Five Things Friday: January 31, 2014

It is 2014. A whole month has gone by and almost the only thing I’ve done all month is wallow and stress. I’m failing at 2014.

1. I have an eye twitch right now. It’s really annoying. It’s almost always my left eye. Anyone have thoughts about this? I think it’s interesting that it’s usually the same eye, and it’s always just one of them. It happens at the most random time, too.

2. I forgot momentarily that the breakfast sandwich I got has bacon on it, so I was like, hey, surprise bacon! (The otom from Cafenation. I resisted the urge to get a red chili tea latte, because I should really wait until after I have my paycheck to buy more lattes…)

3. I just watched the most recent video release from Within Temptation’s new album. The song. I don’t like it. It sounds more like Nickelback-style pop-rock than their usual sound, which is at least close to metal–I know some metalheads argue that they aren’t metal, but, they are. It’s disappointing and makes me sad. Listen, I know they aren’t musical or lyrical geniuses or doing influential new stuff,  but I’ve mostly loved their sound in the past and so when they make a song I really don’t like, it’s sad. Everything else I’ve heard from this album so far seems much better than this one song, but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll just go back to listening to The Heart of Everything again…

4. I really need my money, so I can buy groceries, so I can eat real meals again. Nevermind about the bills and stuff, I just want to afford food that I’ll actually eat. Surprisingly enough, I am not really a fan of peanut butter and jelly or tuna sandwiches, and in the morning I really need things I can just grab easily and take to work with me, because who has time to eat before they get to work? Not me.

5. My habits and/or actions in the last… &$%^ years (unknown) suggest to me that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a writer after all. I have so many ideas and I am good at writing, but I have no motivation anymore, I never actually write. Plus, I don’t think I have the stamina for all the rejections writers supposedly get.

I’m awash in a sea of personal crises.

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Five Things Friday: December 20, 2013

Things I’ve lost in the last month:

1. Any real motivation to write. It’s still what I want to do all day, if I could, and I have lots of ideas and stuff, but during any free time I have I really, really don’t want to.

2. An unfortunate amount of the Christmas spirit that started showing up in November. Even before Thanksgiving this year, I was feeling excited about Christmas and even listened to Christmas music a little bit. I’m not sure what happened exactly. Got too stressed out? Mood ruined by the fact that buses all lose their damn minds when there’s weather? Either way… bah humbug.

I’m still listening to Christmas music and wearing lots of sparkly things and red things (pretty much like always…) in an attempt to feel more Christmas-y. It probably doesn’t help that I don’t go anywhere that actually has Christmas decorations.

3. Healthy habits. I have only wanted to eat things that are smothered in cheese lately. Sandwiches with cheese, pizza, mac and cheese, cheeseburgers… etc. It doesn’t help that all the vegetables I really like have become ridiculously expensive lately (although that’s my fault, because I go to Whole Foods a lot. It’s not my fault it’s the only grocery store that I actually pass on the way home from work.) I also haven’t been working out as much. Why? Because I’m lazy, or some other reason that I don’t really feel like explaining. So let’s just go with lazy.

4. One of my gloves. But then I found it.

5. My ability to sing. Granted, I don’t know how long it’s been gone because I don’t really sing anymore. But I tried to sing some Christmas carols last week, and I sounded like–well, someone who can’t sing. Basically. This is the result of ten years of voice lessons, then four years without them.

Five Things Friday: November 8, 2013

(I’m late! Oooo, I’m telling on you…) For personal reasons, this date is usually a day for memory. So this week, here are some thoughts from (or rather, about) my youth.

1) I regret being into pop music as a kid. I don’t hold myself fully responsible for my taste back then–the music you like, until you know better, is largely based on what you’re used to, and the influences of peers and radio were not easy to shake off then. Pop music is catchy, designed to please your brain in a certain way without paying any attention to whether the music is good. I admit I’ve always been a sucker for a more-or-less pleasant melody I can sing along to… but of course, that’s oversimplifying it. That’s not to say that ALL pop music is bad. Some of it I do enjoy now. I’m totally in love with Marina and the Diamonds, whom I only discovered recently. And sometimes I don’t even know how to categorize the music I listen to. “That’s pop? No, that can’t be pop, it’s good.” That’s usually how my brain works.

What it comes down to, though, is this: while I’ve always been good at singing and I found very basic music theory easy to understand, it took me a long time to actually be good at music–that is, to really hear it and be able to recognize whether a song is in fact good, or just catchy. Although I was one among many, I find it embarrassing that I spend my early years listening to boy bands and Britney Spears, instead of actually becoming familiar with Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Garbage, and Jeff Buckley.  And Brahms. Brahms is awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1trE3ms3AGo.

2) Once, someone shared a secret with me and only a few minutes later I ended up telling the person it was about. I have no idea why I did that. But it’s just one of many, many times I’ve said something I shouldn’t have. I’m much better about that now, having learned that you can’t just tell anything to anyone at any time.

I have not gotten over saying stupid things, though. I do it frequently. And I often look back at things I’ve said and feel uncomfortable with how stupid it was.

3) I know a lot of people grow up and still like fast food, and continue to eat McDonald’s. I have slightly higher standards for my fast food now. I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s for at least three years now. But I remember how much I used to love it. My senior year of high school, or maybe my junior year, I spent so much of my time driving down the street and getting an order of chicken selects for dinner. I LOVED those things–I was never into the chicken nuggets so much, and at this point I probably couldn’t eat them without getting queasy, but the chicken selects were whole, white meat. That was my lifeblood. I still love chicken, but no longer go to McDonald’s.

4) I think I actually had a better attention span when I was a kid than I do now. That seems strange, doesn’t it? If I really try, I can focus on things, but most of the time I get too distracted, and I can’t really just do one thing. I find this frustrating and perhaps that’s why I’ve had a strange nostalgia for my teenage years lately–I knew what was happening, I didn’t have to pay bills, and I could actually sit down and read a damn book.

5) In the house we lived in when I was very little (the one that burned down shortly after I turned 8), my enormous bedroom had a walk-in closet. My brother’s room has this little secret room, a door that opened outward or upward or something, into a little private cave. I was jealous of this nook even though I had a nice big closet that was, at times, my cave. I can’t remember what was kept in this little secret room. Was there a chair? Were there pillows? Books? Stuffed animals? Was there a light? I don’t know. However, I do know one thing… I kind of wish I had one of those now.

Another Life #32

A few months ago, I started writing a song. A few lines came to me, melody and lyrics, and I wrote them down, hoping someday I could write a full song that I wouldn’t be embarrassed by a few years later.

That dream belongs in a different life, one where I actually learned to play an instrument instead of making a half-hearted attempt at guitar and piano before abandoning them (entirely by accident, but clearly a choice was made). I can still sometimes hear accompaniments in my head that I’ve come up with, but I have no way to bring them to the world where anyone but me can hear them, because I can’t play any instruments.

I kept up with singing, from an early age all the way through college, because it came easily to me, and someone else was paying.

Unless you’re the rare, ridiculous prodigy, learning any instrument takes work–at least, to get to a point where you can do anything good or interesting with it.

That song I began, I could just turn it into a poem, but it doesn’t feel right as a poem. And I don’t really write poetry anyway.

In one of many other universes, it actually became a whole song. Would I actually be proud of it, if this were that universe?

Five Things Friday: September 13, 2013

…on Saturday.

I keep writing August, then having to change it to September. Not relevant, but I decided to say it anyway.

Today, my theme is something we all struggle with. Yes, that’s right… guilty pleasures. This came out of some of my own activities earlier this week, when I was enjoying for hours on end a musical artist that I’ve heard bashed pretty much since I’ve heard of her at all. I thought, we all have guilty pleasures, and why bother being guilty about them?

Before I begin, I should define the term. When I say “guilty pleasures,” I mean things you are embarrassed or hesitant to admit that you like. It may be because you know it’s objectively bad, or due to popular opinion–either everyone hates it, or, if you’re a hipster, everyone likes it.

Guilty pleasures are generally unnecessary. How many times have you actually lost friends because you like a certain movie and they don’t? Did you say zero? I’m betting you did. Sometimes you’ll get teased, and that’s no fun, but I’m pretty sure they’ll stop if you just shrug unapologetically. It works a little better if you have a real reason for liking it, but guess what? YOU DON’T NEED ONE! (Although, if your thing is, say, Taylor Swift, I’d prefer if you just didn’t tell me.)

With this in mind, I decided I would own my guilty pleasures, and stop being guilty about them. Someone will undoubtedly disagree with me on some of these, but there are so many things people like that I don’t enjoy, and they never seem to care, so I won’t either.

The same day I decided to do this as my Friday post, I went home and watched this video on self-confidence by Jen from A Vintage Vanity. One of her points is “like what you like because you like it.” I was like, what weird timing! I’m going to post on that! Clearly Jen and I think very alike. No, I don’t know her personally. Another case of the internet making you look like a stalker, when really all I’m doing is watching her videos…

Apologies (but not really) for the long introduction. You could have scrolled past it if you just wanted the list. But here it is now!

1. The first thing, which was the inspiration for doing this post at all, is Lana Del Rey. She did her performance on SNL (which I don’t think I ever watched) before I actually heard her music at all, and then everyone started talking about how bad she was because of something about her performance. Can you tell I’m fuzzy on the details there? I am.  I don’t really know what the problem was, whether it was her singing itself, or most likely that she just didn’t deliver the kind of performance that the people watching wanted to see. Whatever the reason, it was so long ago that this one performance really can’t be anyone’s reason not to like her. I hear people all the time, though, saying something along the lines of “She sucks!” Tons of other people love her. My full acceptance was slow. First someone posted Dark Paradise on youtube, which eventually led me to get Born to Die, and then I finally listened to the extended edition, and the other day I went on youtube and listened to a bunch of unreleased songs. Over and over, all day. Some of her songs, I’m not into, and that’s ok. Others, I can’t stop listening to. My favorite right now is Velvet Crowbar, and I highly recommend you listen to it. I also really like her style. She’s like a hodgepodge of vintage from various decades, and I love it. This will probably be the longest entry, and it still doesn’t explain what I like about her music–because I don’t HAVE to explain it. So there.

2. Food time! I hope someone facepalms on this one, because I should not like this. Ready? Here we go… hot pockets. Granted, I haven’t actually had one for almost a year, from what I can remember, and maybe at this point I wouldn’t actually like them. But I keep wanting them. I just really like the broccoli and cheesiness in there. I loved the chicken bacon dijon flavor, because duh. And I liked the breakfast ones, because it’s like having a nice warm egg sandwich, but it only takes two minutes. I am well aware that they basically have no nutritional value at all (maybe a little, but it’s cancelled out by the badness), and I just shouldn’t eat them. Having written that, I’m probably going to go out and buy one soon.

3. Sitcoms. I don’t like all sitcoms, but I like a bunch of them, and have them favorited on hulu so I know when a new episode is available. I am well aware of how much some of them suck, how stupid the plots can be, and how rarely they are actually funny enough to make me laugh. Yet I spend a fair amount of time watching them. Some of my favorites are British sitcoms–which I think we should call Britcoms–like “Miranda” and “Coupling.” I know that Coupling is a lot like Friends, with more sex, and there isn’t really anything else to it. Not to mention that I’ve seen all the episodes multiple times already and can no longer be entertained by a new joke. I don’t care. I still like watching it.

4. I feel like I should stick a movie in here. Here are several: The Pride and Prejudice movie with Keira Knightley should start. I have heard complaints about this movie, although I can’t remember what they were, and I know a lot of people prefer the miniseries. But I haven’t seen the miniseries, and I own the newer version on DVD, and I really, genuinely like it.

Here’s a really good one: Confessions of a Shopaholic. In some ways it’s SO bad, but I still watch it every few months or so, and I have a good time. Judging by my love of Devil Wears Prada and Sex in the City, I think we can safely say that I just like movies that have a lot of clothes in them…

So that’s probably enough for movies. (Sex in the City 2 was one of the worst movies ever made, though. I just need everyone to know how I feel about it, because it really would be embarrassing if you thought I enjoyed that piece of crap. It was so bad I’m not even going to italicize it.)

5. We’re going to go back to music again. This one’s a little weird for me to include, because I don’t listen to this artist with any regularity at all, I don’t own copies of any of her music, but I do actually like some of the songs. Maybe it’s just that they’re catchy, I don’t know. Who is it? Lady Gaga. I couldn’t say what I like in the music itself, but despite them being a little more pop than what fits my taste in general, I’m ok with listening to them if they come on, and I will unabashedly sing along with Bad Romance. I also find her crazy outfits interesting, although I can’t get behind the meat dress, because that’s just disgusting.

I was going to think of a book for the last one, but while I will gag at many books that are absurdly popular, I don’t know of any I like that are particularly disliked, so I had to leave books out. Books are awesome! Read them!

That’s all for Five Things Friday on Saturday. If you would like to participate, post about your own guilty pleasures, or leave them for me in a comment. I’d be interested to know what you like that, for some reason, you don’t really want to talk about. (But please, don’t take it to a creepy place…)

Have a great weekend, folks!

Five Things Friday – June 28, 2013

This idea is based on a few posts I’ve seen recently, and is really just a way to get myself to post more, and perhaps get creative juices flowing. It will typically be a list of things… possibly things from that day specifically, or maybe from the previous week. It might just be a recount of events, or it might be five flash fiction pieces! We shall see. I’m theming it for Friday, but probably won’t post until it’s technically Saturday most of the time.

Here we go–

 

  1. Sometimes, the feeling of relief or lightness that occurs when you finish a large project only lasts for a very short time, because you still have so much more to do. It’s not satisfying. That lightness should last at least a day. Or perhaps for the rest of your life, and then it would be The Unbearable Lightness of Being. You should read that book. It was really good.
  2. Right now, it seems that trying to make myself think of five things to write about on this particular Friday evening was a bad idea. However, since I have decided to do it, I am going to do it. That is the only way to get anything done in this life.
  3. Lately I have been stumbling across so many songs that trigger that “repeat 1” obsession. It seems that for me that almost always happens when I just connect with something about the song. It does have something to do with the sound, of course, but going deeper than that, it is not that the story told in the song really describes my life, but that the idea or feeling behind the actual story is something I can relate to. It’s often a mostly emotional thing, and very hard to describe, so even if the lyrics do not apply to me directly, the song in general might as well be about me.
  4. I am still feeling a little strange about vlogging. Despite knowing how hard it is to build up an audience at the beginning, I for some reason really want lots of people to watch and like my videos NOW. Even though I don’t have a real camera and I am using an editing program that is extremely lacking. And I’m awkward and I don’t entirely know why I am putting videos of myself talking in a room on youtube for everyone in the world to watch. But you should go watch them.
  5. I would really prefer to fall asleep listening to rain than to the explosions coming from the video gaming downstairs. I don’t begrudge you your hobbies, but I do not understand why you are so dead set against me sleeping. I NEED sleep. I really, really do. Please stop making the circles under my eyes darker, because sleep deprivation is going to drive me crazy and then, I cannot say what is going to happen…

 

I would really like, in the future, for this list to be more of a meditative, picking out very specific moments or images or thoughts to talk about. Sometimes, you just need a good ramble, though. Ever have one of those weeks/months/years/lives where you just have so much going on that you don’t actually have time to expunge all of the disjointed thoughts darting through your brain? That’s me right now.

If you got this far in the post, thanks for being patient enough to read that crap. Come back next Friday evening/Saturday morning for five more things.

Do You Want to Feel How It Feels?

I’ve been wondering what this song is actually about. The basic meaning, or overall feeling, or whatever, is pretty much self-evident. Looking deeper than that, it could mean a bunch of things. Is it just a grass-is-greener statement (“with no problems”)? Is it “look what you did to me”? Is it “if only you could understand how I feel”? Maybe I’m overthinking it–probably, since I always do that–but it doesn’t seem clear to me. And is it based on Kate Bush’s real life, or just taken from an idea that sprung into her head, or a story she read, or something like that? Do you ever listen to very emotional songs written in the first person and wonder whether they’re true to the performer?

 

[also, the video is extremely weird, and might actually be the reason I’m so confused]