Music for the week

Current favorites:

I Cried Like A Silly Boy / DeVotchKa. Heard this song in I Love You, Phillip Morris (good movie, as long as you don’t mind Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor getting it on) and immediately had to download it. DeVotchKa also did music for Little Miss Sunshine, which is an all-time fave.

Never Going Back Again / Fleetwood Mac. Just can’t stop listening! This is one of those songs that makes me want to pick up the guitar and pretend to be a musician. :P

Country Roads / John Denver. This was stuck in my head all last weekend, and I wouldn’t stop singing it as Alex and I drove around Tuolumne County to and from the cabin. Except I could only remember half of the chorus, so I’d always stop at “West Virginiaaaaaaa…”

Leaving on a Jet Plane / Peter, Paul, & Mary. Another John Denver song. I was listening to this on YouTube, and happened to read one of the comments from a Vietnam vet: he said this was the song that was playing as he walked away from his parents at the airport to catch the plane that would take him to Vietnam. After reading that and listening to the song again, I honestly felt like I was going to cry right there in the Google shuttle. So then I made a mix inspired by songs like this, that way I could listen to it all the time and get all emotional that I didn’t get to live through the 60s (story of my life).



While we’re kind of on the topic, did I mention how much I love 8tracks? I love being able to search for a playlist by theme or mood, and that the playlists are put together by actual people, not generated by algorithms.

I think this is somehow related to my obsession with autobiographies: to me it’s less about the actual story/songs; instead, it’s the personal touch that makes an autobiography better than a biography that just spews facts, and a handcrafted mix better than Pandora. I guess I just like hearing first-hand what events and music can shape a person’s life. It’s all story-telling, but through different mediums. :)

A while ago, I made a high school playlist for fun, and realized I could pinpoint exact memories associated with each song (pep band on Friday nights, driving to the movies with drumline friends, getting ready in the morning and watching music videos on VH1). Listeners won’t necessarily know that, but somehow it just makes the experience a little more rewarding when you create a mix like that to share with others. Maybe it’ll bring back memories for them too.

Anyway, long story short – check out 8tracks and let me know if you make an account so I can listen to your mixes. :)

Crossed the deserts bare, man.

Today’s theme: road tripping (why yes, I have just the Pinterest board for that).

After conquering all the cities in Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Jump On It” (except those in Florida…but whatev), I’m moving on to a new one: “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash. I’ve visited a good number of these towns (thanks, drum corps!), but still have a lot to go…new goal?? The ones I’ve been to are bolded:

I was totin’ my pack along the dusty Winnemucca road,
When along came a semi with a high an’ canvas-covered load.
“If you’re goin’ to Winnemucca, Mack, with me you can ride.”
And so I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside.
He asked me if I’d seen a road with so much dust and sand.
And I said, “Listen, I’ve traveled every road in this here land!”
I’ve been everywhere, man.
I’ve been everywhere, man.
Crossed the deserts bare, man.
I’ve breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I’ve had my share, man.
I’ve been everywhere.
I’ve been to:
Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota,
Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota,
Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma,
Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma,
Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo,
Tocapillo, Baranquilla, and Perdilla, I’m a killer.
I’ve been to:
Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana,
Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana,
Monterey, Faraday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa,
Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa,
Tennessee to Tennesse Chicopee, Spirit Lake,
Grand Lake, Devils Lake, Crater Lake, for Pete’s sake.
I’ve been to:
Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika,
Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica,
Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport,
Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport,
Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina,
Pasadena, Catalina, see what I mean-a.
I’ve been to:
Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelbourg, Colorado,
Ellensburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, Eldorado,
Larimore, Admore, Haverstraw, Chatanika,
Chaska, Nebraska, Alaska, Opelika,
Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City,
Sioux City, Cedar City, Dodge City, what a pity.

Yes, it’s a crime that I haven’t been to Catalina and I grew up closer to it than almost everyone. Also, at the end of the year I’ll be able to cross off Costa Rica as well. :) Tropical Christmas FTW!

Things I’m digging

…from the past week:


Previously unpublished photos of Jack Nicholson at home on Mulholland Drive, 1969. These were taken around the time of Five Easy Pieces, one of his lesser known/more underrated films (if you’ve never seen the diner scene, go ahead and brush up on your Nicholsonness by watching it right now).

. I found this website through StumbleUpon, which specifically gave me this mix to listen to. I was instantly hooked. I like how it doesn’t show the list of songs right away, and instead gives you the opportunity to be surprised by what’s next. I started making a couple test mixes (here I am!), but honestly I’m having more fun finding cool mixes by other people than making my own. Definitely worth checking out!


This photo shoot of John Lennon and Paul McCartney (a.k.a. Lennon/McCartney Sexytimes). I’d previously only seen like 4 photos from this session, and now there are DOZENS! I die.

Also, this tumblr

Miscellaneous things you should see

A few random things I’ve come across lately (and also a purge of blog drafts I’ve had sitting around for months):

Man on Wire – this is a documentary about a pretty crazy guy who tightrope-walked between the Twin Towers in the 70s. Most of the documentary is actually about the planning and everything leading up to the stunt, but it’s definitely worth a watch. The weirdest part about the documentary for me, though, was the construction of the towers…so surreal to watch after so much footage of their collapse.

20th Century Fox on… – You’ve heard the 20th Century Fox theme on flute (recorder?), right? Here are a couple more for your listening pleasure: 20th Century Fox on sax and my personal favorite, the trumpet.

Catch Me If You Can was on TV the other night and as I watched it again, I realized how much I love that movie. Midcentury goodness, John William’s awesome score, Leo and Tom Hanks…can’t really go wrong with a combo like that. Also, really awesome/interesting true story about Frank Abagnale.

I’ll leave you with this random yet captivating video of approximately one gazillion bouncy balls in San Francisco. Color explosion!!

Picnik, NaNo, and Gaga

Today has been a day of great discoveries.

Firstly, I finally started uploading apartment pictures to Picasa, and in the process I discovered Picnik, Google’s very own photo editing program. Basically, I was looking for an easy way to get those cool Photoshop effects (vignette, upped contrast, etc.) and Picnik can do it all with just a couple of clicks! It even has a 1960’s effect, which I immediately started abusing at every possible opportunity, haha (see example here). So anyway, that’s how I spent most of my afternoon.

Then – I already forget how I found this…MSNBC? – I came across NaNoWriMo. Apparently November is “National Novel Writing Month”…and for 11 years now, a growing group of people have been participating in the event (how have I never known about this?). The rules are pretty simple: you have 30 days to write a 50,000-word novel. At the end of the month, you upload it to the website, which verifies the word count, and get a “handsome winner’s certificate and web badge”. No first place, no prizes, just the satisfaction of having completed an entire novel in 30 days. It’s pretty much right up my alley. A cool project and method of distraction that – in my current state – just might be possible. On top of that, there’s no real competition, just a lot of people encouraging and helping each other out in order to reach a common goal. These people even get together for weekly “write-ins” in their local libraries, etc. Cool! Anyone care to join in? Who knows if I’ll actually finish (if my “summer” list is any indication), but it’s certainly worth trying. Commence brainstorming……….now!

And finally, to top off the great discoveries of the day: