Sunday, November 27, 2005

Oooo, Look at that Shiny Thing Over There...

So I have decided/realized that I have music ADD. There was a point in my life when not only could I enjoy sitting through a whole album, I would listen to that album over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-drive-everyone-around-me-completely-nuts. But that's how I enjoy most things... obsessively. At least until I get sick of it and move on to something else.

I have always loved soundtracks because the variation in music keeps me from getting bored. However, MP3s have completely changed how I listen to music. Now that I have approximately 50 gigs of music, I still do listen obsessively to stuff I love, but it's on a smaller scale now. Rather than an entire album, I now wear the hell out of individual tracks. I usually load up my library and set it on random, unless I'm really in the mood for something in particular. I've come to enjoy such variety in my own music that sometimes even listening to the radio is irritating. I find it very difficult and somewhat grating to listen to an entire album if it's not a compilation or soundtrack, even if I really like the artist. Not counting mixes, the last album I was truly obsessive about was a couple of years ago; Fallen by Evanescence, which I had on constant play in my car for at least a month.

What's funny is that while I accept that 50 gigs is a ton of music, I find that I can never have enough. Even though iTunes says I have enough music to play for 31.3 days straight without hearing the same track twice, without periodic infusions of new music, I would get bored. I know almost every single song and album I have in such a way that hearing it repeatedly makes me itchy to listen to something else. When I travel, I have to select my music very carefully. I have only 3.74 gigs of space for tracks on my iPod and while that's fine for a short journey, after a month I'm thinking about how I can't wait to get home so I can hear other stuff. I've come to love as much variety as possible at home. In the car, I just want to rock out to stuff with good beats.

I don't know how my brain keeps track of all of this music, like remembering all the songs I've heard on my iPod, but I do think I have a musical aptitude that manifests itself in unusual ways. I've played a few instruments and I can tell you that I'm not gifted in the traditional sense (i.e. being in a symphony is probably not in my future). However, I'm pretty good with wind instruments -- I was able to play "Taps" open-key on a trumpet the first time I picked one up -- and I can read music, but if you played a random note, I probably wouldn't be able to identify it. I can't play things by ear and I also am hopeless at composing music, although I honestly wish I had that ability.

What I can do is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I'm no Mozart or Beethoven, no musical genius in the classic sense. I do have a weird memory for music. I can hear part of a song and most of the time, sometimes without hearing the singer's voice, I know immediately who sings it. I also am really good at picking out subtle musical threads within a song and identifying all of the instruments used. This is really fun in songs where unusual instruments are used, cause I get such a geeky thrill from being able to identify things.

I have DJed a few parties and I found I was totally in my element. I had a blast doing it and I can't even express how much I have always secretly hoped an opportunity would come up to get a job or training as a DJ. Play with music and get paid for it? No-brainer! Now that I think about it, I guess that's part of why I make so many mixes.. because my inner DJ is just whimpering to be let out. ;)

Anyhoo, I added a link to my profile (previously known as AudioScrobbler). is a pretty cool (and free) music social network that connects you to other people with similar musical tastes. It runs in conjunction with an AudioScrobbler plugin you use with your MP3 player, which, as you listen to music, sends the artist and song information to the server. Your user page keeps track of various statistics and uses that to connect you to 'neighbors' who are those with music tastes close to yours. You can also find a group to join if you feel like being social and talking about music and stuff. You can keep a music journal, listen to streaming radio, and a ton of more features. I really like it and I find it strangely addicting. Maybe it's the marriage of my two loves: Music and Lists.

Lastly, I just want to say that I am unhealthilty in love with the Rilo Kiley song I posted previously. Lurve it.

Friday, November 25, 2005


I highly recommend the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack.. I have been really enjoying it. Here's my favorite song off the album so far:

Rilo Kiley - Portions for Foxes

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


For Martha...

Ten years ago

My mom and I had recently moved to Santa Cruz, CA (my birthplace and somewhere I had always desperately wanted to live). She and my step-dad were splitting up for good and she'd been offered a great job in SC, working for and with her best friend. We lived in a hotel and then her friend's studio cottage for a while, until our house was ready. I was in my first semester of college, my most inspired and brilliant semester to date -- I carried 18 units, including an intense 5-unit ecology class, plus I was in the college play and re-learning the flute. Even with all of that going on, I still managed to get a 3.6 GPA; my one and only semester on the Dean's List (thanks to the C I got in ceramics the next semester). Life was pretty good and now that I think about it, I kind of miss it. Also I want to know how the hell I did it.. can that Alena come back now, please?

Five years ago

See my previous post. Due to our landlord being a supreme jackass (and me being really broke), I was forced to move back to San Francisco. At this point five years ago, I had been living with Bill, my ex-step-father (i.e. the man who raised me) for a few months. I'd sort of dropped out of school due to lack of motivation and not knowing what I wanted to study. I half-assedly took a couple of classes at City College of SF and got a job as a nanny for two boys, 5 and 7. I also had been getting involved, long-distance, with She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and we were discussing how to move forward. I think at this point, plans were made for me to quit my job and move to NC, so I was looking into how to make that happen. Actually, I just remembered.. She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named had come to visit for a week over Thanksgiving, we had a fight one night after I in particular drank way too much wine and got worked up over something, and she ended up changing her flight plans without my knowledge, while I was at school. The day before Thanksgiving, she told me she was flying home the next morning. We had to get up at 5am so I could drive her to the Oakland airport ON THANKSGIVING. It was fucked up. Red flag, I should have known, right?

One year ago

I was preparing for the next stage in my life: my move to Morgantown and starting university for the first time ever. I was extremely happy and excited to be getting out of Parkersburg, but I was also a little overwhelmed and freaked out. In addition, I was very sad to be leaving my only real friend in the state. Mikey had his plans to move to NYC, which left Angie here... only she's two hours away and I rarely get to see her anymore. However, I knew that I was finally on the right path again and quite glad to at last have some idea of what I'd like to do as a career.

Five yummy things

1. Coffee with just the right amount of strength, cream, and sugar. Add a piece or two of shortbread and I'm in heaven.
2. Cheesecake, particularly New York style.
3. Pizza from Milano's Pizzeria on 9th Ave. in SF. Best. Pizza. EVAR.
4. The super burrito with a spinach tortilla and fresh pico at Gordo's in SF. Like the Milano's pizza, I've yet to find a burrito anywhere that comes even close.
5. My mom's from-scratch pesto lasagna. Homemade pasta and pesto sauce with fresh mozzarella.. it's beyond good.

Five songs I know by heart
I know quite a few songs by heart, but the majority of them are folk songs that you've probably never heard of. Hey, I worked at a Renaissance faire for four years.. These are the first five I thought of.

1. Puff the Magic Dragon
2. Ren and Stimpy - "It's Log" (the commercial)
3. Red is the Rose (If you're a glutton for punishment, you can hear me sing the first verse here: this is an audio post - click to play)
4. Little Brown Dog (a.k.a. Sing Taddle-o-Day)
5. The Blacksmith

Five things I would do with a LOT of money

1. Move back to the west coast, including buying a comfortable house (3 BR, garage, washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc.).
2. Get all the electronics, gadgets, and technology that I am so desirous of. New, blazin' PC, entertainment center, a TV big enough to actually watch, a stereo that's not on its last leg, speakers in every room, etc. Drooooooool.
3. Invest/keep enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life without having to work. Without working, I would go to school and take classes on just about everything. For my own personal enjoyment. I like to dabble, so I'd take all sorts of weird stuff, I'm sure.
4. Most importantly, I think it's crucial for people who have a LOT of money to give back. To not do so is proof of the basest greed and selfishness. I honestly wish I had a ton of money just so I could find ways to make other people's lives better.. something as simple as hot meals and new clothes would make a world of difference to some. Either I would donate to existing charities or try to apply my money in ways I feel are lacking. There are a lot of worthy institutions that could greatly benefit from donations.. schools, to keep non-core programs that are being cut, such as art, music, and sports. Grants and scholarships to help people go to college. I would love to see schools opened in third-world countries and their orphaned children taken care of.. I really could go on.
5. I would travel... like.. everywhere.

Five things I would never wear
Not counting costumes, cause anything goes on Halloween..

1. Makeup. Seriously, I fuckin' hate it.
2. Ugg boots. They put the Ugg in FUGLY.
3. Platform anything.
4. Dresses.
5. Beige bras. They just scream 'grandma' to me.

Five favourite TV shows
In no particular order..

1. Lost
2. Desperate Housewives
3. Arrested Development
4. The L Word
5. Commander in Chief

Five things I enjoy doing

1. Listening to music
2. Being alone in nature
3. Sleeping
4. Photography
5. Traveling

Five people I want to inflict this on

Well, no one really, cause I think most of the people I read have no idea who I am.. but if anyone I know feels like filling this out, please email me or comment here to let me know you've done it. Rachael? Tory? Ernie? Mikey? Michelle?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

California, Here I Come

Phantom Planet - California

Five years ago come January, I boarded the crazy train, crammed a Ryder truck full of my stuff, and drove -- by myself-- all the way across the country to move in with Coo-Coo Crazy (a.k.a. Psycho Ex) in North Carolina. Five years ago, I left my native and beloved California to try out life on the East Coast. It may very well be the biggest mistake I have ever made, but what's done is done and I try to not dwell on it.

Nevertheless, I had no concept while leaving my home state that it would be damn near impossible, financially, to move back. I have lived in several places since my original departure, and I can't tell you what it's like for a California girl on the wrong coast. Don't get me wrong, there is an awful lot that I like about the East Coast.. the history, the fall foliage, the nearness of the states (sort of like Europe), but it's not the West Coast. I'm biased and I fully admit it.

Living in West Virginia has pushed my homesickness to a new level. It really is just so different than where and how I was raised. After too long, it starts to really wear on me, but I'm lucky in that I generally get to leave the state at least once a year. You know, to get a little break away from things.

The truth is, it feels almost as if I left my home country to move to another. In many ways, I feel like a foreigner here. Morgantown is lightyears better than Parkersburg in terms of numbers of general liberalness and people who share my views, values, and opinions, but still I feel an empty ache in my heart when I think of home.

To say I miss it is an understatement. I have wanted so desperately to go home, even just to visit. I think I could be happy with just a taste. I almost got to last January, but the beginning of school conflicted with my mom's visit to California. This year, things are better planned. In fact, yesterday I bought my ticket to San Francisco! I'm beyond giddy, really. I'll be in northern California and southern Oregon from Dec. 27 to Jan. 8!

My mom asked me if there's anything special I wanted to do while we're there, but aside from trying to look up my friends, I really don't care. I know I'll be babysitting my sister quite a bit, but the mere fact that I'll be in MY CITY for almost a week.. I don't care what we do. My sister likes the same places I did (and still do).. The Exploratorium, IMAX movies, Pier 39, etc. We have tickets to see Cirque du Soleil, something of a family tradition from when we lived in the city. Fancy schmancy hair appointments. We're staying in a shwank hotel on Union Square. Truthfully, though, we could be sleeping in a car and I'd be pretty damn happy. :P

So.. California, here we come... right back where we started from.. California.. I'm coming home..

Joni Mitchell - California

It goes without saying that these two songs will be on my iPod for this trip.