Too Much to Say: Grammy’s 2014

I thought my awards show review days were over. But in the process of making a comment on FB, that became a paragraph…I decided I had something to say after all.

Now, I don’t care about the awards anymore, the results are seemingly random and weird. I only care about the performances. So here we go:

Bey opened the show with Drunk in Love, and it was a great performance – with Jay performing his part (including the non bleeped “eat the cake, Anna Mae” which still creeps me out). Bey was not singing the whole thing, and the spinning stage made it hard for her to always connect with the camera, but it was good.

Next up was Lorde, two good songs in a row, but this performance wasn’t so good. I’ll chalk it up to her age and poor guidance, but it was bad. The lipping was WAY off, and her seizure-like movements were unpleasant to watch.

Hunter Hayes (sp?) sang a song about being bullied? I could barely understand his words, but I got the point that it was supposed to be inspirational. And at least he was singing. The quotes on the screen were a nice touch.

I just have to take a moment to talk about Pharrell’s hat. He wore a RCMP hat that just looked strange. It did remind me of the minions a bit…maybe that’s what he was going for.

Katy Perry was up next, with a dark performance of “Dark Horse”. The song is pretty good, the performance? Spotty at best. Katy’s dancing was full-on terrible, to the point of distraction, but the vocals and the concept were cool.

I recognize that I’m old-ish because of my continuous incredulity at the show, but I’m not so old that I know the songs Robin Thicke and Chicago sang. Keith Urban is the only cute male country artist, and that helped me watch the boring half of his performance. Then Gary Clark, Jr., some guy I’ve never heard of before, joined him and I watched a little more. The energy amped up a little more, and it turned into an ok performance.

John Legend’s personal, minimalist performance with the piano was beautiful – facial expressions and all. His voice is like butter, and I didn’t even have to know the song he sang, because it was beautiful. Classy performance.

Taylor Swift also sang a song I didn’t know. It sounded like all her other slow breakup songs. What struck me was the feathered hair. She looked an awful lot like David Bowie – especially at the end as she stared into the camera. But the dress was beautiful, and the performance was ok. She stayed in her lane and it made sense. I’m surprised that her formula continues to work.

Pink’s performance began in the air, as have her last few. It was visually stunning, if a little familiar, and her tricks are simply amazing. The fact that she sings at all while she is swinging/spinning around is amazing. And that bit she did with the dancer balancing on her is just great. This moved us straight into the duet with FUN. He was slightly off sometimes, but her voice was on point every time. She has really come a long way from her debut.

Not being a Beatles fan, I’m even less a fan of Ringo Starr. But it appeared that Yoko Ono liked it.

Ooooh, Bey’s dress. It’s SO pretty. White lace. But I can’t even describe it.OK, back to the performances:

Kendrick Lamar & Imagine Dragons – this perfomace was better than I thought it would be. I’m into this. It reminds me of the vibe from Jay and Coldplay – did that ever happen? Or did I dream that? One thing I would love? Not to have cameras pan to Taylor Swift not-really-dancing at every awards show. Kendrick and Imagine Dragons have great chemistry, though, and this is so hype. It’s like being at a concert. Everyone was feeling this.

Kasey Musgrave’s song was fun. I’d never heard it, but the lyrics held my attention after the novelty of the light-up boots wore off. I don’t hate the traditional country sound, and it worked well in this song.

Beatles reunion. I don’t know this song. But it’s ok. A little long.

What’s cute, is that when they present pop awards, they show YouTube vids of people who covered the nominated songs. That’s fun.

Now there’s a big country hoedown. Willie Nelson still sounds like himself, Kris Kristofferson doesn’t. Merle Haggard sounds old, and Blake Shelton next to him sounds SO young. The performance was good, not too long, until they started another song. The idea of the song “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” is fun, the actual song is a little tired. Some things hold up better to time than others.

Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder and Pharell, Oh My! Slow start, it seems they have poorly mic’ed Stevie – but it’s a fun song. And Pharell switched his hat for a park ranger hat. What’s the deal with Daft Punk? They just do EDM on computers, right? I don’t think I really understand them. I get the reclusive thing, I just don’t get the way they make music.

Carole King Tribute! I love her! Sara Bareilles is just ok for me. But this performance feels like a fun musical conversation, you can tell they’re both just about the music, and they’re enjoying it. I would probably pee my pants being on the stage with a legend like Carole King.I think they should’ve done another song.

Lang Lang begins his collaboration with Metallica with fanfare, and the visuals are stark blacks and whites, with red laser punches. The song gets a little weighed down by a poorly mic’ed voice, and might actually be better purely instrumental – or maybe better volume on the mic? The melody is more easily heard from the instruments. The piano, OTOH, sounds great! After a bridge, we reach into pure metal territory, and they lose me, as metal usually does. After that, for me, it’s just chaotic to the end.

Steven Tyler just sang Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” and the audience sang along. I love that everyone still knows that song.

Queen Latifah introduces “Same Love” by Macklemore, Mary Lambert, and “Trombone Shorty” and I can’t help thinking about the rumors about her. I can’t imagine living with that kind of personal scrutiny and rumors. I’m not a fan of Macklemore, and I don’t think the lyrics are that great, but it’s his privilege that gives him the platform, so whatever. And, Queen La officiates 33 marriages as Madonna comes out singing “Open Your Heart”. That was bizarrely touching. It was a stunt, don’t get me wrong, but those couples are actually married, now. Wow.

Lang Lang kicked off the tribute to lost musicians. Quite a lot of losses this year. Miranda Lambert and Billy Joe Armstrong sound good together. They tribute the Everly Brothers, and close the segment.

I don’t know how much I missed when my DVR stopped, but now I see Dave Grohl and friends banging around. I’m not quite whelmed. Overall, I enjoyed the show. It seems apparent to the Academy that the awards themselves are losing their relevance among all but the industry, and the fans are mostly just here for the oddball collaborations and over-the-top performances. I’m going to say Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons were the best of the night. Highest energy, best delivery, most perfect pairing. I loved Beyonce’s opening, though, and I would actually watch both again, along with John Legend’s song. Otherwise, the show was hit or miss for me. Oh well, time for bed.

the hook brings you back

Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
Well that’s alright because I like the way it hurts
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
Well that’s alright because I love the way you lie ~ Rihanna (Love the Way You Lie)

does RiRi look like she's been crying?

I heard this song the first time a few weeks ago, and being an appreciator of RiRi’s voice, and susceptible to hooks, in general, I kinda liked it.  I’m a reluctant-at-best Em listener…so I wasn’t an actual fan of the song.  Didn’t hear the whole thing the first time – I suppose I had to get out of the car for some reason.  But the hook was most of what I heard.  Melodic and sultry, the way Rihanna is, what’s not to like?  Most of the time I’m into the music/beat of whatever anyway.  Not that I don’t appreciate great lyrical content – believe me I do.  That’s actually why I’m writing.

Because I think this song is supposed to be marketed as some kind of anthem for survivors of domestic abuse – people who “give as good as they get” in physical altercations in the relationship.

Now I know we said things, did things that we didn’t mean
And we fall back into the same patterns, same routine
But your temper’s just as bad as mine is
You’re the same as me –

The video depicts a couple that fights and makes up fiercely.  In a house that burns on the outside, but seems mostly livable on the inside.  Some folks think it does a good job of demonstrating the dysfunctionality of violent relationships.  Some folks aren’t touching that with a red apple.  Megan Fox is in it, and donated her money from the vid to a women’s shelter for domestic abuse survivors.  That’s nice.

But tonight is the first time I watched the video, and while I’m sure I’m one of the few who hadn’t seen it, I still don’t think the visual overwhelms or undoes these troublesome lines:

Next time? There won’t be no next time
I apologize, even though I know it’s lies
I’m tired of the games, I just want her back. I know I’m a liar
If she ever tries to f****n’ leave again,
I’ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire –
Eminem (Love the Way You Lie)

I just can’t get over those lines.  Having Rihanna sing the hook to this seems in particular poor taste.  I could see the hook in another context, but in this one – no.  NO.  I’m under no illusions – there are relationships like the ones depicted in the video out there.  And the video doesn’t seem to glorify that life too much…  But the lyrics.

The lyrics in the verses are the meat of any song – and these verses only speak from one POV – that of the man, in power.  The lines accuse the woman  of having a similar temper/being the same way.  He begs her to stay, and admits that his promise not to be violent again is a lie.  And then threatens to kill her.

Except, since this is a one-sided tale, we get no indication that she really does give as good as she gets.  In fact, in the video, Ms. Fox does indeed lash out quite a lot – but there’s a point where it looks as though she will be raped by Mr. Monaghan.  There is no point that I remember that looked as though she would rape him.  So it seems that she has quite a good reason to leave.  Excellent even.  Maybe one side of the story and an ending where everyone burns is enough to demonstrate the awfulness of domestic violence.  I would’ve liked someone to be led away in handcuffs and someone to be shown in recovery.  But that’s just me.

Either way, this is not the kind of song I can listen to over and over.  Not something I want to hear on the radio.  And yet somehow, it’s made it to No. 1 on the BillBoard Hot 100.  Am I just officially old now – completely disgusted by lyrics about killing a partner for trying to leave a domestic abuse situation?  Or is this seriously a sucky way to ‘address’ domestic abuse?

cancel Idol already. (life=what happens when you forget to blog)

Lee - unofficial winner

Um.  I haven’t really been watching this season, cuz it’s been so bad.  But um…did Lee just come out there with 8 backup singers?  It’s like they already had a coronation for him tonight.  Wev.  Not that he didn’t do a good job on the song (Hallelujah), but come ON!  It’s Idol.

I know I haven’t been around.  I’m mulling over life issues.

Still thinking about jobs.  But my best friend back home will be moving soon, and otherwise, I know I can’t go home again – the way things are now is not the way things will be.

The car is paid off – so I’m happy about that.  Not so thrilling?  The theft of all my CDs this past wknd.  Almost my entire collection.  Three CD books, containing close to 350 CDs.  Collected since my first CDs I got in 1992.  If I didn’t have the music backed up on my computer I’d be so beside myself I don’t know what I’d do.  I wouldn’t be able to work.

But I’m gonna look at this as a blessing.  The big book was huge, heavy, and bulky.  Three together were taking up too much space in the backseat.  And I never would have gotten rid of them – ever.  Every Mariah, LL, Kanye, Janet, Brian McKnight CD – every cranberries, DMB CD – the Rent, Avenue Q, and Cinderella soundtracks.  And a ton of Christian accompaniment CDs that I can’t help hoping the thief ends up choking on in some small way.  (Mighty Jesus-y of me, isn’t it?  Maybe I’m not all the way over it.)

Anyway, I’ll get enough insurance to get an iPod [a new one, that can hold more than the Mini I have right now].  So I’ll be one of these people who only has electronic music.  It’s still sinking in.

People’s Choice 2010: All Hail the Queen

La held it down for the opening of the show – her dress was awesome and perfect for her.  Great choice for host.

So…these are the best awards in my mind – cuz they give the awards to the people I would vote for.

Talk Show: Ellen

Movie Comedy: The Proposal

R&B Artist: Mariah [wearing a dess she could barely walk in – cuz she probably thought Bey would win, like I did.  Where was Kanye?]  BTW – there were only women nominated for this one – what’s that about?

Looks like walking is a difficult thing to do on this show – Kate Walsh had a rough time going down that slanted walkway.  I can’t really blame her though – those heels are high.

Comedic TV Actor: Steve Carell [I was torn between him and NPH]

Comedic TV Actress: Allyson Hannigan

Here I’ll take a moment to discuss the new Robin Hood movie coming out.  um…really?  Hasn’t this been done ad infinitum?  It doesn’t look like anything new, either.  Supremo boring is what I got from that trailer.  I didn’t see Prince of Thieves and I won’t see this one.

Fave TV Comedy: The Big Bang Theory.  Srsly?  Ok.

But the 20th season of Survivor in 10years, that’s a feat.  I think I might watch this season.

Mary J has been on a lot of shows lately, performing this same song: I Am.  It’s starting to come across as desperate – at least to me.

Country Artist: Carrie Underwood.  This is probably one of the first times that I’m not completely thrilled with her dress.  There were dudes and ladies in this category…so I’m glad she won.

TV Drama Actor: Hugh Laurie.  Boo.  Corrollary – Fave TV Drama: House.  Boo.

Wow.  Clash of the Titans also looks like something I’ll skip.  0/2 on the movies.

Queen La’s white dress is awesome, too.

wish I had pics of her dresses

Know what?  I don’t think G.Lo is funny anymore.  Too many nasty jokes.  And offensive.  But it is telling that the 5 women nominated are all white.  When will we get some serious leading ladies of color?

Fave Movie Actress: Sandra Bullock.  I do like her.  A lot.  So I’m glad.

Fave Action Star:  Hugh ‘Wolverine’ Jackman!  Yeah!  He really is hot.  And an awesome Wolverine.

Loved Queen’s piece with Edward *barf* Cullen.  She is funny and I love her.

Fave indie Film: Inglourious Basterds

Breakout Movie Actor: the requisite Taylor Lautner.  He is a hot boy.  Even if he’s not quite legal.

But I don’t get the Miss People’s Choice.  What is that?

Fave male artist [WTF? Who came up with these categories??? Eminem, Tim McGraw, John Mayer, Keith Urban and Jason Mraz?]:  Keith Urban.  Good for you, fella.

Cobra Starship and Nicole Scherzinger…instead of Ms. Waldorf?  Nicole can probably handle the live performance better, but BlairLeighton Meester is still trying to get her music taken seriously…I wonder what’s up.

Fave Web Celeb?  Er.  Ashton Kutcher?  This should’ve hands down been Andy Samberg.  Even ff this IS a stupid category.

***Random Thought:  Jennifer Garner should totally help end Heroes.  She’s been with him ever since Felicity.****

Fave New – TV Drama: Vampire Diaries.  Eh.  TV Comedy: Glee!  WOOOOOO!  But this is really weird.  What’s with the pizzas?  It’s also very disconcerting to see that one guy standing up.

LL is definitely looking excellent.  He looks like he hasn’t aged since the 80s.  Except that he’s more ripped.  HOT!

Fave Female Artist: Taylor Swift.  Surprise surprise.  She’s wearing a cute dress but it almost looks too big.  And I kinda feel like her eyes are tiny.  But I love her music.  It’s fun!

People’s Choice has really been revamped – with a charity [Children’s Safe Drinking Water] and handing out pizza and a Miss People’s Choice?  It’s all over the place.

I’m kinda surprised Lady GaGa hasn’t been mentioned on this show.

Fave Movie Actor: Johnny Depp.  Also Actor of the Decade.  I so wished Ryan Reynolds would have a chance.  He is SO way hotter.  Sacha Baron Cohen is really hot as his natural self – even if he IS a bit bothersome in character.  Anyways, Johnny.  Great actor, but I basically only like the Pirate movies and Finding Neverland.  I just like what I like.

The show was rushed and disjointed with a few good moments – kinda like this post.  Maybe when it warms up a lil bit my brain will thaw.

the AMAs: kid sister shares time in the spotlight

For Jermaine (who was trying to sing along, but didn’t know the words):

Everywhere I go, every smile I see
I know you are there – smiling back at me
Dancing in moonlight I know you are free
Cuz I can see your star shining down on me

Janet is a star.  And she’s still got it.  I can’t imagine what she’s been through this year, but she brought the best opening sequence I’ve seen at the American Music Awards in a while.

Paula Abdul is up next in a beautiful black dress and looking completely present – is she hosting?  Well, she’s presenting the first award…

Fave Pop/Rock Group: BEP collects their 6th AMA.

Haven’t actually seen Veronica Mars in a minute – but she gets to give Rascal Flatts their best Country group award for the 4th straight year.  And Pete Wentz  kinda creeps me out.  Which is fitting I guess, cuz watching his wife on Melrose Place, she kinda creeps me out, too.

Maybe it’s cuz my life is just barely winding down from the crazy, but I’m feeling particularly snarky.  Daughtry doesn’t usually get any love from me, since I’m not really into the rock bands that all sound the same to me.  ffwd.

Shakira’s performance starts off cool with the steppers, and then her hair’s kinda cool – she kinda looks like she’s going for Mariah’s look.  But I’m trying to figure out if I’m actually hearing her voice or not.  Adam Lambert seems totally into it, which actually ups his stock in my estimation.

Keith Urban is definitely one of the cutest country artists there are – I guess that’s why he doesn’t have to wear a hat.  Kiss A Girl is ok, but..uh…ffwd.

Reba McIntyre is definitely looking better than she did on SNL last night…she introduces Kelly Clarkson – the one, true Idol.  I love Already Gone.  It’s just a great song.  And I love Kelly Clarkson.  So it’s great.

Fave Pop/Rock Female Artist: Taylor Swift – she’s at Wembley Stadium for a show tomorrow night – cool.

A. Rod, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys – New York State of Mind.  I love this song.  I can’t even explain it.  I even get why Lil Mama jumped up on stage at the MTv Awards.  Solange, Taye Diggs, they’re into it – Leona Lewis is barely head bobbin’ – Melissa Etheridge is feeling this more than her.  Whitney’s proving there’s still a little Bobby left in her, and Perez Hilton is surprisingly rhythmic.  This is probably the hypest song of the year.

Alternative Rock Band: Green Day.  Second time they’ve won this one.  Short n sweet thank yous – the way I like ’em.

Ok. Wait.  What?  Kate Hudson is wearing something crazy.  It basically makes her look like a boy.  I just saw way too much of her chest.

You know what?  The Black-Eyed Peas are fun, party music, but I kinda don’t understand them.  Their performances always seem so odd.  I just don’t get it.  They kinda seem like grown up versions of iCarly – cuz of how nonsensical they seem, sometimes.  But I. Love. Boom Boom Boom.  Seth Green seems to like it, too.  That was the craziest mashup I’ve seen in some time – It Takes Two To Make A Thing Go Right and Smells Like Teen Spirit?  Crazy.  But it worked.

Soul/R&B Male:  Michael Jackson.  With Jermaine and his family accepting, because he hadn’t yet been inappropriate enough.  By the way, I actually think Jamie Foxx should’ve won, but I understand why MJ won.  It’s not necessarily undeserved.

Country Male:  Keith Urban.  First AMA – congrats.  ffwd.

Soul/R&B Female: Beyonce.  Couldn’t be there.  Awww.

Ne-Yo does a song from the Princess and the Frog?  YAY!  I love him.  He intros RiRi wearing a modified suit from The Fifth Element.  How can you not love the line – “I’m such a freakin’ lady”?

Carrie Underwood performs and it looks like she’s wearing  a look by Carol Hannah (of Project Runway fame).  I definitely feel like I saw that as the first look on her Bryant Park collection.  She’s the second voted Idol to perform tonight, third alum to sing, and 4th to grace the stage, as Kris Allen presented.  Paula is pleased as punch.

Then Lady Gaga performs and it is…to be expected, I guess.  I don’t know what that strap over her privates is. but it’s weirdly distracting.  Her voice is really good though.  When she plays the piano things are nice, except the camera’s obsession with her crotch being fed by the fact that her legs are spread w-i-d-e open.  I suppose it’s true that without all of her eccentricities she probably wouldn’t be famous at all.

PS – I still don’t like Perez Hilton.

Drake, Kid Cudi, Jeremi, introduce Mary J.  Why did Drake have to say it was his mother’s fave woman in the world?  I guess it’s nice.  But…it definitely spotlights her age.  Though Mary’s looking dang good.  And her voice is SO much better!  Her performances have really improved.

Ahh – so that‘s Colby Callait.  She wasn’t feeling NY State of Mind.  Eh.  And Gloriana wins Breakthrough Artist.

Who is Gloriana?

I thought Keri Hilson shoulda won.  But Country does have very devoted fans.

J. Lo’s singing again?  I like this song.  But I do not like the outfit.  Those shorts are AWFUL!  And then they – they – made it worse!  They put some kind of strange skirt looking thing over it!  Throw on your Louboutins and get thee to a stylist, Jenny-from-the-block!

Samuel L. Jackson presents International Artist of the Year to Whitney.  I wonder what is required to win this.  I’m amazed that the Bodyguard soundtrack is still the number 1 soundtrack – I thought sure it’d be Titanic.  But Whitney has come back and I’m happy.  She looks great.  And she sounds great.  You know that choir is so proud of her.  I think most every Black person in America is proud of Whitney’s comeback – and that she’s no longer with Bobby.  She wasn’t built to break.  You go Whitney.  Ooh – and Bobbi Christina is cute, now?  Everything’s coming up roses for Whitney, now.

Fave Country Female: Taylor Swift.  She’s still up?  How is she gonna be ready for the concert?

Fave Pop/Rock Male: It’s a shame MJ died this year.  For so many reasons.  He’s now won 23 AMAs.  Jermaine’s Muslim?  I thought they were Jehovah’s Witnesses.  It would’ve been nice to see TI spank Em, though.  I dunno if it would’ve happened, but I woulda loved it.  So I’m gonna say that’s how it would’ve gone.

Alicia Keys has brought back all the 90s dances, and that dude dancer she’s got is in-cred-i-ble.   And a lil bit hot.  But unbelievably talented.  She’s wearing some craziness, but then, that’s what she does.  I like this song, too.  Have you ever tried sleeping with a broken heart?

Seth Green intros Em and Fitty.  It’s kinda disgusting to me to see girls singing along with Em, seeing as how he’s so woman-hating in his music.  Not that I don’t kinda like that second song he was doing.

Now Timbaland is kinda cool but also bananas.  I’m glad he’s still hanging with Nelly Furtado – that’s cool.  I dunno who the other girl is.  But the zombie thing is a little bit cool.  With a not-so-subtle Thriller reference it’s cute.

That little Hobbit fellow from FlashForward kinda gives me the creeps.  But I would also be jumping up and down to intro Green Day singing 21 Guns.  I love this song.  And I love how these guys are old and married with kids now, but they’re still great.

Wow.  I had no idea Keri Hilson was that tall!  Or..that Toni Braxton was that short.  They present fave Rap/Hip-Hop Male:  Jay-Z.  So…who would be nominated for the female version of this award?  Is there even a female version?

Ryan Seacrest had time to present?  How many jobs does he have?

Artist of the Year:  Taylor Swift.  She won 5 tonight.  I kinda thought she’d win.

And now Adam Lambert performs.  Isn’t it a lil over the top to grind into a dude’s face?  The lyrics are actually right on – “do you know what I’m about to do?”  I was never really a fan, so excuse me if I think his 15min are up.  I still think he’d be better in a more Freddie Mercury role.  I’m watching the folks by the stage and everyone just looks like they’re staring.  They’re all clapping now, but…he still weirds me out a little.

Oh, and 9 awards were given out earlier, with Jay-Z winning a couple, Michael winning a few, and Taylor winning a few.  But I didn’t see a Rap/Hip-Hop category for the ladies.  Come back Eve – we miss you!






shy moments: a musical phase

Music has been a huge part of my life since before I can even remember.  I was singing for church with my family when I was little more than 2yrs old, and I really don’t even remember that.  But I’m sure that I loved it, because I always have, and still do.  I was raised fairly conservatively Christian, though it’s all relative.  Mostly my parents policed the media that my sister and I consumed, but of course this was all before we had any hint of awareness about it.

So my favorite songs when I was 5 yrs old were from The Sound of Music, or by Michael Jackson, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, and Helen Reddy.  You and Me Against the World got played a LOT in our house.  Most of the music we listened to though was Christian – and it was great, too.  Lots of Sandi Patty, Larnelle Harris, and Steve Green, with some Heritage Singers and The Brothers of Washington, DC (a little known group of guys that my dad went to school with) thrown in.

I didn't actually see the cartoon until much later

I didn't actually see the cartoon until much later

Both of my parents loved classical music as well, so we had records of Peter and the Wolf (the Disney version), and The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, plus a couple Chopin records.   When I was little, Peter and the Wolf was one of my favorites, and I would pull out my Tinker Toys and pretend that I was Peter, making some kind of weapon to fight the wolf.  When I was a little older (about 9), my sister and I would jump around – lightly of course, to keep the record from jumping – and pretend we were ballerinas when listening to Tchaikovsky.  So we were big music appreciators.

My dad was the one who brought new music into the house when I was a kid.  That’s how We are the World, That’s What Friends are For, and Whitney Houston’s debut album all made it into the house.  (My sis and I had also worked out a routine for How Will I Know by the end of 1987).  Every once in a while I learned a song from a friend at school – Always by Atlantic Starr, for example, or the theme from Beverly Hills Cop [which I saw years later].

Since that was the way that we heard new music, my musical world was still pretty small then.  My parents weren’t all that thrilled with MTV and it took us a while to wear them down enough for that to be approved programming.  I finally got a radio in my room when I was 9.  It was old [it was a radio, record player, and an 8-track player all together].  So I tuned it to our local college station that broadcasted NPR and that was what I listened to to go to sleep for the next 2 years.

I was homeschooled in 5th grade, so, basically out of the loop, in terms of pop culture.

In 6th grade, I went to private school again, and we didn’t do a whole lot of talking about music.  I was one of two black people in our class, and the nerdier one by far.  So when I was talking to one of the boys in my class and he said “word up”, I just said, “huh?”  Another guy was right there and was super surprised that I didn’t know what he was talking about  – “you don’t know what ‘word up’ is?”, “you know, like the song?”  And honestly, could you have expected a kid to know what it was without having heard the song or some other slang referral to it?  I didn’t know what they were talking about, and told them that I only listened to classical music.

I was a dork.  But I’m ok with that.

i have always found these girls to be unattractive...guess RP liked 'em

i have always found these girls to be unattractive...guess RP liked 'em

I was still keeping up with Whitney’s music, and by 7th grade I had seen a few more Robert Palmer videos.  So I was behind.  And nerdy by any standards.  But getting better.

Eighth grade brought a complete immersion in Casey’s Top 40, and total abandon in terms of pop music.  It also brought the beginning of the 90s, the musical era in which I was fully aware.  Kicked off with a bang by Mariah and Boyz II Men, the 90s were my time to fully explore whatever I wanted to hear.  I wasn’t all that adventurous really, but I devoured just about every piece of R&B created within that decade, as well as going back and discovering much of what I’d missed in the 80s.  I knew Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, but totally missed Prince.  I knew MJ and Lionel Richie, missed Van Halen – except for that last song Jump.

I’d always had a soundtrack to my life, music that defined and spotlighted moments, but now I was finally current.  I began to shed a bit of my dorkitude.  Never lost it all, though.

And of course, I kinda like Cameo. W-O-R-D  UP.

summer, so far

imagine the inside glowing orangey-red hot - kinda like the sun

imagine the inside glowing orangey-red hot - kinda like the sun

My life has been topsy turvy for quite a while, and I’m starting to feel like I’m on an even keel again now.  Or…getting there.  I think I briefly mentioned the project from hell that lasted close to 2 years and was almost responsible for me quitting/getting fired.  Thank God that’s complete.  It was a nightmare, mostly because of my boss and our really awful communication, but I think most of that is over – now that the method works and the results have been reported.

It seems that I’ve been living on the AA [atomic absorption spectrophotometer] at work for the last two years, and once I finished the project from hell, I started on a rush project with more method development work – some on the AA and some in a muffle furnace.  It turned out I’d need a high-temperature burner and nitrous oxide for the AA work [which translates into super heat and 2 foot(!) flames], and 1000°C in the furnace.  I did what I could, put in some long hours, and pretty much got it done.  We’re looking at some alternate methods for that furnace fiasco, though.

imagine the flame another foot and a half taller and a bit redder

imagine the flame another foot and a half taller and a bit redder

So craziness at work has been contributing to weirdness for a while.  Not to mention random schedule changes from 8 to 10 hour workdays and back again.

But then I’ve had some weirdness going on with some friends, too.  Folks that I’d gotten really close with and now seem like they’re avoiding those of us that had gotten close with them.  I figure it’s something personal that’s going on with them, but it can be frustrating too.

I bought the Mustang – which I love love love to drive.  But I put a little too much on the principal last month, and now I’m strapped til my next paycheck.  I definitely want to pay it off as soon as possible, but I’m not aure how soon that will actually be.  The actual payments aren’t bad at all, but I think I got a little too ambitious last week.  Now it stings, a little.

But I just want to go places in this car.  It’s freaking hot, and I just want to drive it.  I’d actually like to take it some place new, cuz the drive to ATL is kinda boring.

I’m supposed to be reading The Color of Wealth, but I’m being delinquent about it cuz it’s so heavy.  And since I’ve been getting home late a lot, I’ve been watching a lot of random tv.  I just watched “Millionaire Matchmaker” for goodness’ sake.

I did get some shoes that I wanted [Converse All-Stars and some white church shoes], along with a few clothes to make sure I’m ready for my Labor Day vaca.  I cannot wait for a whole. week. off.  At the beach, no less.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out if I want to plan anything else for my dad’s 65th bday next month, or if a BBQ is sufficient.

unraveledMy mind flits from one thing to the next [as does this post] cuz I’m a bit sleep-deprived and I’m getting used to 8-hr days again. But my Fourth was lovely!  I went to the itty-bitty town nearby to see fireworks [since my town couldn’t afford them this year] and had a good time doing that.  Then I stayed up talking with a friend until ~3:30am that night [Sunday morning].  So of course, that threw off my sleep pattern, and last night I stayed up til ~3 reading a book. [And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman, whom I really enjoy as a fun mystery writer.  It was good, but I suggest waiting until the sequel is published – it’s a quick read and when you get to the end, you just have to wait for the next book anyway…]

Oh and I’ve seen two(!) movies in theaters in the last couple months – Star Trek and Up.  And I’m seriously considering going to see The Proposal.  Just cuz it looks funny.  Betty White, Sandra Bullock, and Ryan Reynolds – sounds good to me.  Of course, I’ve been wanting to see the new Maya Rudolph movie Away We Go as soon as I heard about it.  I want to support her in everything, because I LOVE her.  I thought she didn’t get enough sketches to showcase her talent on SNL, but then there are a lot of misses on SNL.

And then of course, Michael died.  And some people don’t understand why it impacted so many of us.  Some folks at work were like – why are people crying?  They said they never had an emotional connection to him or his music.  And it never really occurred to me that that’s what it was for me.  But that’s exactly it.  So on the eve of his funeral, I’m sending encouraging thoughts out to his family and close friends.  Those of us who shared that emotional connection can dig out Dangerous and listen to “Gone Too Soon” one more time.  In the mean time, remember.

the music of my life

Seems like music is everywhere, all the time in my life.  I’ve been singing since I was 2, and there’s always a song in my head.  This has become a wondrous gift in the last 6 months or so, when things at work were so incredibly bad…Songs of encouragement, and strength, and songs that mirrored my pain flew into my mind at turns.  Comforting, reassuring, inspiring me.

Often, though, I sing what I’m doing.  And I don’t realize it until someone else hears me.  This makes for some awkward conversations, sometimes.  My favorite inconsistency about my personal musical soundtrack is the fact that I always sing a song when I get my spoon in the lunchroom at work.  I do not sing one when I only get a fork.  My spoon song is not lyrically intensive – as evidenced here:

Spoon – eh, spoon – eh, spoooon.  Spoon – eh, spoon – eh, Spoon.

But it’s very fun to sing.  I find that the word fork is just not quite so musical.

So, today on CNN I saw this on the crawl: music a ‘mega-vitamin’ for the brain.  And reading the article, I see

[music is] capable of influencing and improving motor function, communication and even cognition.

That’s pretty cool.

I totally know it’s great for memory, because I’ve memorized an awful lot of songs in my life.  From commercials to tv theme songs to pop songs, folk songs, and hymns.  And putting history facts to music [a la SchoolHouse Rock], is how I’ll never forget that women got the right to vote in 1920 – via the 19th amendment to the Constitution.  And, of course, that’s how I learned the Preamble. Continue reading

all about the band

More and more, the AI band is the best part of the show.  Certainly, they’ve shown their talent in weeks [and years] past, but tonight they were killing it.  [So there were a lot more pieces this evening, but you know, still great.]  But here’s my fave Natalie Cole:

[i can understand the feelings, but can’t get down with the somewhat anti-feminist vibe.  but i still love this song like crazy.]

Taylor Hicks back on Idol.  Huh.  I liked him better than that other girl…Kim?  Kerri?  Karen?  But she really would’ve made a better Idol.  He does do good Southern-down-homey music.  But I gotta fast forward.

I love Jamie.  Y’all know this.  Blame it on the…shoot…I don’t drink.  The song is hot, but I kinda hate that there’s so much autotune – he doesn’t need it.  And I guess this isn’t really the right song for the Idol crowd – they’re mostly preteens, and they don’t drink either. [or at least they shouldn’t be]  Maybe this song is going out to Paula.  She’s standing up.   I think I’m gonna have to call him on song choice though.

So it’s down to Matt and Adam – who’s gone?  MATT!  YAY!!!!!!  Matt should’ve gone two weeks ago.  But at least he’s gone now.  Peace.  Oh…and happy 100 days.  woo.

i need a new phone

junotI’ve been trying to vote for the lovely Ju’not and his smooth rendition of Hey There, Delilah on tonight’s Idol [the final 12].  But because I have the Samsung Glyde, I’m handicapped by having to press what seems to be an excessive amount of buttons to redial his number [05 – hint hint].  Or – I could just not know how to use my phone optimally.  That *could* be it…but I don’t think so.  Anyway, I’m hoping some other folks will vote for this guy cuz I loved what he did with the song, even if his performance did get a little buried amongst so many mediocre others.

I’m also feelin Lil Rounds [is this her real name?] and can’t wait to hear her do something a lil [ugh, puns] different.

I’m somewhat reminded of an article I read earlier today discussing the imbalance between American demographic realities and Hollywood’s scripted tv shows (in regards to featuring POCs).  Reality shows tend to feature POCs [in central/starring roles] with a MUCH higher frequency than scripted sitcoms and dramas.  Although it has often seemed to me, at least on network tv, that the POCs are there to serve some quota purposes.  They are there for the initial shows, as it would be to obvious to eliminate them at the first opportunity, but once everybody has acknowledged that the show fulfilled their EEOC obligations, the POCs are on the chopping block.

Take, for example, this season of Survivor, which I’m loving.  Taj is freakin awesome, and I hope she stays til the end.  But the article referenced at Racialicious states that 3 blacks are in the current cast of Survivor.  Not anymore.  It’s just Taj now.  [granted, the article’s from 2/22]  But to make the picture clearer, take a gander at the Bachelor/Bachelorette series.  These shows never actually fit in the group featuring POCs, but they would usually have one or two tokens in the initial competition – fading away fairly quickly.  [I don’t know if this was true for every single season, as there’ve been a bunch of them, and I can’t stand the show.  But I do remember this being a pattern with several seasons.]

Idol’s been one of the shows that has tended closer to an American representation, with fairly diverse top 12’s in the past.  I’ve been ranting about this season sucking the big one – which I ultimately still believe at this point – but I have to say, tonight’s 12 were much more promising than the previous 24.  Excluding Danny – who has a great voice and a great story for melting all the sentimental hearts.

**one moment.  apparently I’ve fallen for a spoof email and need to close my credit card account**

Ok.  So where was I?  Ah.  Uh.  Kinda hard to keep your train of thought when you’re thinking about people unscrupulously using your credit or showing up at your house to harvest your Wii.

Anyway, tonight was better than the previous two weeks shows, and held the last two POCs that may or may not make it into the top 12.  I’m thinking that Lil has a better chance, because her performance was at the end of the show – helping her stand out.  So I’m voting for Ju’not, and hoping.

But this doggone phone…..