Category Archives: Music

May 2015 Playlist

I’ve got a new playlist to share with you, thanks in large part to a major accomplishment in my life: I recently discovered that you can shuffle different Pandora stations together.

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I’m sure I’m the last person in the world to know this, but whatever. I’m also not on Snapchat, and my Google search history may or may not include, “What is bae?” Anyway, a few weeks ago I was listening to what I thought was Avett Brothers radio, when suddenly I found myself listening to *NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye.” I was kind of confused, and then I realized I had accidentally clicked a button to shuffle all of my stations, allowing me to enjoy some glorious 90s pop along with my indie rock/bluegrass. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THAT EXISTED? Anyway, I decided to shuffle my four favorite stations that day, and I haven’t skipped or thumbsed-down a song in weeks. WEEKS. Are you ready for this? Shuffle the following stations to have your mind blown:

– Of Monsters and Men
– The Avett Brothers
– Florence + the Machine
– 90s Pop

The hipster rock/bluegrass/acoustic guitar provides the perfect backdrop for getting shit done, and then bam! An old school 90s party ballad wakes you up and makes you want to get up and dance. Every time I hear Christina Aguilera or N*Sync I’m transported back to being a 14-year-old overall-short enthusiast with Tonya Harding bangs, and suddenly my grown up problems don’t seem so bad. My floors need to be mopped and I’m probably not saving enough for retirement, but my bangs do not resemble a trailer-park-figure-skater-murderess. I’ll take it.

So anyway, here’s a mishmash of what I’ve been listening to lately:

I hope you enjoy it. I’m off to watch Empire Records, because YAY 90s!

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February 2015 Playlist

I have a new Spotify playlist for you! Woo! I meant to post it earlier in the month, but then stuff happened and I didn’t. Story of my life.

Work’s been busy, and I’ve spent the last several weeks hunched over my keyboard writing various reports and applying for a super huge grant. I need music to concentrate when I’m writing, so I’ve been relying on Spotify to get me through my days.  A few weeks ago I discovered a playlist called Appalachia Rising, and I got all excited because my favorite music is the kind that sounds like it should be played over a montage of the Honey Boo Boo family skinning rattlesnakes down by the river in their underwear.

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Or, you know, a mountain man dancing with a raccoon.

One afternoon last week I was the only person in the building (or so I thought), so I unplugged my ear buds from my computer speakers and decided to blast the shit out of Appalachia Rising. I was enjoying a particularly loud crescendo involving multiple pairs of spoons and what sounded suspiciously like a guy beating two hubcaps together when a guy from across the hall walked in. I scrambled to turn it down the second I saw him, but I knew that he heard. I could see the judgment in his eyes. Not that I blame him – you kind of deserve to be judged if you get caught doing the white man’s overbite to a banjo solo, you know?

Anyway, I spared you (mostly) and only put one hillbilly song on this list. You’re welcome:

(For a good time, listen to track 11 while watching the man/raccoon gif. It’s magical.)

January Playlist

When I was in college, I developed an addiction to creating monthly playlists. I’d scour shady file sharing sites for cool songs and then burn them to CDs for my roommates, because that’s what we did back in 2006 when dinosaurs roamed the earth and One Direction hadn’t been foisted upon our eardrums and America’s Next Top Model was the best thing on television.

It was the best of times. Also, I’m old.

Anyway, I recently became the last person in the world to start using Spotify, and it’s rekindled my obsession with creating monthly playlists. I thought it would be fun to start posting them here, since it would be difficult to send each of you a CD every month. Although I totally want to.

Here’s this month’s playlist (hover your mouse to the right of the tracks to scroll – there’s 15 songs):

There’s kind of a lot of moody stuff on there, but that’s what happens it’s the middle of the winter and you work in a remote schoolhouse that’s encased in freezing fog all day, every day. (It’s safe to say that I’m ready for spring.) What are you listening to this month?

My Top Five Christmas Albums

Confession: I’m currently watching Love Actually for the second time this week. The thing is, viewing Christmas movies outside of the holiday season totally depresses me, so I have to get my fill of all my favorites during the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A third viewing of Christmas Vacation will probably happen this weekend, and I’m not ashamed.
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Anyway, I was watching Rick Grimes profess his secret love to Keira Knightley when I realized I totally promised a post about my favorite Christmas albums and I still haven’t written it. So here it is guys: My 5 favorite Christmas albums:

5. Sufjan Stevens, Songs for Christmas

Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas

Warning: This is super hipstery. Like, you’ll probably feel like you should be listening to it on a vintage 8-track tape deck while knitting organic Alpaca hair PBR coozies for your Etsy shop. But, just like your friendly neighborhood hipster, it’s quirky and different and that can be refreshing after hearing 19 different pop versions of Jingle Bells at the grocery store.

Fave Song: Come On! Let’s Boogie to the Elf Dance!

4. Amy Grant, A Christmas Album

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I don’t know anybody my age who didn’t grow up with this album, and the song “Emmanuel” will forever remind me of helping my mom and grandma make my great-grandma’s sugar cookie recipe the day before Christmas Eve. And by “helping,” I mean, “writing angry poetry about the injustice of not being Taylor Hanson’s girlfriend and sneaking bites of dough while their backs were turned.”

Fave Song: Emmanuel. Duh.

3. The Carpenters, Christmas Portrait

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The nostalgia factor is also high with this one. One time my sister and I popped it into the CD player of her Geo Storm on our way home for Christmas break during college, and it got stuck so we had to listen to it for the entire 8-hour car ride. The fact that we did not drive off a cliff after the sixth repeat is a testament to Karen Carpenter’s soothing alto voice.

Fave Song: It’s Christmas Time

2. She & Him, A Very She & Him Christmas

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Again, HIPSTER CENTRAL, but HER VOICE.

Fave Song: Silver Bells

1. Home Alone Soundtrack

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LOVE. Although whenever I listen to it, I get the sudden urge to hit somebody in the balls with a crowbar.

Fave Song: The Drifters, White Christmas

Now tell me about your favorite Christmas albums in the comments.

High Five for Friday

Our forecast shows highs in the 70s for this weekend and I just saw the obnoxious guy across the street with a giant “Jane Fonda: Traitor Bitch” sticker on his truck get a parking ticket, so it’s already shaping up to be a pretty good Friday. Here are five highs from the last week:

1. My crazy pants!

Crazy PantsI kind of forgot I had these, and rediscovered them yesterday when I was digging around trying to locate my missing denim jacket. I get a lot of “Wow, those are …. interesting” comments when I wear these around town, which might sting a little more if the unofficial uniform of our town wasn’t dirty overalls and boots caked in cow shit.

2. The strawberry shortcake I made for Dave’s birthday came out pretty great:

Shortcake

I used this recipe, and to make the vanilla sugar I just added one teaspoon of vanilla per cup of sugar and blended it really well with a wire whisk. It may not be authentic, but it was easier than flying to Europe, which Google told me was the only place you can find vanilla sugar in stores.

3. I finally joined the rest of the world and started using Spotify. I love it so much, even though it makes me do the white man’s overbite at my desk all day.

I’ve been listening to Birdy’s cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” over and over for the last couple of days, and I can’t get over how great it is.

4. We’re taking a little trip to a casino in Southern Oregon for Dave’s birthday this weekend, and I have a really good feeling that I’m going to win millions even though I limit myself to $40 and only play the quarter machines.

5. Milky Way Midnights!

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Source
Dark chocolate. Caramel. Vanilla nougat. Adult onset diabetes.

I LOVE these candy bars, and Dave bought me a couple earlier this week because he is the best ever and also because I’ve been a stressed-out, whiny wreck lately and he is probably hoping the caramel/nougat combo will glue my jaws shut. I brought one to work today for an after-lunch snack, only I totally want to eat it right now. It’s acceptable to slam-nom a candy bar before 10 a.m., right? Don’t answer that; I’m doing it anyway.

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Late summer, early fall in photos

I spent a few recent weekends doing actual interesting things as opposed to my usual beer-and-cheese-fueled “Law and Order: SVU” marathon, so I figured I’d do a little photo roundup.

Avett Brothers at the Britt

Do you listen to the Avett Brothers? (If not, start here.) Their shows are the best I’ve seen, and I’ve seen Sufjan Stevens drop hundreds of blow-up Santas onto the crowd at the Wiltern. Danny Devito was there. Avett Brothers? Still better.

Breakfast at the Jacksonville Inn: Fruit, portabella eggs benedict, potatoes, homemade chicken apple sausage, coffee, heart disease.

(Funny story: We bought a bottle of wine from the inn’s giant wine shop earlier in the day, and when we returned after the concert we realized we didn’t have a corkscrew. Because we are classy, we waited to drink it until we got home. Ha! That’s a lie. We actually decided to push the cork into the bottle with Dave’s car key. It was late and we couldn’t finish the bottle, so we poured the leftovers into an old Nalgene I had floating around in my car. Then we picked our teeth with our toenails and boiled some roadkill in the bathtub because apparently we are the Clampetts.)

“Real” pumpkin pie

Pumpkins are out in full force at the farmers’ market, and Dave picked one up over the weekend and made it into pie. It requires a bit of work (you have to de-seed it, cook it, scrape out the flesh and then puree it), but it’s so light and creamy that it’s totally worth it. The pumpkin flavor is more subtle than pies that use the canned stuff, so I’d bet that even people who aren’t fans of traditional pumpkin pie would like this version. My coworkers said it’s the best pumpkin pie they’ve ever had. The recipe is here. (Note: The filling was super watery when we poured it into the crust. We baked it for several minutes longer than the recipe called for, and it was fine. I’d suggest maybe pressing the baked pumpkin flesh with a paper towel before mashing it to drain out any excess water.)

I’m the hooooliday armadillo!

Remember the glorious days not all that long ago when Justin Bieber’s voice was confined to assaulting the inside of his mom’s uterus and not our eardrums? I opened iTunes the other day to look for some good running music and was met with the invitation to purchase “Under the Mistletoe!” – the new musical turd Bieber has laid just in time for the holidays. Of course I had to hear for myself just how terrible it is, so I clicked on his version of everyone’s favorite dose of aural ipecac, “Little Drummer Boy” (featuring Busta Rhymes, because of course it does), and OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS. The song sucks anyway, so it really is remarkable that he was able to make me hate it even more. I had to do some serious soul-searching to be able to even bring myself to Google the lyrics to this song, but I did and here are some of my favorite parts:

(Busta)
At the table with the family, havin dinner,
Blackberry on our hip and then it gave a little flicker.
Then I took a look to see before it activates the ringer; Came to realize my homie Bieber hit me on the Twitter.
Then I hit him back despite I had some food up on my finger.

*A billion pa rum pa pum pums and semi-intelligible Busta-gruntings*

(Justin)
It’s crazy how some people say, say they don’t care,
When there’s people on the street with no food; it’s not fair….
It’s about time for you to give to charity.

I love that he and Busta rap us a cozy little scene of them texting about the importance of charity on their smartphones while surrounded by so much food it is literally sticking to their fingers. “Hey Justin, maybe we should donate some of our billions of dollars to starving homeless people this Christmas!” “Naw dude, let’s just tell OTHER people they should be generous in a song that makes us millions more dollars!” “The homeless street people are going to LOVE us when they open iTunes on their laptops and hear this shit!”

Despite Justin’s best effort to ruin my iTunes experience, I ended up buying several songs that are excellent to run to, including Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” OK Go’s “You’re so damn hot” and “Get over it,” and “Man Up” by The Blue Van (holy shit is this song awesome). Do you have favorite workout songs? Please tell me what they are because I’m going to be spending a lot of time on the treadmill now that the White Fudge Oreos have hit the shelves for the winter.