Archive for November, 2004

Pizza party, the second!

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

What a blast! I invited both and over last night to help me and Karsten finish off the pizza and I made Sunday night. It was a great time. Poor , who’s horribly allergic to cats, took a dose of Alavert and Zyrtec to be around our six felines, and still sounded awful by 10 PM. (Though , if you ever need to voice a spot where you sound like you have a miserable cold — you know, for that whole wintertime sound — I think you should just come over and hang out with our kitties for a few hours.)

and I are more convinced than ever about starting our own pizzeria. We’ve got our crusts (one thin and one thick), we’ve got our sauces (one tomato-y and one spicy), we’ve got a plan (all vegetarian!), and we even have our food critic ()! ;-) We’re all set.

Oh, and can I just say: either one of those two alone is hilarious. Put them together, and I feel like I’m in the middle of a freakin’ comedy sketch. It’s the perfect way to spend an evening.

Oh no!

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

OK, this is really, incredibly stupid, but I’m such a Hall and Oates fanatic that I giggled at it anyway.

Gay Divorce; Hall and Oates Split
San Diego, California (SP) — Rockers Daryl Hall and John Oates have announced they are ‘Gay Divorcing’.

Artist representatives for both sides say they have reached an amicable agreement. Hall, in an interview in US Weekly, said that “Although he cares deeply for John, he would never actually have homosexual relations with him, so it was a decision they reached together”.

In fact, that’s about all that’s worth reading in that piece, so don’t even bother clicking.

Oh, but wait… can I just say how much I love this image? Hee!

Flying Saucer

Saturday, November 27th, 2004

Well, that was fun and unexpected!

After last night’s crustus interruptus, I was all mentally prepared for a quiet evening at home with my notebook and writing some complaint lyrics about disappointment. (Hey, any excuse to write a song.)

Instead, suggested we go out for drinks, so Karsten and I met up with him at Flying Saucer since we’d never been there and were in the mood for some good beer.

And I do mean good beer. Wow. I told the waitress I was in the mood for something dark, and she recommended the Rogue Chocolate Stout. So much yum, I cannot describe. I also had an Austrian Hefeweizen that was really good, but I don’t remember the brand. But the chocolate stout! Wonderful!

And of course it was great conversation. We even discovered a mutual acquaintance in town — it’s a small town, even after only a year and a half — and in between talking about everything else, the three of us talked music pretty much all night.

That hit the spot. Complaint lyrics have nothing on good conversation and good beer.


Saturday, November 27th, 2004

Months ago, a songwriter named Kirsti Manna (whom country fans may know as the writer of the Blake Shelton hit “Austin” as in “…P.S. if this is Austin / I still love you”), when Karsten asked her if she could recommend good pizza in Nashville, preferably Chicago-style pizza, recommended Vinny’s Pizza in Hermitage. Karsten has been begging to go there ever since.

So finally, tonight, we went. 28 minutes there, 28 minutes back. And for what? For cracker pizza. I kid you not. Wafer-thin crust, extra-crispy at the edges and soggy in the middle, with barely any sauce or cheese on it. The veggies were nice, but I could’ve been happy with grilled veggies sans cracker crust, thanks.

After this experience and many others like it in the past year and a half, I can only conclude that Nashvillians don’t understand pizza.

Which is sad, really. I love Nashville for many reasons; I plan to be happy here for a long time. But I must now plan to rely on homemade pizza and trips to Chicago for any chance at decent pizza from a restaurant.

[Incidentally, the one perk that driving to Bumblefuck and back affords is this: during such a long trip, you might get to hear nightfly's voice on the radio, as I did. Which is cool. (I think it was that Opry Mills "shut up and drive" spot again, but I only caught the tail end of it so I'm not sure.) ]

I’m back at home now, sipping hot cocoa, feeling full but disappointed. Oh well. They can’t all be Gino’s East.


Friday, November 26th, 2004

I finally caved in and turned on the heat. It’s 58 F in here, and that’s too cold even with my robe, pajama pants, and thick socks on, and a blanket wrapped around my shoulders. I was trying to be frugal, but I feel like a damn popsicle. So that’s enough of that.

Didn’t do much of anything yesterday except mess around with Quicken and LiveJournal, and run out for a few groceries and some DVDs. We had nachos for lunch and pizza for dinner, and we watched “Elf” while we ate our pizza. (It was cute, but not highly recommended or anything. “Harmless,” as my mother would say.)

I guess I really needed a do-nothing day.

Talked to my parents last night, and they had a pretty low-key Thanksgiving, too, eating dinner at a local restaurant with just my sister, whose two children were with her ex-husband and his family for the day. My brother and his girlfriend were with her brother’s family, and of course, Karsten and I stayed here, so we were all scattered. But we’ll be together for Christmas, which is now less than a month away.

Speaking of that, my shopping is almost complete. How’s yours?

I do still have to bake a bunch of earth-shaped-cookies-on-sticks for my coworkers. (Which means, and , if you’re good, you get cookies!) And I either need to find a globe-cookie cutter — meaning one that will leave an impression of continents on the cookie — or just use a big round one and draw in the continents. I think I’ll ask Karsten to make me a stencil. I mean, never mind that he went to art school; he was once awarded for his fine scissors work in elementary school. That’s the kind of talent I want on this project with me.

Why earth-shaped cookies? ‘Cause the name of the product I work on is Atlas (Atlas 2, to be precise in a way no one but our team cares about), and the earth is a better cookie metaphor for Atlas than a big book would be. I mean, I could try to find an Atlas-with-the-earth-on-his-shoulders cookie cutter, but I doubt anyone’s ever manufactured one. (And to construct a home-made version might be asking a little too much of even Karsten’s creative talent.)

Anyway, that’s not happening for another two weeks. And in the meantime, there’s today to figure out.

I’m certainly not going shopping. I’m all for Buy Nothing Day, but my reasoning is more selfish than that: I hate dealing with insane crowds.

Now that I’ve had my do-nothing day to unwind, I’ll probably try to write as many songs as possible today and this weekend. I’m way behind on NaSoWriMo. Here it is, the 26th day of the month, and I’ve still only finished 8 songs. I’ve started at least 20, but I’m only counting finished songs. Clearly, I won’t make the 30 songs in 30 days goal as I originally planned, but hey, I got 8 finished songs out of this effort already, and that’s way more than I typically finish in a month. I do want to see how close to 30 I can still get. I’m betting 14 at the most, but 15 is probably a good secondary goal.

So yesterday was Do Nothing Day, and today is Buy Nothing Day. What should Saturday and Sunday be? Now that I have the heat on, I suppose Wear Nothing Day is feasible. Eat Nothing Day is out of the question — I’m too big a pig for that, and I’m already eagerly anticipating eating bagels this morning as soon as Karsten wakes up. Type Nothing Day would be annoying, so forget that. Any other ideas?

Lighten up!

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

How very amusing. I was trying to find information on when The Mattoid will be playing anywhere in town next, and I stumbled across this review of the “Hello” CD, which starts with the heading “Definitely Not Lionel Richie” and concludes with a question: is it a joke or isn’t it?

Um… hello?

What must be said about my experiences with The Mattoid is that, like perhaps a fair few Nashvillians, I first heard The Mattoid perform when he was using the name Urban Peasant and he played the open mic at the Bluebird Cafe.

Did you catch that? He was playing the Open Mic. At the Bluebird Cafe. Get it?

The Bluebird! Billed as “the legendary Bluebird Cafe.” Where all kinds of famous country singers have played. Where the biggest songwriters in town play every night.

Karsten and I were practically on our feet for his performance, it was so hilariously absurd and out-of-context. Meanwhile, the folks at the tables near ours were unrepentantly holding their mouths agape. Literally — jaws hanging wide open.

It was great. Performance art at its finest.

We’ve gone to see The Mattoid a few times since then, and he puts on a great show. If you don’t take it too seriously, you might just laugh out loud during the performance. And — hello! — that just might be the point.

Lunch at Baja Fresh

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

The only thing better than lunch with new friends is lunch with new friends at Baja Fresh.

Karsten and I got to meet and have lunch with , and we were both thoroughly charmed. We had a fun, lively conversation with all of us revealing a fair bit of ourselves and with plenty of humor. Jack’s hilarious, very obviously talented… and he even sounds like he’s a radio personality! (Hey, he works in radio and he has a great personality. That oughta count.) I hope to be able to hang out with him regularly, and I gather that Karsten felt the same. Which is rare! The odds of someone appealing to both me and Karsten are pretty low, so Jack’s one exceptional individual.

Single girls in Nashville, this is my recommendation: is actually available and he is a treat. Make the hookup!

Still life with exclamation points

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

Three-day work week! One day down! Two to go!

Looking forward to lunch with tomorrow!

(OK, that’s enough with the bangers. Too… perky. Giving me a headache.)

Think I’ll go see the lovely and talented Wendy Jans at French Quarter tonight (good heavens, that French Quarter site is atrocious). If I’m going, I better get my butt in gear. Gotta eat before I head out.

The “tell me how great I am” anti-meme

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

You know, the thing about that “tell me if you want me to tell you how great you are” meme is that it seems pretty weird asking to be complimented.

Instead, I randomly chose three names from my friends list by clicking in the friends drop-down in Semagic, closing my eyes, and letting the mouse click wherever it wanted. (It took about seven tries to get three names. :-)  ) And I hereby offer voluntary praise of the three randomly chosen friends:

has had some pretty tough times in the past few years, and I think I only know a fraction of it. But when I met her in person last year, she was all smiles, and such a delightful person to be around. I love that about her.

has always struck me as a deeply caring and very compassionate person. Her humor style is such that she’s likely to play that down, but she’s proven over and over again that she’s willing to help her friends in need, and that she feels pain for those who are hurting. I love that about her.

is such a wonderful person to know. When we speak of him, Karsten and I don’t call him “Joe” or “Joe Decker;” it’s always “Happy Joe Decker.” You can’t help but let a little of that warm disposition rub off on you. And I love that about him.

500 greatest songs of all time?

Saturday, November 20th, 2004

Rolling Stone magazine has put out a list of the “500 greatest songs of all time,” although upon closer inspection they mean the 500 greatest rock ‘n’ roll songs of the rock ‘n’ roll era. But no matter: it’s a cool list, made up of votes from 172 “rock stars and leading authorities.”

Their #1 song? Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” Hey, I’m not gonna argue — it’s a fucking fantastic song — but I do wonder if that particular song was subliminally advantaged in this particular race. :-)

But read about the song’s genesis and recording, and you can’t help but see rock ‘n’ roll genius at work. Dylan poured out pages upon pages of raw emotion that he later condensed into the lyrics of “Like a Rolling Stone.” His insistance on how the recording should sound may have seemed startling and controversial to the musicians sitting there in that session with him, but clearly, he had a vision. Whatever he channeled within himself or without, he produced a masterwork.

I love reading material like this. I’ve read every book of interviews with songwriters and musicians that I can get my hands on, and they’re always so very inspiring. What’s particularly interesting to me is how many of them say they don’t know where the song came from; that they must have drawn the inspiration from somewhere outside of them. Many make references to a collective consciousness or some mystic energy source that they feel they tap into now and then (especially through the use of intoxicants, no doubt). And quite a few admit to a tendency to create chaos in their lives because in times of peace, they’re not inspired.

And after reading all this, I sometimes wonder if it takes that level of eccentricity to create works of creative genius. And if it does, I’m grateful for the people who have that talent and the ability to push boundaries. I have no desire to live a jagged, painful existence, even if it means producing the most inventive works of art possible. I’m not saying I’m satisfied with mediocrity, but I’d be thrilled to make as meaningful a contribution to music as I can within the bounds of living a happy, well-balanced, healthy life. And if that’s being a sellout, show me the dotted line and I’ll happily sign it.

What are the most popular interests among my friends?

Sunday, November 14th, 2004

Another fun meme: what are the most popular interests among my friends?

Popular interests among wordygrrl’s friends
1. bisexuality (38) 11. polyamory (23)
2. reading (34) 12. cooking (21)
3. music (30) 13. feminism (20)
4. wombats (28) 14. computers (19)
5. books (28) 15. science fiction (18)
6. cats (27) 16. travel (17)
7. movies (27) 17. chocolate (17)
8. writing (27) 18. wombat (17)
9. sex (25) 19. photography (17)
10. women (23) 20. poetry (16)
Interests gestalt
My most interesting friend is who has 15 of these interests,
followed by (14), (12) and (12).
Normality Index
My friends are 81.02% normal.
Analyze me !
Popular interests created by _imran_

How common are my interests?

Sunday, November 14th, 2004

Wow. As a content classification geek, I find this really cool: (more…)

Didn’t Toby Keith used to be cool?

Saturday, November 13th, 2004

I miss the days when Toby Keith was cool enough to collaborate with Sting. *sigh*

NaSoWriMo, again

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

6 out of 30 songs written! 20% of the way done. Of course, the month is also 37% over, but who’s counting?

CMA Awards show and writing instead

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

I missed the CMA Awards show last night. We were going to go work out and watch the show on the cardio theater TVs, but my knees started hurting and I didn’t feel up to it. Now that I’m reading the press release about it, I’m so bummed to have missed Randy Travis singing “Sunday Morning Coming Down” in a tribute to Kris Kristofferson. That is one of my favorite songs of all time, and Randy Travis has the perfect voice for it.

On the other hand, I’m a little glad I missed “Live Like You Were Dying” winning song of the year. I’m thrilled for Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman, who write incredible songs and truly deserve this kind of recognition, but if I’d seen them winning, I’d have lost it. In this press release, Tim McGraw is quoted as saying backstage, “The song came to me around Thanksgiving. That’s when we sort of learned that Tug [Kate's note: that's his late father] didn’t have a chance. We cut the song three weeks later and it wasn’t sad. It was something special.” I have a hard enough time listening to that song without crying; now it’ll be waterworks every time I hear it.

The real upside to having missed the show is that by staying home I was able to focus on writing, and I wrote not one, but two songs. One of them was kind of a throw-away piece of dreck, but as soon as I finished it I started on the second one and it was much sharper for having sort of “warmed up” on the first one. I read the second one to Karsten when I was done, and he said it had real presence. So yay! That makes five songs total this month, and at least two of them are real possibilities for serious development.

Five down, 25 to go.


Monday, November 8th, 2004

You know that foot bath I bought yesterday at the thrift store? The one that I wasn’t sure worked?

It works.

Mmmm. And it makes a lovely addition to my Sunday evening self-pampering spa rituals. :-)

NaSoWriMo update

Monday, November 8th, 2004

I’ve been a total slacker on songwriting this weekend, but I forgot to mention that on my way home from work on Friday, I came up with an idea for how to finish a song I started months ago. True to my usual auspicious beginnings (which mostly end up sitting around unfinished), I had come up with a great hook and a tentative chorus for it, which, when I showed it to Karsten, got him excited enough about it to write a truly inspired chorus melody. To which I said,

“Oh, shit.”

Nothing seems to freak me out more than having to write lyrics to an existing melody — especially when the melody is so fantastic. ‘Cause then there’s no wiggle room, no way to say, “Well, I can’t think of an eight-syllable way to say ‘I wish I knew the real you like I know the fake you’ in pentameter with an ending anapest, so I’ll just go with that line and he can rewrite the melody to accomodate it.” (What a weird example. I wonder what nether reaches of my subconscious that little gem just came from.)

Anyway, this one was freakin’ me out big time. And Karsten kept dropping hints that if I wanted to work on this song, he was open to discussing anything or helping me talk through how it was going to go, and all that.

Still, no progress for months.

And then Friday, boom! The story flow occurred to me, and as soon as I had that, I knew how to write the song. So I raced home, nodded hello to Karsten, made a beeline for my desk, and wrote the whole thing out.

It’s not Lennon, it’s not Simon, but it’s a start. And it’s good enough to give back to Karsten so he can finish the melody.

3 down, 27 to go.

Just call me Thrift Store Queen! Or Thrift Store Junkie. Whichever.

Saturday, November 6th, 2004

Whee! Today is another 50% off everything sale at Goodwill. We got there at 7 AM and just came home half an hour ago.

For clothes, I focused on this season’s trendy color combinations of rosy pink, black, tan, and gray. I got two work-appropriate cardigans, one light pink and one dark gray; two somewhat casual long cardigans, one black and one gray and black; two casual 3/4-length warm cardigans (hey, my warmth depends heavily on cardigans in the winter): a tan one from J. Crew and a vintage one in light gray; a rosy pink Banana Republic pullover sweater; a pair of stretchy black Old Navy pants; a black and white diagonal stripe sheer blouse from New York & Company, and two slips, one of which is a cute rosy pink color with lace trim — I could almost wear it without a skirt over it. Or at least peeking out from underneath a black skirt. I also found a lightweight sleeveless Prospirit workout top that will be perfect for next summer.

Karsten got a short-sleeve batik print shirt from Indonesia, a black Irish linen shirt from Banana Republic, and several children’s books (he uses the artwork in them for various art projects).

We also found one of those Homedics foot baths that looks to be in good condition (although I haven’t tried it out yet) and a nice digital bathroom scale to replace the non-digital one we had.

The total? $39.70.

I love the smell of bargains in the morning. (Although I can’t say the same about the dressing rooms. Tres whiffy!)

Absurdity du jour: / NaSoWriMo rationalization du jour

Friday, November 5th, 2004

(Side note: Happy birthday, and !)

Absurdity du jour:

I ninja
you ninja
how does the rest of the world ninja?

NaSoWriMo rationalization du jour:
I did finish a song last night. However, it was called “Stupid Song” and was a completely and utterly pointless exercise. BUT! I’m counting it. Because the whole point of this 30 songs in 30 days thing is to get me writing songs, and even writing “Stupid Song” is practice for the real thing. ‘Cause here’s the thing: I was totally joking when I sat down and started typing lines like “this is such a stupid song” or whatever, and I wrote a verse and chorus from start to finish, occasionally rhyming lines spontaneously. By the time I got to the end of the chorus, I thought about turning away and starting something else, since this was obviously just a joke, and then it hit me that, for my particular weakness as a songwriter, finishing “Stupid Song” would be the best kind of practice. No pressure to make it commercial, just the exercise of starting a song at the beginning and writing it through to the end. So I did. I wrote a second verse, rewrote the chorus, improving it as I rewrote it (which is one of my tried and true techniques) and, when it was done, sat back pleased with myself. It may be a “Stupid Song” but I felt very smart for letting myself finish it and include it in the total for this month.

So. That’s 2 down, 28 to go. :-)

Setting expectations

Thursday, November 4th, 2004

Something I forgot to mention yesterday, but which I was thinking a lot about, is this:

We talk a lot at my workplace about setting people’s expectations: setting management’s expectations, setting users’ expectations, etc.

From what I’ve seen, the news media outlets, the election commissions, the government, and what-have-you have all done a miserable job of setting our expections — the people’s expectations — that elections aren’t decided in a day.

Now I realize that’s not as sensational, and it’s not as good for ratings, but really, why can’t there be a new message put forth that 11/2 is just the beginning of the process, and the real answer will be announced on, let’s say 11/14. Hey, I voted early this year, so I can attest that it is possible to vote and then wait patiently  (or not so patiently, but still wait) for over a week for the results.

If no other election reform happened, but we all agreed to give the officials the necessary time to count all the ballots — and hell, maybe even count ‘em a few times — wouldn’t we be better off? Wouldn’t people on all sides feel like their vote was really being taken seriously?

This is what I want. If not in ‘08, then in ‘12. Or maybe we should start with the non-presidential elections, since fewer people take an interest in that anyway. Maybe it would be easier to spread the idea culturally if the active voters were already familiar with the new delay from voting in the local elections.

Go ahead: shoot holes in the idea. I want to know if it’s flawed. Because if it makes sense, I’m going to talk about it with everyone I know, and I do know some people involved in local elections. Maybe I can actually be heard. And wouldn’t that be an interesting experience?

Photos of our fixer-upper!

Thursday, November 4th, 2004

Note that the house is actually under renovation now, but we already know we won’t like a good many of the changes. (For example, they’re installing carpet over the hardwoods. Mind you, the floors aren’t in great shape, but they’ve got character and I despise carpet.) But we found out that the seller had already received an offer like the one we were originally thinking of making: “here’s 6% less than asking; now stop the renovations and step away from the property.” But the seller’s agent said that the seller wanted to continue the work she’d already contracted. Hooookay. So we made a full-priced offer and we’re allowing them to finish the renovations. It’s weird, but hey — at least some of the work is bound to be worthwhile.

Anyway, you can see throughout most of these pictures that the renovation is underway, as there are tools lying around and there’s dust everywhere. And for whatever reason, the seller still has loads of junk piled up throughout the house and out on the back porch and driveway. Part of the agreement is that she has to remove all of it, but it was all still there when I took these photos.


NaSoWriMo update

Thursday, November 4th, 2004

One song down, 29 to go!

On residences and presidentses

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004

Found out this afternoon that the offer we made on a house a week and a half ago was finally accepted, which was very exciting. But almost as soon as I processed that good news, the thought occured to me that I hope that doesn’t turn out to have been the only decision I’m happy about today.


Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004

I find it both amusing and disturbing that nearly ten years of weird Microsoft release numbering has me brainwashed to perceive a “2003″ release as being cutting-edge! advanced! innovative! In late 2004!

NaSoWriMo update

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004

Didn’t finish any songs last night, but I did sketch two new song ideas out and they have draft parts all the way through, which nearly qualifies them as first drafts.

Decided that I’ll count a “finished” song as a lyric that has all parts written and which I can deliver to Karsten for melody work. I’m not requiring myself to have a finished draft melody, since my working melodies usually get abandoned along the way anyway. But if I’ve got a working melody, I’ll record it and deliver it with the lyric.

Printed out a whole bunch of in-progress song ideas I’ve let fall by the wayside over the last year or so. I’m determined to finish at least a few songs this week.