Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Green Shorts Don't Come Ee-zay

It's that time of year again. The Bachelorette has wrapped, Jake has been effectively voted off Bachelor Pad (this was, indeed, inevitable), so the time must be coming to announce the next Bachelor.
I've been waiting quite a while to use this picture. Humor me.

I will admit, every time this momentous occasion comes around, I always want the announcement to flash giant neon lights around this photograph...
I don't know which is worse: that I have carried this joke way too far, or the fact that it isn't actually a joke.

The dream never comes true, but I resign myself to this fact with each passing season. The way I figure it, the longer they wait to cast him, the closer I get to that dreadful age requirement, thereby making it OK for me to sign up for that season (and don't think I wouldn't). What? An interview, you say? You mean, the interview I pretend never happened? Hmmm.
Secure in the fact that Ed would probably not be the Bachelor for 2012, I started to speculate which of the Bachelorette's rejects would make for interesting television.
I settled quite happily with this guy.
I'm sure that, after cracking through that rigid demeanor, there's raw Bachelor material there. Given his easy going, yet impulsive nature, he'd make twelve weeks pretty entertaining. All of these factors went into my decision; a decision which I would have placed money on, really. I just knew it was coming.
Yet, a mere two days ago, I see the announcement.
And what asshat has been awarded status as the Bachelor this go around?
Really, Chris Harrison? Really?
Watching Ben during The Bachelorette was painful enough. Besides the fact that his elimination was by far the best out of every rejection in the history of the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad franchise, he grated my every nerve. I dreaded the time when the nauseatingly cheerful dentist would squeal with delight at being in his company (a squeal which, by the way, occasionally reached octaves high enough to make my dogs bark), only to have him treading lightly around the poor girl until the last two episodes. Much in the same fashion as The Dentist Herself, he just annoyed me. I have pinpointed the exact moment I just couldn't take any more of Ben as the lets-show-everyone-how-we-talk-to-our-dogs voice-off (2:55, for those who don't really care about the entire clip).
Contrary to the situation regarding The Dentist, I have no idea if people like Ben or not. As far as I'm concerned, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have two different viewing processes, mostly involving viewer input, or lack thereof.
I'll admit, though, I'm not enthused.
When I first heard this latest news, I was highly disappointed. What irks me most -- other than the fact that neither of my picks happened to make the cut -- is that Ben, out of all the rejects to choose from, was selected. Yet, the more time passes, the more I start to wonder what the hell ABC is doing. Why are morons continually being given chances at finding "love", when fan-favorites are permanently stuck in reject-limo mode?

Number one in Chihuahua, Mexico!

Of course, it never really matters who the Bachelor is -- Womack, v2.0 proved that -- I always end up watching it. Yet, somehow, I get the impression that I would have enjoyed The Mask as Bachelor more.

At least they didn't pick The Weatherman. I swear, I'd have hated Chris Harrison for it, but watched the awkward trainwreck with guilty pleasure.

Seriously, please keep The Weatherman out of the Bachelor franchise. Really.

And as for Ed, well, the little green shorts will have to wait for another season.
I never understood the problem with the shorts. I mean, he's not the first guy to wear them.
See what I just did with that? Clever, huh?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This Rule-Breaking Post Is Standing Room Only

I made a few rules when I first started this blog.
I've also broken all of them but one.
I think I'm about to break that rule.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

We've talked about the Plain White T's here and there on this little slice of Interwebbing, but never in real detail; some things just need to be kept under wraps, and my love of Tom Higgenson's writing prowess is one of them. Seriously, this guy is a modern ruddy genius.
Once again, the pattern that is my whole life shows itself in a photograph: lead-vocalist-guitarist-songwriters donning tapered trousers and variations of the French comb-forward. I'm beginning to wonder if I do this subconsciously.
By the way, yes, I understand this is a bit of an older photograph. Sue me.

Though I enjoy bits and bobs spanning their catalog, I have a genuine love of the Big Bad World album; hell, the thing is a near masterpiece -- it would achieve masterpiece status if the band hadn't pulled a Paul on us and slipped that one song in that just makes you scratch your head in wonderment ("I Really Want You"? Really, Mr. Higgenson?). Believe it or not, I'm listening to Big Bad World as I type this post. Genuine. Love. Also, the documentary following the recording process was gear.

Sure, the album was slammed by critics, but who listens to them, anyway? Two words to prove my point: Robert Christgau.
And what of the poppy punky vibe of pre-2008? In that regard, Every Second Counts is a near-masterpiece, too (again, "You and Me"? Why?) Even touches of their pre-"Delilah" catalog, all the way back to their first major-label release (though with particular attention to 2005's All That We Needed), there is at least one song that will stick in my head, and I will sing for days. My sister even commented on my secret love of the Plain White T's the last time she investigated my iTunes library (I also told her to take the Big Bad World album with her. I still don't know if she did; I'll ask later).
To gloss over the minor points, the Plain White T's have been a favorite of mine for years. It cannot be helped. Put simply, I love it.
I typed "I love it" into Google Images, and this little guy came up. Alrighty, then.

I find it interesting that they tour quite often. It's fabulous for them, I would suppose; go out, do what you love to do, get paid to do it, and -- from a writing perspective -- know that people remember and enjoy your words/music. Touring is a lovely thing, indeed.
Here's the thing.
Our schedules over the past four years have been consistently two weeks apart.
Nothing ever comes to this po-dunky little part of our great state, so, naturally, you have to go to whatever it is you want to see. The problem lies in that performers often overlook that the entire population of Texas does not live in the Dallas/Houston/Austin/San Antonio circle. Those of us that live outside the metro areas are stuck with a drunken Davy Jones, and a local Barry Williams replacement (this is a 100% true story). The joke I always make is that once a performer has been to this town once, they make a note to never come back, so you'd better catch them while they're here. Isn't life hard enough for people with my musical taste? Several problems lie with such a blessed burden:

*Most people have never heard of the performer in this country

*They don't tour anywhere near you

*They're incredibly old, or possibly deceased

Of those, I find the scheduling issues most frustrating. It's happened four or five times now, and on each occasion, I always think that there will come a time when I'll laugh at how easy it will be to get the timing right (ain't that just life?).
Now that I've set everything up just a smidge, I'll tell you about a recent conversation I had with my mother.
Last week, I read on the Plain White T's Facebook feed (oh, shut up) that Fall tour dates have been announced. I see the Two Weeks Nightmare playing out before my eyes as I look at the schedule, though I'm not sure of my own travel dates. All it took was to ask my mother what days we would be leaving for her to ask "who's gunna be there?" (For the record, my mother knows me better than I do, and vice versa. It's psychotically, bizarrely, mind-blowingly fun.)
"What does it matter?" I argue.
"Who's gunna be there?"
"The Plain White T's."
"Oh, I'd like to see them!"
Hmmmm. I think I've made a big mistake, here.
You see, I kind of protect my mother from music I know she won't like. I don't ask her to listen to anything that didn't come straight from the 60's and 70's original sources (even then, I try to avoid certain things; for example, the stopping point for The Who is directly before the Who's Next album, as she has a hard time handling "Baba O'Riley"). No All Time Low, One Night Only, The Killers (though she was with me when I saw The Killers, if seeing them in a non-performance setting counts), and -- shock of the decade -- pre-2008 Plain White T's. As an unrelated side note, she cannot escape Ryan Ross; when she sings Young Veins songs, I feel I have done right by her.
But everything else?
We've never even discussed the Two Weeks Nightmare. This means that she is basing a liking of going to a gig on a handful of songs. Seeing where this train was headed, I tried to let her know she might get a bit of a shock with the setlist.
"You wouldn't like going," I tell her, truth dripping from every syllable.
"I like that one song," she tells me.
"You're gunna pay for a $25 ticket to hear one song?"
"And I like that other song," she replies.
"They probably won't play it live," I said.
"Psychedelia is hard to replicate live."
"Well, I'd go and have fun with you!"
A little while later, she said, "do they play in places with seats, or do you have to stand up?"
I believe I have given her the wrong impression of this band.
How unfortunate. Maybe I haven't done right by her after all.
I'm afraid she would get there and end up with something like this...

Yes, some of the lyrics are incorrect, but the audio quality was my main focus. Also, congratulations if you recognized that this song was taken from the EP directly following All That We Needed.

If the poll that flashed across their Facebook news feed (oh, shut up... again) is any indication, I just might be right.

I think the point of this story is that the maternal-role-reversal switcheroo from mother to daughter has officially begun.
At least she doesn't want to go to an All Time Low gig.

Would she still have fun with me if one of the bras on Mr. Barakat's mic stand were mine?
I doubt it.

Post Script

I let my mother preview each blog before I post it, just to get a different perspective on the entry. We first previewed the All Time Low video; I skipped past the song, knowing she wouldn't like it, the point being to only show her the audience interaction portion. She asked me "the Plain White T's aren't like that, are they?" with a worried look on her face.
I then played her "If I Told You", during which she pretended to dance, then abruptly left.
Yes, I gave her the wrong impression. I'll make it up to her by playing something good.

Monday, August 15, 2011

George Washington's Nostril, Or, Lug And Joaf, Or, I DON'T WANNA GO BACK TO NEBRASKA!

So, we had an interesting weekend.
Would you like to hear about it?
Couldn't you just pretend you'd like to hear about it?
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

Last Thursday, when the opportunity arose for us to take a small side-trip through Nebraska, we decided it was worth our while. The catch, of course, was that we would be on super-dee-duper, top secret official business that required taking some kids home. No one minded, so we ended up going.
Glazing over the ten out of thirteen hours that one of the children had a mental breakdown, we had a smashing time!
Highlights included :

*Dropping the weeping child, et al, off. That gave us two days to play!

*One of the kids asking me what year I was born, and the nano-second it took me to realize that they may not understand what the abbreviation "'91" meant, so I had to say "1991", instead. Either that, or when I told my mother how cheap Dairy Queen had gotten by putting the free kiddy ice cream treat coupons on the paper kiddy meal bags. When I was little, they gave out hard paper tokens, which happened to be a concept these kids didn't understand. Thank heavens I decided against comparing the old tokens to Pogs.
Look, kids! I'm too young to feel this old!

*A side trip to our favorite park in Lamar, CO.

*Driving through the panhandle of Nebraska. I'd never been there before, and it was just lovely (which was thoroughly unexpected).

*Going to South Dakota; I'd never been there before, either. As a little girl, I had an erroneous idea that the Dakotas were a far way off. They aren't. Small personal milestone: this trip tipped my "states visited" count to thirty-one! Nineteen more to go (watch out, New England! I may get to Vermont and never come home).

*We went to Mount Rushmore! It was an amazing experience, which I hadn't really expected. During the homeschooling years with computer-based curriculum, of the several lay-outs I had to chose from, I always picked the Mount Rushmore/patriotic one. From sixth grade through high school, I would log into my work every day to the Star Spangled Banner. (Yeah, I was always this weird.) To see it in person turned out to be quite a big deal, actually.

I took these myself, and I'm very pleased with them. It was the first time I had used my polarized filter and sun
visor combined, so to see how well the combo turned out is quite encouraging.

*While there, we drove into Keystone, where we took a chairlift ride up to a hilltop overlooking the monument,
had lunch, and rode on a sled track back down. That was just as fun as seeing Rushmore, really; even
Daddy went down the slide!

*We also drove through Wind Cave National Park, and Custer State Park,
which were surprisingly beautiful. Daddy kept singing "Home On The Range", but all I kept
thinking of was this clip...

I don't know why.

*And then, and then... we drove through a very nice chunk of upper Wyoming, sped past Pepsi Center in Denver
(so many good memories!), only to end up in Colorado Springs!
We went to our favorite Borders (sadness ensued) and got some great sales ("Juliet, Naked", in hardback,
for three bucks, thanks very much).
Also, there was this.

Overall, it was a lovely little side trip; though we're all glad to be back home.
Would you like to see some holiday slides (oh God, I inadvertently
called them holiday slides. I wonder about myself, sometimes)?
Tough. It's my blog, and I can.

Overall, I think it was worth the crying kid to have an unexpected mini-vacation.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Four! I Mean, Five! I Mean, FIRE!

Last night was just another lovely evening at Fusspot Farm.
A truly inspired chain of events helped spice up an otherwise dull Sunday.
Daddy has a huge garden this year, filled with all sorts of veggies (and an occasional melon). We seemed to have more than our fair share of zucchini, so I thought to myself, "I'll just whip up some zucchini bread!"
The recipe did not go quite as I had intended (besides the baking injury, of course; doesn't everyone slice their finger open when trying to grate zucchini?); it made a tad bit more than just one loaf (which isn't the best thing, since we've only got one loaf pan), which caused it to overflow after a while. Some little spills ended up on the bottom of the oven before I got the chance to put something underneath the bread to catch the drippings. "Not a big deal," I thought to myself, "I'll take care of it later. Right now, we'll just focus on getting this bread finished, and starting dinner."
As the bread comes out of the oven, still slightly drippy, but smelling lovely, I turn the oven up by about seventy-five degrees to bake something else. Imagine my surprise when I go to put our garlic bread in the oven to find a small fire.

Luckily for me, my mother happened to be standing near enough to me to see what was going on.
"It'll burn itself out, but I'll go get your dad, anyway."
I hear her walk in his direction, open the door, and say, quite calmly, "There's a fire in our kitchen."
Now, maybe it's just me, but I think there's something wrong with the reactions to serious situations in this family. Remember the Katie incident?
It was enough to get his attention, though, judging from the way he hurried into the kitchen, and looked at the oven.
I was busy stirring something on the stove (you know, trying to prevent another fire), but out of the corner of my eye, I saw him pull two paper towels off the roll, and head to the sink.
"What on earth is he doing?" I thought to myself.
It didn't occur to me that he would stick wet paper products into our oven, which was still ON FIRE.
I watched as he threw the paper towels into the tiny inferno, and the following fracas. My favorite part was when I had to inform him that the floor was on fire.
We'll always have this lovely discolored spot on our linoleum to remember the evening's events by.
It was quite a bit of fuss for some zucchini bread, but it turned out to be lovely.
A keeper recipe, indeed!
You know, minus the blood, and fire.

Just remember, kids: only you can prevent oven fires.

Reginald Kitty is not amused.

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