Archive for July, 2004

biallmeans.org updates

Friday, July 30th, 2004

At long last, I’ve started on an update and redesign for biallmeans.org. I’m not done or anything (not by far!), but I thought I’d give you all a sneak peek.

If anyone wants to suggest any links to add while I’m updating, feel free.

Updated much later to add: I eventually did let that domain lapse. I just didn’t have feel like I had the time it would have taken to make it the resource it could be, so I’d rather let someone else have the domain.

LJ reciprocity

Friday, July 30th, 2004

Isn’t it funny how reciprocity works? I mean, it doesn’t always work, and when it does, it isn’t always funny, but sometimes it does and sometime it is, and to me this is one of those times.

There was a certain someone who was a mutual LJ-friend. Over time, I found that I got nothing out of her posts. In fact, I tended to skip them. I started to think about “unfriending” her, but I know her from elsewhere and I didn’t want to seem rude.

Then one day, I noticed she’d unfriended me. Heh. Guess my journal was equally uninteresting to her. Go figure.

Imagine me writing about a wasp

Friday, July 30th, 2004

Check out this beautiful ichneumon wasp I saw at Cheekwood. Here’s more about the ichneumon (only they call it a fly). I’d never even heard of it, but Nature Boy Karsten knew what it was right away.

Sandra Bullock, redux

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Heh.

I was doing an image search on Sandra Bullock after a discussion Karsten and I had yesterday about the supposed similar overall appearance we share. (I think it’s an overstatement. I only see it very subtly and very rarely.) Anyway, I found this. (Edit: I should add that it depicts her in a T-shirt with a profanity on it, in case your workplace has strict policies.) I love it. Want that T-shirt. :-)

[And I will say that out of all of the images I looked through, I can see some similarity between us in this one and this one, if I could have my hair and makeup done by the same professionals. :-) ]

“What I read on my summer vacation” by Kate O’

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Finished reading Nick Hornby’s How To Be Good last night. I haven’t read anything else by Hornby, but I enjoyed both the film adaptations of About A Boy and High Fidelity, and in the commentary for the latter, the Weitz brothers talked about how easy it was to make that film because of the great writing in the book.

So I thought I’d start with one I haven’t seen on film yet, and that was probably a good idea: no comparisons to make about how the story develops, the characters arc, or why the adaptation did this or that. Purely on its own merits, I think How To Be Good is a very well-written book, if a bit challenging in spite of its pervasive humor. Challenging in the sense that it’s like reading distilled anxiety on every page. (And hey : the narrator is, in a sense, unreliable. She’s flawed, for sure, and her flaws render the retelling of events that could be depicted in a very charitable, almost saintly way instead as very nearly malicious. Fascinating stuff, that.)

Overall, I recommend it. Just don’t read it when you’re on vacation. ;-)

"What I read on my summer vacation" by Kate O'

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Finished reading Nick Hornby’s How To Be Good last night. I haven’t read anything else by Hornby, but I enjoyed both the film adaptations of About A Boy and High Fidelity, and in the commentary for the latter, the Weitz brothers talked about how easy it was to make that film because of the great writing in the book.

So I thought I’d start with one I haven’t seen on film yet, and that was probably a good idea: no comparisons to make about how the story develops, the characters arc, or why the adaptation did this or that. Purely on its own merits, I think How To Be Good is a very well-written book, if a bit challenging in spite of its pervasive humor. Challenging in the sense that it’s like reading distilled anxiety on every page. (And hey minnaleigh: the narrator is, in a sense, unreliable. She’s flawed, for sure, and her flaws render the retelling of events that could be depicted in a very charitable, almost saintly way instead as very nearly malicious. Fascinating stuff, that.)

Overall, I recommend it. Just don’t read it when you’re on vacation. ;-)

Vacation, day #6

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

We received word from our apartment property manager yesterday that they were doing some work this morning requiring us to move our car from the lot by 8:00 AM, so it seemed like a good morning to go out for breakfast. Headed over to Murphy’s Loft Cafe (formerly the Red Rooster Cafe) for day-old muffins (only $1!) and coffee & juice. We enjoyed the opportunity to sit outside and leisurely sip our drinks.

Then, since all clothing at Salvation Army is 50% off on Wednesdays, it was time to do a little thrift shopping. Didn’t really find anything, which is just as well since I just bought a zillion new-to-me articles of clothing a few weeks ago.

Alright, now this is kind of embarassing. I had a coupon from the back of a Kroger receipt for a week free at Curves, which is right down the street. I thought, hey that’s convenient — I won’t have to go the office and I can still work out. I didn’t know. I swear I didn’t know! I thought it was a gym. It’s not a gym. It’s some kind of demented 30-second rotation half-hour fitness program and weigh-you-in and take-your-measurements thing. I listened politely to the woman give me the tour of the place but as soon as she said “Alright, let’s take your measurements!” I said “I don’t think I need to waste any more of your time. I don’t think this is right for me. I thought it was a gym. I was looking for treadmills. Cardio equipment. Things like that.” And she said, “Yeah, I can look at you and see you don’t need to lose weight, but I didn’t want to say anything.” She didn’t want to say anything? Until what? Until I actually did lose weight? That place is weird. Weird weird weird.

So anyway, I left, but I was all psyched up for a workout, and now I had to decide if it was worth it to me to go to the office and risk feeling stress on my vacation just to work out. And then it dawned on me that I could run in Centennial Park instead! But I was nervous about that because I haven’t run on pavement since my injury. And then I remembered that I had my rollerblades in the trunk. So I got good and warmed up by rollerblading five laps on the mile loop and then felt comfortable running two laps.

Got back home, showered, dressed, and went out with Karsten to Kalamata’s. I ordered their baba ghannouj for the first time, and it was wonderful. Nice and smoky, just the way I like it.

Went furniture-browsing (”furniture-ogling” is more like it) at Nouveau Classics and 2 Danes. Must get rich so I can afford cool mid-century modern and contemporary Scandinavian furniture in my home. Someday.

Dinner at Tayst. Yum! We started with the Chickpea Cake, which was served in some kind of delicious sauce. I can’t remember how it was described on the menu and I know I can’t do it justice, but it was unbelievably good. Followed that with the Bibb Salad with (I think it was) fennel-infused walnut oil vinaigrette. For the entree, we split a very elegant baked potato with vegetable spears marinated in a ginger sauce and served in a half-red, half-yellow pool of gazpacho and ginger sauce. I finished with a scoop of raspberry-black licorice sorbet, which was just about the best thing I’ve ever tasted. It was spectacular, although Karsten says it was a bit dada for his preference. Still, he had to admit that the service was outstanding and even if the menu was a bit pretentious, the service certainly was not.

After dinner, we decided to swing by the Commodore Bar & Grill, which is one of the writers’ nights venues that became popular after several of the other ones mysteriously shut down last year within several weeks of each other. Anyway, after all this time, we’d still not checked it out. We ran into a friend who was playing a feature set tonight, so that was a nice surprise.

And then it was back home. And now I’m getting sleepy. It’s been a good, long day.

Idle survey

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

What’s your favorite before-dinner drink, alcoholic or otherwise?

What’s your favorite with-dinner drink, alcoholic or otherwise?

What’s your favorite after-dinner drink, alcoholic or otherwise?

Out & About: Rob Wolf

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

K&K out at Commodore Lounge to see Rob Wolf play. That guy is a fantastic performer! If you ever have the chance to see and hear him, don’t miss it.

Vacation, day #5

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Cheekwood rocks the house. Can’t believe we’ve lived here this long and yesterday was our first visit. I knew it would be nice, but that’s as far as my expectations went: “nice.” In fact, it was spectacular. Beautiful. Tranquil. Loved the sculpture trail. Loved the Japanese garden.

So we bought a “Family” membership, which means we now get in free as often as we want, and we can bring two guests with us. And we plan to go back frequently. Yay!

Lunch was at Baja Burrito (as was dinner, thanks to the magic of huge burritos and reheated leftovers). We gave up on trying places we’d never been before: they were all turning out to be so disappointing!

And I mostly finished my CD ripping project. I have a small stack remaining, and they should be finished by the end of today. Feels great to finish a household project finally. I’ve had so many of these kinds of things in limbo for, well, for years, really. Should have done this vacation at home thing a long time ago. Maybe not a whole week, maybe that amount of time is too much. But a few days and a weekend, that should do it. I’ll have to plan for that again in maybe a year or so.

217

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Happy birthday, !

Uh oh.

Monday, July 26th, 2004

I miscalculated. Last week, I anticipated that I’d be eager to do really long workouts this week, and Karsten and I planned that he’d skip his daily run for the week as his vacation and I’d do super-long workouts each day as mine.

There’s just one problem: the gym is at the office.

Now, I knew this, of course. But I still figured it would be no problem. After all, the gym is in a different building from the one where I work, and if I went there a little later than my usual time (no reason to start my workout at 6 AM when I’m on vacation) I probably wouldn’t even run into the usual crowd, and so no one but the security guys at the front desk would need to be the wiser.

But I woke up this morning — well, more to the point, I slept in until 7:30 and then woke up this morning — with no desire to follow the same patterns I do every weekday morning. I feel like working out, but I want to do it here. Or outdoors, nearby. Work’s not far away at all, but it’s the fact that I’d be driving the same route that I do every day… you know. It’s tedious.

So I dunno. I’ll do my usual stretching/yoga/dance thing that I do throughout the day every day, and maybe I’ll do a concentrated dance workout or something. But for today, at least, I’m not going to the gym.

I’m sure I seem to be making a big deal out of nothing, but it’s incredibly, stupidly difficult for me to find ways to relax. I thought the extra-long workout would be relaxing, but it seems that it’s more relaxing to not have to drive to the office. At least for today. There’s always the rest of the week.

Vacation, day #3

Monday, July 26th, 2004

Yesterday was another peaceful morning of organizing MP3s and writing songs. Finished a draft in the morning — that felt good. Organized my office and closet somewhat.

Then it was off to a god-awful lunch at U.S. Border Cantina, a party-hearty Mexican place apparently popular with Vandy frat boys who drink too many margaritas on Sunday afternoons to leave peacefully. Ugh. Never going back there again.

A little grocery shopping at Wild Oats, and then home again. I was determined that it would be a restful day, in spite of the efforts of Vandy frat boys.

We ate pasta for dinner and watched America’s Sweethearts, which is one of the DVDs we bought for cheap at The Great Escape. It was better than I remembered. The ending was a little smarmy, but I laughed out loud several times prior to that.

I’ve been using some of this vacation time to rip the rest of my CD collection so I can sell it and be done with it. I’ve made a lot of progress, but I have probably over 100 to go.

Sometimes I really doubt my ability to do anything

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

I’ve been skimming through “Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal: The Art of Transforming a Life into Stories” (what kind of book, I ask you, has two subtitles?). I think I don’t use this forum enough to be honest with myself.

Today, for instance, I had plenty of self-doubt about whether I really have what it takes to be a songwriter. Why is it I so rarely seem to be able to finish anything? I’m much better at starting out ideas, even getting them written in part, but following them through or coming back to them to finish them is something I would rather not do. Actually, I want to do it intellectually. But whatever force drives motivation, whatever means the difference between saying “I should do something” and doing it, that’s what I think I lack.

I have a lot of lofty goals. My aspirations have always been large and have been the main motivator for me — I don’t really have the work ethic some folks think I do. I want money, I want comfort, I want recognition.

Vacation, day #2

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

I’m counting yesterday as the start of my vacation ’cause that makes it seem longer.

Spent a lazy morning organizing my MP3s. I deleted a bunch I never listen to and swapped in some new workout music onto my Clie.

Went out for lunch at Cafe Coco. Disappointing. Greasy. Pricey. Small portions. (I only ever eat small portions, but I like to take home leftovers.) But we sat outside and that was nice.

Next stop: The Great Escape outlet and the main store. Finally found The Thorns CD and for only $3.99! Also picked up some super-cheap DVDs and a book on how various songwriters got inspired to write certain songs. I love books like that.

Quick trip to the zoo for Ice Day! Many of the animals got frozen treats appropriate to their diet, such as bloodsicles for tigers and fishsicles for otters. (The otter looked as eager for the treat as Karsten was to see the otter eat it.) Karsten’s favorite animals there are the meerkats and mine are the clouded leopards — and neither of them seemed to have been given any icy treats that we could see, so that was kind of a bummer.

Picked up our holds at the library, some goodies at Kroger, and then swung by Big Lots for some English muffins. Karsten noticed that they had the Kellogg’s Strawberry Mini-Wheats with the AAdvantage miles again, so we bought all 25 boxes of them. I felt like Adam Sandler’s character in Punch-Drunk Love buying all the yogurts or whatever… but it really makes a lot of sense when you break down the cost per mile. And you’re getting all that tasty cereal, to boot!

Cooked up some homemade pizza for dinner and watched “Nicholas Nickleby,” which was OK, but not fantastic.

And now I’m posting this update while munching on Strawberry Mini-Wheats. I have enough of them to eat them all the time. :-)

Great song

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

I have to say, “Where Is The Love” is still absolutely one of the best songs I’ve heard in years.

Also, that woman in Black Eyed Peas is incredibly hot.

Vacation evening #1

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

Last night we kicked off our Nashvegas vacation by hanging out on the Demonbreun strip. For non-Nashvillians, this strip (pronounced something like “duh-MUN-bree-un” or “deh-MON-bree-un” — no two native Nashvillians pronounce it the same way) is what used to be a line of so-tacky-they’re-funny gift and souvenir shops. Now they’re so-trendy-they’re-not-even-cool bars and restaurants. Like Christopher Pizza Company, where we ate dinner, and Caffeine, where we had coffee and juice afterward. It’s great people-watching, though — some of the best this town has to offer. And last night, Gary Allan was scheduled to play at an outdoor concert series for one of the bars, so the strip was mad packed.

We got bored with it eventually and couldn’t think of anywhere else we were dying to go, so we went home and watched our DVD rental: “Along Came Polly,” which was OK, but it was very obvious that it was the same screenwriter who did “Zoolander” and “Meet the Parents” — he rehashed a good many gags. Jennifer Aniston was great, though. She made a role that could have been a little hard to get across — someone flakey and commitment-phobic — seem endearing and credible.

Oh, and I gave myself a mud mask facial last night, too. That was nice. Except Karsten made fun of my mint-green face. Bastard. ;-)

Not sure what’s on for today yet.

Lessons in great songwriting

Saturday, July 24th, 2004
“Everybody always laughs at love
but what they want is to be proven wrong”
- Allen/Hall/Oates, “Did It in a Minute”

It isn’t just that this is a great lyric (though I certainly think it is). It’s the way they wrote the prechorus/build melody to go with it: drawn-out, punctuated, really driving home the meaning by making the listener wait for it. That must have been one hell of a cowriting session. I would love to have been a fly on the wall.

It’s tougher, in some ways, to write lyrics in a void. Sure, I always have a working melody while I’m writing lyrics, but it rarely ends up being anything like the melody we end up using for the song (thank goodness). Something like the Hall & Oates example above would be nearly impossible to achieve in the kind of writing arrangement we primarily use.

But there are advantages to our arrangement, of course: I’m unconstrained by any existing melody as I write the lyrics, which leaves me limitless room to move and turn around, change my mind, scrap whole sections, and invent new structures. Of course, when I do the latter, as I recently did, I make it very challenging for Karsten. But hey, that’s what he’s good at, so I’m comfortable leaving that to him.

And we do the real-time co-writing thing every once in a while. Enough to remind us that it’s not the way we prefer to work. I think we learn a lot from each other and from the experience whenever we do, and I hope we never stop doing it, but I never plan for it to be more than an occasional change of pace.

So perhaps the greatness of the above example of collaboration will forever elude us. Or maybe we’ll find our own ways to attain greatness. Maybe we’re already finding them, and they just need enough repetition to produce quality results. To paraphrase the line, everybody always laughs at Hall & Oates, but what they forget is the 6 #1 singles, more than a dozen top 40 singles, and 19 gold and platinum albums. I’d like to be that laughable.

A day and a half to go. But who’s counting?

Thursday, July 22nd, 2004

Mentally, I’m already on vacation.

Working out in recovery

Thursday, July 22nd, 2004

Tough workout this morning. After 2 miles on the treadmill, I had to hop off, stretch, and do some other exercises like squats and Roman chair bends. Then I got back on the treadmill for another 2 miles, but it was really rough going the whole time.

I guess it’s understandable, though. Yesterday I did my fastest run since my injury, so my muscles may still be trying to recover. It was still not fast, mind, but I kept a steady 10 min/mile pace, which is significant improvement from my 12 min/miles two weeks ago. I’ll try to keep up the 10:00 pace for a little while longer before I start shooting for under 10 min/mile over a longish run. It’s tough to be patient about this because before my injury, I was working my way into the 7 min/mile range. I expect it’ll be months before I regain that kind of speed. But at this point I’m more concerned about regaining my mileage than my speed, and that’s steadily improving.

You Are So Nashville If…

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

[seasons got to it first, but I intended all day to post some of my favorites. :-) ]

You are so Nashville if…

You need a war to sell records. (This year’s winner!)

You intentionally drive drunk in hopes of promoting your new album.

You feel vaguely snubbed by the cicadas.

You drive to a park (Percy Warner) to walk on a street (Belle Meade Boulevard).

You blame all your failures on either Clear Channel or illegal downloading.

You survived Fan Fair — or whatever it’s called now.

You slip your demo tape into the bags of trick-or-treaters.

You haven’t been here long enough to really know what being “so Nashville” is.

John Ashcroft asks you to drape your roundabout.

You grab your guitar (with dollar signs in your eyes) and write a song after each national tragedy.

You know which kind of Girl Scout Cookie Brooks and Dunn prefer.

You’ve driven down Music Row listening to a CD full of illegally downloaded songs.

You can’t check out a library book on Fridays.

You’ve been in a traffic jam in the Baja Burrito parking lot.

Upon seeing the success of Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman,” you just know Keith Urban will follow with his own “Redneck Metrosexual.”

You’re a producer, a manager, and a publisher — and still eat Ramen noodles nightly.

Lyrics on Demand

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Last weekend, at a houseboat party thrown by my employment agency, I met a guy who works here in a department called “Collaborative Services” which basically means he works with servers. (Don’tcha just love corporate department naming?)

Anyway, he emailed me this morning, and I emailed him back trying to figure out who he was:

Are you the one who’s been here for three weeks?

His response:

Yes, Are you rubbing it in or searching for lyrics ?

My very silly response:

Either or.

I Live To Service Servers (The Collaborative Song)

(verse 1)
It’s been a long three weeks
Since I started at this job
And every day I’m more inclined
To run off and join the mob

(verse 2)
But somehow I stick with it
And maintain these machines
‘Cause we’re collaborative services
And we all know what that means

(chorus)
I live to service servers
I serve them very well
But if you’re not Amir
And you tell me what to do
Well, you can go to Hell
‘Cause I live to service servers
Yeah, that’s what I do
And you may hate the word collaborate
But then we don’t think much of you

and so on.

How funny is this.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

posted a link to a story about wild times in the Olympic village.

It quotes my ex-boyfriend.

It's “a two-week-long private party for thousands of hard-bodies,” says Nelson Diebel, an American swimmer who won gold twice in Barcelona.

What's on your PDA?

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

soaring_phoenix wrote about PIMs. I replied:

I love love love my Clie NZ-90. I’ve previously owned a Palm VIIx and a PalmPilot Pro. I’m a diehard Palm OS user. It would take a lot to convince me to go with anything else.

I’ll admit I’ve had a major challenge to overcome with PIM software because up until a few months ago, I was living and dying by ACT! at home and Outlook at work, wanting to keep my songwriting biz and my day job separate, not to mention take advantage of the great functionality ACT! offers for tracking leads and opportunities. The synchronization between two very different desktop PIMs was daunting at best. I tried the Palm ACT! client, but I found it too limiting (and didn’t really like having ACT! data live in a separate database from the original Address and Date Book app). Since then, I’ve basically abandoned ACT! and now use Outlook for everything at work and just use Palm Desktop at home more or less as a backup. I’m still not thrilled with the arrangement, but it’s getting easier to live with.

Anyway, here are the productivity apps I use most on my Clie:

Date Book and To Do List. Both original, sync’ed through Intellisync with Outlook at work and Palm Desktop at home.
CLIE Memo. Came with the Clie. Not as good, in my opinion, as BugMe! but the latter costs $20 and I’m getting by with the free one for now.
PocketQuicken. Absolutely indispensable. I love Quicken. See previous post. :-)
TealDoc. Handy for editing text files directly on the Memory Stick, but I’ve found occasional file corruption as a result. Very disappointing.
Address. The original. Not thrilled with it compared to what I used to be able to store in ACT!, but it is what it is, and it’s fine for a lightweight address book.
AvantGo. Such a cool app. I’ve been using it for years, and I’m still impressed with it.

Gift idea?

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

[Note: This is hidden from Karsten, for reasons that will become obvious in about ten words.]

I'm thinking this would make an excellent gift for Karsten. Not sure whether it should be birthday, anniversary, or Christmas, and anyway it's way more money than I'd budgeted for any of those occasions. But he commented last week that he'd like to listen to music while he runs, too, like I do. He meant that he'd like to buy something like this down the road when we have a bit of surplus money, but I feel bad that I have this nice Clie and he doesn't have any portable way of listening to music.

Budgets are certainly important, but splurging on something that will bring joy can be important, too.

Still, I haven't decided.