
It wasn't until the Plain White T's took the stage that I heard just how very far off the sound was; Tom Higgenson does not sound like a chipmunk. They fought hard against the problem throughout the show, with vocals fading in and out. The issue came to a head during "Hey There, Delilah", when the acoustic guitar simply faded out; Mr. Higgenson handled it like a pro, improvising while he waited for a roadie to get him another instrument.
Just before the final number, he mentioned that anyone who bought Wonders Of The Younger at the merch table in the lobby would get a wristband for a fan signing. I didn't care that I'd already bought the album, I headed (back) to the merch table, mowing down all who stood in my way.
And, of course, trying to come up with something to say with the ten seconds I was guaranteed. Again, fangirl prayers. I had to make sure I didn't do this...
Overall, though, it was a great night. I don't often get to go to a good concert, and this one qualifies as just that. It certainly contributes to the concert bug; anybody still Christmas shopping for me can buy tickets for All Time Low's Dallas show via their website.

The Two Weeks Nightmare has finally been broken!

Ricky The K's Solid Gold Time Machine

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