19 entries categorized "Music"

Things I remembered just by working from home

In no particular order.

  • I don’t particularly like working from home.
  • Flexie. The keyboard is not your resting place.
  • Drinking one’s own canned beverages? Feh.
  • Alamo!
  • These kitchen-table chairs UTTERLY BLOW for anything more than about 25 continuous minutes of use.
  • Seriously, Flex, go the hell away!
  • Yay whatever music I want to play, at whatever volume.
  • Remote access is simultaneously
    • cool
    • mind-boggling, even if you know at least the basics of the technology involved
    • irritatingly slow
  • Annie: The claws are not required for standing on my leg, ow ow ow ow ow
  • This neighborhood is almost freakishly quiet on weekdays.
  • The sofa, it calls to me....
  • GODDAMNED CATS

When I couldn’t work from home, in the days when my job didn’t offer it (retail is hard to do except at the store) and before the technology was fully baked (hail the days of Citrix on Decker Lake Lane!), I wanted to work from home all the time.

Now I can work from home pretty much whenever I want and I avoid it. I like keeping my home and my workplace distinct and physically separate, too easy to lose work/life balance otherwise. And no cats at the office, which makes it orders of magnitude more productive. Or at least far less cat-hair–covered.

Is this what it means to gain perspective, or (gasp!) to become an adult?


Flashbacks?

So today, a couple of things:

On the drive home from work—which was itself unusual, I haven’t driven to work without a specific reason (like after-work plans or errands I need to run midday) in I don’t even know how long—I found myself belting out If That’s What It Takes. Which got me to thinking:

  1. HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE that I know all the words to this song.
  2. Why didn’t I notice what I was singing until the last 30 seconds?

Thank God no one else could hear me in stop-and-go traffic with my windows rolled up, though this kinda shoots that all to hell.

Then for dinner tonight: Fish sticks.

Frozen crunchy goodness.I can’t remember exactly when I last had fish in stick form. I mean, I’ve had fish & chips fairly regularly over the last few years, but that fish is more wedge-shaped or (in many Seattle-area restaurants anyway) random–filet-shaped. There have been other fish entrées in restaurants fairly regularly over the last few years. And I grill fish on a regular basis year-round, mainly because I like to watch the planks burst into flame. But the stick form, they fell out of my life when I was, oh, maybe 12 or 13, and didn’t make another appearance until tonight.

And oh were they good. Crunchy little things, 2 by 1/2 by 1/4 inches. I remember them being much bigger when I was a kid, by which I mean about the same length and width but maybe twice as thick. Also soggier, no matter how long you baked them, but maybe the bigness was cuz I was smaller and now I’m an adult and most things from my childhood seem smaller, like the time I voted at my elementary school and I needed to use a restroom and I thought, good Lord, I’d have to kneel use these urinals.


Bruises I can’t explain, and other bits about last week

Last week was good! Fairly normal work week, random signs of injury I can’t recall, absolutely smashing good weekend!

So then.

I think it must have been... Tuesday? Wednesday, actually, now that I think about it. Anyway, when I noticed on my right forearm a large(ish) bruised area, maybe two inches wide. Hurt a bit when I pressed on it, that first day, but the second day nothing but discoloration.

This is one of those bruises I cannot for the life of me figure out how I got. I don’t recall slamming my arm into furniture or bouncing hard off any walls. Nothing fell on me or hit me within the last 10 days, and I haven’t been in a physical fight in well over a year. The bruise’s shape gives no clue to its origin—there are no faint outlines of baseball stitching or backward sports-equipment logo typography embedded in my arm.

But the highlight of the week was a weekend jaunt to San Francisco with Katharine and Julie Anne to attend a live-album recording show by my favorite singer/songwriter, Vienna Teng, and her frequent collaborator (and producer of her last album, Inland Territory), Alex Wong.

Fantastic time. We had VIP tickets for the Sunday evening early show at The Independent, got us some face time with the musicians while they were doing their sound checks. Also I’ve a newly signed poster I need to get framed at some point. It was a fascinating crowd, too, all ages (21+ only) and just about every type of person you could imagine, all clearly fans of the music and really into the show.

No idea when the album comes out, but I’m hoping to hear my voice among the whoops and hollers from the crowd. Maybe it’ll list where each track was recorded as well so I won’t be one of those fools who says, “That’s me clapping first,” only to be told that song was taken from a recording made in New York, where I’ve never been.

San Francisco was lovely otherwise. We flew in Saturday morning, took BART from SFO to Powell Street Station, checked into our hotel with no fuss (our rooms were available even though check-in time was still 4+ hours away), and were out wandering the city a little after 10:30. Spent the afternoon at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, marveling at the planetarium show and chuckling at the penguins’ antics and bemused by the free-flying butterflies in the rainforest globe. Beautiful building, they pack a lot into a relatively small space, but it isn’t at all claustrophobic—the exhibit spaces are thoughtfully laid out with plenty of room for people to move around, and the exhibits themselves are an engaging mix of old (dioramas, animal enclosures, blocks of descriptive text on wall signs) and new (Surface-style computer-driven information about the California coast and such, an all-digital planetarium with a 75-foot projection dome, a state-of-the-art living roof, the works).

We flew home this morning, allowed an hour for bag check and security screening and barely made it onto the plane for the 09:20 departure—and, as it turned out, only because the TSA agents handling the lengthy security lines were canvassing the crowds for departure times 40 or so minutes away at any given time. The bag-check agent had claimed a 45– to 60-minute wait in security; if we hadn’t jumped the line at the TSA agent’s behest, we would have missed our flight, and we had a bit over 60 minutes from bag-check finish to our entry into the security line.

The flight back to Seattle was packed tight. The Alaska Airlines check-in kiosk had even asked us if we would be willing to accept booking on a later flight (with a travel voucher to be used in the future) because our flight was overbooked, and the crowding aboard clearly indicated it would be a busy travel day all around. I think we ended up among the last half-dozen or so passengers to board, which meant that my laptop bag flew home overhead row 18 while our seats were in rows 23 and 24 (in a 27-row 737-400, oh joy).

We did get to enjoy the log-sawing stylings of the Western Conference Champion snorer. This guy could go pro, probably get taken high in the second or late in the first round. He had snorted himself awake five times before the plane was even off the runway at SFO, and several times during the flight—each time, his rowmates would all flinch with the surprise of it.

Sometime during this flight I also noticed the couple of bruises on my right upper arm, a couple of little quarter-inch dark spots on my biceps.

Seems parts of me were beaten senseless over the last several days and I’ve no memory of it.

Anywho. Back home now, all is good and I have a two-day work week because of the Christmas holiday—we get both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, for some reason I absolutely am not questioning aloud but still wonder about frequently. Bag is unpacked, cats won’t leave me alone, the wind is rattling my balcony door, and the weather forecast calls for rain and chance of snow tonight and tomorrow.

Just as things should be for December in Seattle. :-)

So how was your week?


Must be the holiday season?

Julie Anne in Baking ModeThis morning we stopped at Starbucks for eggnog lattes and at Target for Christmas lights, candles, and a wreath and hanger.

Now back at Julie Anne’s discussing the particulars of her holiday decorating plans before we retrieve the dozen or so Christmas boxes from her storage unit, all while she’s mixing up a batch of home-made bread and Christmas songs waft from the living room.

Definitely that time of year!

Happy holidays :-D  


nice vibe.

People stream around me
Through the steaming streets and flashing lights
We are the blood inside the veins
That pump the city full of life
I get so mesmerized that I forget to breathe sometimes
We move in sync, we spin around
We step in time
Our feet go
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh


iPod random ten

Taking a cue from verbatim, and since I actually have my iPod with me today:

Song — Artist, Album
  1. Truly Madly DeeplySavage Garden, Savage Garden
  2. Salvation Jane — INXS, The Best of INXS
  3. Hold My Hand — Hootie & The Blowfish, Cracked Rear View
  4. Impromptu in A flat major, Op. 90, No. 4 — Franz Schubert, 100 Piano Masterpieces (Disc 1)
  5. Who’ I Kiddin’ But MeOver the Rhine, The Trumpet Child
  6. HomeCarbon Leaf, 5 Alive! (Live) (Disc 1)
  7. We Built This City — Starship, Knee Deep in the Hoopla
  8. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me — Culture Club, Bilboard Top Hits: 1983
  9. Moratorium — Alanis Morrisette, Flavors of Entanglement
  10. a61 — Chooseco, Abominable Snowman

Obviously I need to set my classical music so it doesn’t appear in shuffle mixes.

Also: KILL THE STARSHIP. gah.


My most-heard songs

Saw Jason Kottke’s list of most-played songs, started flipping through the couple hundred comments on that post, and thought, damn, I have several songs played WAY more than nearly anyone on that list. Each one of my five most-played songs has more than 1,500 plays.

My top 10 songs, in fact, are all over 1,200 plays apiece.

Anyway, on Kottke’s post, most of the commenters’ top five songs had play counts in the double digits, a few in the (mostly low) triple digits. One commenter, rebecca by name, has me beaten—her top five songs’ play counts are all more than twice my highest individual count.

Here are my top five most-played.

Song — Artist, Album
  1. Hard Times — Eastmountainsouth, Eastmountainsouth
  2. On Your Way — Eastmountainsouth, Eastmountainsouth
  3. You Dance — Eastmountainsouth, Eastmountainsouth
  4. Drunkard Logic — The Fat Lady Sings, Johnson
  5. Between — Vienna Teng, Waking Hour

All of these songs became part of my iTunes library in its current form on Jun 21, 2004. The play counts started accruing that same day, when I first started paying any attention to play counts and making sure my iTunes library’s data were consistent (correct album names and genres, for example) and I started to update regularly and keep things backed up.

When I like songs, I tend to do three things that cause their play counts to jump rapidly. First, and most obviously, I actually do play them a lot, either singly or as part of their full albums. Second, I rate them higher, either four or five stars in iTunes’ five-star ratings system; and third, I put them into shuffle-based playlists I play a lot. Most of my regularly listened playlists are based on a combination of ratings and play counts, as well, which means the higher-rated and more-often-played songs get played that much more anyway.


Merry Christmas. :-)

Season’s greetings, happy holidays, and all the other salutations of the time.

Quoted below, one of my all-time favorite songs, and it happens to have a Christmas relevance: The Atheist Christmas Carol by Vienna Teng.

Hear the song:

it’s the season of grace coming out of the void
where a man is saved by a voice in the distance
it’s the season of possible miracle cures
where hope is currency and death is not the last unknown
where time begins to fade
and age is welcome home

it’s the season of eyes meeting over the noise
and holding fast with sharp realization
it’s the season of cold making warmth a divine intervention
you are safe here you know now

don’t forget
don’t forget I love
I love
I love you

it’s the season of scars and of wounds in the heart
of feeling the full weight of our burdens
it’s the season of bowing our heads in the wind
and knowing we are not alone in fear
not alone in the dark

Links for 2007-09-18


On Vox: QotD: My Current Top 10

According to Last.fm, though this doesn’t take into account my iPod listenings (I haven’t found a reliable way to ensure iPod play counts are reflected in Last.fm stats):

  1. Providence — The Fat Lady Sings
  2. Here’s Where the Story Ends — The Sundays
  3. What About Everything — Carbon Leaf
  4. Be Still — The Fat Lady Sings
  5. Gravy Train — The Fat Lady Sings
  6. Lonely Stranger — Eric Clapton
  7. The Boxer — Carbon Leaf
  8. Summertime — The Sundays
  9. How You’ve Grown — 10,000 Maniacs
  10. The Atheist Christmas Carol — Vienna Teng
  11. Songbirg — Fleetwood Mac
  12. Arc of a Diver — Steve Winwood
  13. Signe — Eric Clapton
  14. Twist — The Fat Lady Sings
  15. Never Going Back Again — Fleetwood Mac
  16. Arclight — The Fat Lady Sings

Sixteen items in my Top 10 list because of ties. A list in the style of TopFive.com’s Top 10 lists. ;-)

Answering:

What are your top 10 most-played songs currently?

Originally posted on donnunn.vox.com


Depressing music

I like a pretty wide variety of musical styles, but the songs I end up considering my favorites are often slower songs that sound mournful or pensive even if they aren’t strictly so. My family mother has taken, in fact, to calling much of my music collection “dirges” because of this overall mournful sound.

No sharing on this post

Music I’m willing to share is linked directly from this page. No link, nothing sharing.

Don’t email asking for files.
Couple days ago I picked up Vienna Teng’s album Warm Strangers. An outstanding album, but one song, “Passage,” strikes me as the single most depressing song I’ve ever heard.

A haunting first-person a cappella account of the aftermath of a woman’s death in a car crash, the song presents the changes wrought in the lives of her family and friends within the first few days and then after several months and years beyond.

The first verse:

I died in a car crash two days ago
was unrecognizable
when they pulled me from the gears
no one’s fault, no one’s bottle
no one’s teenage pride or throttle
our innocence is all the worse for fears
the other walked away alive
arms wrapped now around his wife

There’s an MP3 clip of the song available there as well, should the lyrics alone prove not depressing enough for you. I heartily recommend you hear it for yourself, because the lyrics alone do it no justice.

You can find the clip from her discography page, which displays Teng’s most recent album by default. Click the link for Warm Strangers to view the song list, and the clip is available by clicking the song’s name on the left side of the page. The structure of Teng’s site prevents direct linking, but I hope too that sending you there will add to her fanbase.

The rest of the lyrics:

Continue reading "Depressing music" »


The Friday Five: 03/12/04

Hmm, an hour ahead of schedule this time.

  1. What was the last song you heard?
    Gravity by Vienna Teng

  2. What were the last two movies you saw?
    Silverado and Down With Love

  3. What were the last three things you purchased?
    A three-pack of Coast soap; a Reach toothbrush; a 12-pack of Diet Coke

  4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?
    Help my friend Sonya move. Help my sister Katharine prepare for her move next weekend. Start organizing/packing for my own move next month. Make moving-truck arrangements for my move.

  5. Who are the last five people you talked to?
    Kat
    Sonya
    Kortland (boss)
    Jeff (coworker)
    Susan (apartment leasing office minion)
fridayfive.org