Is there such a thing as too much music?

This is a common problem. I sit in front of my computer trying to find something to listen to for what seems like hours. I’ve got plenty of music on iTunes, at present, I could listen to music for over 8 days and never listen to the same thing twice (except for all 17 versions of numerous DMB songs courtesy of my husband) It would seem that there should be no problem finding something to suit my mood. It should be a simple process – am I in the mood for something deep and reflective like Elliott Smith or Radiohead…. or something fun and upbeat like John Mellencamp or Three Dog Night? Maybe I want blues like Robert Johnson… or poppy like The Beatles… maybe it’s sunny and The Eagles would be a perfect fit. Sometimes late at night when I’m almost ready to go to bed, surely The Shins would be a better choice than Guns ‘n Roses. Or just maybe, Clint has been out of town and I have an overwhelming urge for some Dave Matthews. See – it shouldn’t be that hard. But it is – as I type this I’m listening to Radiohead’s “Hail to the Thief” and it took me over 10 minutes to make that decision. It might help if I could browse by genre – I know iTunes has this feature but if you’re an itunes user go browse by genre right now and you’ll see what I’m talking about. According to iTunes, the only Alternative Rock music I have is PJ Harvey, Pete Yorn is classified as Punk, and while I agree that Michelle Branch (my husbands, not mine) is pop, I don’t think Mark Knopfler would be too happy to know that he’s stuck there too. In fact, most of my music is placed in no genre – you would think it would be easy to assign Sarah Mclachlan and Aretha Franklin (pop and R&B respectively), but iTunes places them in no category. I know I could assign all the albums appropriate genres but that is too damn much work. So my problem remains. I honestly think that I might just have too much music to choose from. It could also be the way I listen to music. I don’t know what other people do but unless I’m putting on music as background noise to clean or sew or something, I rarely listen to entire albums. If I’m listening to “listen to music” I want to skip around and hear all of my favorites. And yes, I’ve got a million playlists. The problem is that the 25 songs I wanted to listen to yesterday aren’t the same 25 songs I want to listen to today. Sure there are some songs that I’m almost always in the mood to listen to – but the key word is “almost”. There are circumstances under which I just don’t feel like hearing “The Origin of Love” from the Hedwig and the Angry Inch soundtrack – I know it’s amazing that anyone could say that. Also I don’t want to go strictly by these playlists because I forget about music I love. I can go months without remembering how much I love Elton John’s “Goodbye” or Radiohead’s “Climbing up the Walls”. So I have limited choices. I can choose to jump around and listen to a bunch of stuff – the downfall being that this requires constant attention and I might forget a song I love. I can choose a playlist, but this is going to end with me skipping a lot of songs because I’m simply not in the mood to listen to Ani Difranco sing “Shy”. Or I can listen to entire albums which is difficult because there are few albums that I truly like every song on them – Radiohead’s “Kid A”, The Beatles “Abbey Road”, Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water”, U2’s “Joshua Tree”, and right now REM’s “Around the Sun” are the only ones I can do it with. Many albums come close and I suppose I could uncheck “No Surprises” on OK Computer and such and have a few more. Actually, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I actually just realized that might be a good solution. Ok, but I know that I’m still going to end up switching albums after the first 3 or 4 songs because what always happens is that track 3 or whatever reminds me of some song I like and I have to listen to right this minute and it does no good to finish whatever I’m listening to right now because now anything short of Jackson Browne singing “The Pretender” is just crap. See, as we speak I remembered how much I like that song and I’m going to have to switch over to it – except that for some reason Jackson Browne always makes me think about Broadway plays so now I think instead I’ll listen to the West Side Story Soundtrack and I ask you – How in the hell can someone who is listening to Radiohead suddenly get a desperate urge to hear “I Feel Pretty”?
I hope I’m alone in this, because if I’m not….. I’m scared for this world.

Mel

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Butters

Butters

Butters “Captain Chaos” Dickens 2004 – 2005

Earlier this week, a tragedy occured. Not a tragedy on the scale of loosing a child (which also happened in my family this week), but a tragedy nonetheless. It may be hard for some to understand why loosing a pet is so upsetting, but let me try to explain. Some of us do not have children, and some have had children and now they are all grown and living independantly. The desire to nurture and protect those who need us is an instinctual and sometimes overwhelming need. So some of us, when circumstances demand it, choose to funnel this energy into a pet. I guess it really does no good to try and explain it – if your pet is a family member, you already know what I’m talking about, if you are petless or your pet is simply a pet, you’ll never understand. My parents, like me, consider their pets members of their family. A few days ago, my parents lost their beloved Butters. He was hit by a car in front of his home. My parents live out in the country and, unfortunately, this is a fairly common occurance. I talked of Butters in a previous post so I think I’ve made it clear just how special he was to my parents. He managed to weasel his way pretty deep into the hearts of those who knew him only briefly. He was truly a magnificent cat. My parents have had many additions to their family over the years. This is mainly due to their living in the country where many people decide to drop carloads of kittens when they are too lazy to find them good homes. I’ve always believed that there is a special place in hell for people who dump animals, and so it follows that there is a special place in heaven for those that pick them up, dry them off, bring them inside and let them stay. I imagine this place in heaven is also heavily populated with all kinds of pets as well – pets that were lucky enough to wander into the yards of people like my parents, and those who weren’t so fortunate. So here’s to Butters – may you rest in peace. No matter what you choose to call heaven, I’m sure that right now Butters is there; napping someplace soft and warm and will wake in a bit to chase a nut or small bit of string. We will miss him.

Melanie


The Oscars

If you know me very well, you know I have designated a larger than advisable portion of my brain as a warehouse for useless pop culture trivia. One of my biggest stockpiles is the Academy Awards. Never argue with me over which movie won which award in which year. I will always win. I even have a list of all the movies that won Best Picture – I place a checkmark next to each movie once I’ve seen it. Someday, I will have seen every movie to win Best Picture – I’ve been working on this since 1993. I could’ve finished years ago, but I like to take my time with this sort of thing. So every year since about 1991 I’ve watched every movie that is nominated for Best Picture before the awards are given out so that I can make my own opinion about which one should win and which one will win. I’m almost always right. I’ve made inaccurate predictions only once. I’ve dissagreed a couple of times, in 1995 I felt that Shawshank Redemption should have won over Forrest Gump, and in 1998 anything else should have won over Titanic – Good Will Hunting, LA Confidential, As Good as it Gets, and Full Monty were all better movies. But this was the first year I not only didn’t agree with the Best Picture Winner, I made the wrong prediction. I correctly predicted all 4 acting categories, both screenplays, film editing, and director. I even agreed with most of them – except actor – I knew Leonardo DiCaprio had no chance, but he deserved the Oscar over Jamie Foxx. I don’t care that Jamie Foxx really couldn’t see during filming – that makes him less deserving – he didn’t have to act blind. Howard Hughes was a much more demanding role. So anyway, Best Picture – I predicted The Aviator. I watched all the nominated films. Finding Neverland is the only one I would probably watch again. It was kind of a weak year. I would probably watch Sideways again if it came on TV, I would not watch Ray again and I probably wouldn’t watch Million Dollar Baby again, I wouldn’t watch the Aviator again only because if I have 3 hours to spare I’ll watch something I haven’t seen before. So Million Dollar Baby won, and I can only assume that this has everything to do with Hollywood’s love affair with Clint Eastwood. I knew Scorsese wouldn’t get the director Oscar, I figured they’d give it to Clint, but I really, really thought The Aviator would end up on top. Don’t get me wrong, Million Dollar Baby was a good movie – Morgan Freeman was great, Clint Eastwood, while playing the same character he’s played for the last decade was still good, and I don’t have the problem with Hillary Swank that my husband does (I really don’t care that she looks like a man – her body looked fantastic in this movie so I didn’t really notice her face), but the story was very predictable and not at all original. It lacked the “wow factor” that most Best Picture winners create. I usually can predict the winner because it’s the movie that when I watch it in the theater I think, “Wow, this is amazing.” Almost all Best Picture nominees are amazing in some regard – it may be a great story, or perfect acting, or a fantastic set – but the winner usually has multiple wow factors. Million Dollar Baby had one wow factor and that was the perfect acting. It had nothing else. The Aviator on the other hand had more. Cate Blanchett won for her portrayal of Katherine Hepburn and Leo was nominated for his Howard Hughes, so I think it’s safe to say that the movie was well acted. The sets and costumes were stunning. The story was fascinating, and despite the 2 hour and 40+ minutes runtime, the editing was right on. Everything from the camera shots to the music was impressive. I’m at a loss to explain why this movie was passed over for a very ordinary Million Dollar Baby.


Another Poem

At night, inside the house of Sharp
A creature tiptoes in the dark
To pacify the urge to chew
The creature nabs a human’s shoe
Such pleasures only charm so long
When no one’s there to say it’s wrong
Around the doorway, down the stairs
To sniff a cat perched on a chair
A skillful nose detects a treat
Cat cookies simply can’t be beat
Important business now aside
The creature needs to go outside
Depsite it’s desperate whines and moans
It can not wake the human bones
Best effort given, it waits no more
It squats above the moonlit floor
The creature leaves the mess behind
Intent upon more fun to find
What pleasant luck to simply happen
Upon a pile of fast food napkins
This frolic could go on all night
If not for mornings first sunlight
For that is when it’s plain to see
Such capers aren’t reality
A dream while sleeping sadly fettered
But she would if we would let her

Melanie


Butter’s Own Blog Post and some other stuff too

Over the holidays, I met someone who has, I believe, taken me and my sister’s place as favored people in the eyes of my father. This someone is a small, rat-like, stealer of nuts, batter of small objects, and licker of other people’s food. This someone is Butters – a kitten. My parents brought this beast into their home several weeks ago and he has managed to wrap my father around his finger to an extent I could have hardly imagined. So my parents did indeed name this kitten after Leopold “Butters” Stoch of South Park fame, but they were unaware that Butters has an alter ego – Captain Chaos. Discovering that bit of info made a lot of sense to my parents – Butters the cat also spends a good amount of time acting as Captain Chaos, but he is one of the cutest cats I’ve ever seen. He’s about 4 months old and has not figured out how to control his purr – he automatically starts purring the second you pick him up – even when he’s struggling to get away. Check out the Gallery for pics of this magnificent cat.
Anyway, onto other things – It was a good trip, once we got there that is. Our flight from DFW to Ft. Smith was cancelled so we had to find other arrangements. Luckily Clint’s dad and his pilot’s license were able to get us to Fort Smith a lot earlier than American Airlines was able to. We also had trouble getting back home. We were supposed to get home at 9:30pm on Monday – that didn’t happen. Our flight out of Ft. Smith was delayed, and then we had to circle outside of DFW because of weather and by the time we landed our Seattle connection had left. So we tried standby on two flights but got neither so we finally got a flight to Las Vegas at around midnight with a flight to Seattle at 9:30 the next morning. We had to run to make the Las Vegas flight and wouldn’t have made it if the gate agent hadn’t been nice enough to get the plane to move back and extend the walkway so we could board. We spent the rest of the night watching Harry Potter on the laptop and then managed to get an earlier flight to Seattle so by 11am we were home. So I had a whole day to get the house clean and such so we’d be ready for Maggie’s arrival on Wednesday. Speaking of Maggie, she is currently taking a nap which is nice. Earlier, she was trying to help me type – didn’t work out too well, she would be much more efficient if I needed someone to chew through the power cord. Anyway, so my last couple of weeks has been all about cats, dogs, and American Airlines complete inability to get me to any of my destinations. So now I think I’ll watch a little King of the Hill and go to bed.

’till then


Life and such

What follows this introduction is something that I fully intended to write, save as private, and probably never let it see the light of day. But considering the subject, that would prove everything I’ve written a lie. It isn’t that it’s intensely personal – it isn’t. It isn’t that it’s embarassing – not even a bit. It’s that it truly isn’t all that interesting. So know that if you’re reading this, it isn’t meant to be ground-breaking or deeply philosophical; not for anyone but me.

Recently, I almost died. I don’t mean that in a “I was so mortified I almost died” way, or a “This car came out of nowhere – seriously, I almost died” way either. I mean that I really, truly, medically, almost died. Technically, I was dying. Now the only type of almost death I can speak of is the “my body is bleeding from areas that need blood and into areas that don’t” way so I don’t know how it feels if one were dying of poisoning or cancer. I wonder if others who’ve almost died knew that they were dying? I know that when the process began, I kept telling myself I was fine, but I had this nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right. By the time I called 911 I was positive what was happening was serious. I’d like to say that I called 911 because I wanted to live and knew that medical attention was the only way for that to happen. That statement is mostly true – but there was a part of me that called only because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to die and was scared of the idea that it could still be going on for hours. How much more pain would there be? Would I soon pass out and die without knowledge of the event? What if I threw up? What if no one realized I was dead for days and I started to rot? It was thoughts like those that gave me the will to climb the stairs for a change of clothes (can’t go to the hospital in just panties), decide to place life higher on the list of desires than an overnight bag, and focus more attention than I thought I possessed on one spot of light to keep me in the here and now long enough to make the phone call. Thinking back on the events of that night makes me want to laugh and cry. Laugh because it was insane of me to think I could actually pack a bag, because I was so concerned that my shoes didn’t match, because the EMT really thought an IV would cause more pain than I was already feeling, and for other reasons as well. I want to cry for those same reasons. Am I so vain that I’d risk my life to put on makeup? Am I so stupid that I would keep ignoring obvious symptoms to the point of losing the ability make a phone call to save my life? Am I so crazy that my fear of vomit was worse than death? And why did I think for one second that maybe it would be ok to just close my eyes and just let it happen? I’d always thought that if were stranded in the Andes Mountains by a plane crash, or trapped in a burning building, or standing face to face with someone intent on killing me, or suffering with some life-threatening disease that I would fight to stay alive. I’d still like to think that, but truth is – I don’t know. I could spend the rest of my life playing out scenarios in my mind – but I choose not to. I finally realized that asking myself questions likethe ones posed above is a waste of time. The only thing I know for certain is that right now I am alive. More importantly, I have chosen to be alive. For the first time I understand what it means to be alive and in realizing that, I’ve decided to make some changes. I’ve already decided to take better care of myself. That’s a pretty big improvement on my physical being. On the emotional level, I’ve always been pretty satisfied – but I can do better. One of the reasons I made that phone call was that I had a husband who would never forgive himself for being gone, family that would be heartbroken, and a friend who would miss me terribly and feel responsible for not forcing me to go to the hospital. There were a small group of people that I thought of that night. I talked to them the next day – they expressed concern and sent me flowers. Those are the people I’d like to keep in my life. I’ve always had a habit of trying to keep relationships alive that should have died a long time ago. I don’t think I’ll waste anymore of my time or effort on those. Now I’m not saying it’s necessary to just write off anyone who isn’t on the short list of people to notify in the event of emergency – just that I have a number of people who are important to me and I choose to spend my time keeping those relationships healthy instead of the ones that aren’t that healthy to begin with. I’ve also decided that I’m not going to apologize for the things I do. If I hurt someone, I’ll apologize for the hurt (if I’m truly sorry), but I don’t think I’ll apologize for whatever action caused the hurt. If I’m careless and I hit my husband with a hammer, I’ll apologize for hurting him, but not for being careless with the hammer. I’ll admit I made a mistake, if I think one was made, but I won’t apologize for it. The distinction might be slight, but it does exist. I never intend to hurt someone – but whatever I did to cause that hurt was intended or I wouldn’t have done it in the first place.


Look what I’m getting for xmas!

A little over a week ago, my husband made the mistake of mentioning that he missed having a dog. Of course, I jumped on the opportunity such a statement provided and within an hour, we decided we would get a dog. We had planned on waiting until we got back from Arkansas (for the holidays) to make a final decision. At that time, Clint set about making a plan of his own; to surprise me with a dog for Christmas. Of course, this secret lasted about 4 days before I figured it out. We had already been talking about getting a Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever and Poodle mix) because from everything we’ve read, they are great dogs for apartment life. Luckily, we knew a breeder and now we are just waiting to fly to Arkansas so that we can meet the new addition to our family. I am holding off naming her until I meet her, but when I saw the pictures I immediately thought she looked like a Maggie. Billie (who picked her out) agreed that she did indeed look and act like a Maggie, and Loretta (Billie’s aunt and breeder of the beast) confirmed that Maggie suits her well. We may change it upon meeting her, but right now, we’re calling her Maggie.
So, I present to you, the amazing Maggie:
Maggie

You can see more pictures of this adorable puppy by going here