Category Archives: favorite

My Annual End-of-Year Music Post, Which I Again Did Incorrectly (Part 3 of 3)

Well, here we are, my little end-of-year hooligans! It’s the last of these posts. For this year, anyway. Who knows what will happen next year? No one, is who. It’s a good bet I’ll continue to listen to terrible music, though. It’s what I do, you see. It’s what I’ve always done and I can’t imagine it will change in 2013.

In news of flu, I am still dying, but maybe not dying as much. My fever was up all night, but today it’s down, so maybe I’m on the mend?  I still feel like utter crap. I called out from work today, which makes me feel terrible. Saturdays are really busy and they need me there. But if I went in, I’d a., cough and cough whenever I tried to talk, and b., probably get my germs all over everyone I work with in time for then to get the death flu for Christmas. That’s not fair to them. This shit is INSIDIOUS-contagious, yo.

Today’s goal is to take a shower, put on clothes, and order Chinese food (because I’m really wanting the soup.) And maybe clean the house a little since Mom and Dad are coming tomorrow to bring me presents. We’re supposed to go to dinner, too, but baby steps, darling sunshines. I haven’t eaten anything but toast and sugar-free jam in two days. Oh, and fruit punch. And I had a popsicle yesterday.

Also, when you’re sick and you have a fever and chills, are you aware the best thing ever is a hot shower? Like the hottest shower ever? I stood in the shower the last couple of days and just MOANED with how GOOD it was. I seriously at one point said “this is better than the best sex EVER, sorry, sex.” I wanted to stay in there forever and ever. Until I felt like I was going to pass out because I’d been standing for too long. I realize I probably should take a bath but I hate baths like crazy. I don’t know if I’ve taken a bath in years.

So these are my top ten songs of the year. These are the songs that I’ve listened to over and over and over on YouTube; these are the songs that, when they come on the radio, I turn the volume way up and sing along loudly and off-key (because that is how I sing because I know no other way.) These are my best songs of 2012. Which I hope are not too embarrassing and you will not all hate too much.

Let’s get started, then, shall we? Sure we shall.

10. “Love Interruption” – Jack White (Blunderbuss, 2012)

I want love to/forget that you offended me/or how you have defended me/when everybody tore me down

I do love Jack White. He makes me smile. This is an awesome song. And it’s not just about squishy-squishy love-love – it can be about any kind of love. It’s about how love just punches you in the stomach. I adore that. Also, and not at all on-topic, the album title Blunderbuss makes me laugh, because I call Dumbcat a blunderbuss all the time. I know it’s actually a gun, don’t be silly. I just think it sounds like what he is. He blunders. So he’s my blunderbuss.

9. “Fuckin’ Perfect” – Pink (Greatest Hits…So Far! – 2010)

Pretty, pretty please/If you ever, ever feel/Like you’re nothing/You’re fucking perfect to me

This is my song for all my most loved people. I often think, if only the people I love could see themselves through my eyes, they would never get down on themselves again, you know? Yes, I know. I know, it’s stupidly optimistic and things are never this easy and blah blah blah. But I still love this and the point is still valid. Also the video made me cry.

8. “5 Years Time” – Noah and the Whale (Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down – 2007)

Oh in 5 years time I might not know you/In 5 years time we might not speak

This is via Andreas. Andreas sent me wonderful music this year and this song has been listened to so many times. It’s both happy and melancholy; quirky and adorable and intelligent. I love it so much. Thank you, Andreas, you are wonderful.

7. “Rootless Tree” – Damien Rice (9, 2006)

Let me out of this hell when you’re around

This is an sj song. When sj discovered we had a mutual love of Damien Rice, she asked if I’d heard this song; I hadn’t, so she promptly sent it over. (I know most people, when they like a singer, listen to everything that singer ever did. I don’t. I mostly just listen to the song I discovered that I liked over and over and over. In Damien Rice’s case, that’s 9 Crimes and The Blower’s Daughter.) I love Damien Rice because he’s got this huge well of emotion in his voice. You listen to him and your heart just aches. I love when there’s that much emotion in a song, emotion so deep that it transfers itself onto you.

Also, any song that screams “Fuck you” over and over and over will always and forever win with me, because sometimes I need to yell that. Sorry. It’s just a true thing.

6. “Keep Your Heart Young” – Brandi Carlile (Bear Creek, 2012)

Don’t go growin’ old before your time has come/You can’t take back what you have done

Told you you’d probably hear Brandi Carlile again. This one’s a lot happier than the last one. Still with that bittersweet tinge to it that she does so well, but it makes me smile. A lot. I plan on keeping my heart young for a good long time. I think it might be the key to all things, honestly.

5. “I Won’t Give Up” – Jason Mraz (Love is a Four Letter Word – 2012)

I’m giving you all my love/I’m still looking up

This is going to make Ken SO DISGUSTED, as Jason Mraz totally assaulted him (sort of) recently. And listen. I HATE JASON MRAZ. Hate hate HATE. I hate all of these hippie singers. I lump all of them together, the Dave Matthews/Jason Mraz/Jack Johnson type singers who are all “Duuuuude” and laid-back and they annoy the shit out of me. But I really, really, REALLY like this song. The first time I heard this song, I was all, “Who’s this? I like this song.” So I did my Shazam thing (best app ever), and saw it was Jason Mraz, and was SO DISGUSTED with myself. But then I heard it again a couple days later and I thought, “I still really like this song. Dammit.” Then I heard it a lot over the next few weeks and months and I still really liked it. So sometimes, even if the singer makes you want to stick hot needles in your eyes, they do something you really like. Sorry, Ken. Most abject apologies. This is just a really pretty song.

4. “Jolene” – The White Stripes (B-side of “Hello Operator” single – 2004)

Well, you could have your choice of men, but I could never love again/he’s the only one for me, Jolene

This is my other top-ten sj song. She and I were talking about “Jolene” and she mentioned that she loved the White Stripes cover version of the song. “There’s a White Stripes version?” I said. She sent me over a link. I immediately fell head-over-heels in love and have listened to it a billion times since.

The original has been one of my favorite songs since childhood; the cover is AMAZING. The original is sad and wistful, but the cover is really raw and emotional and painful and (sorry, Dolly) how the song SHOULD be sung, in my most humble opinion. The White Stripes KILL this one. When I was researching this (as a side note) there were people online who were all “I can’t believe Jack White didn’t change the gender of the lyrics, this makes him sound like he’s gay.” Way to miss the point, assholes. Also, if he changed the gender of the lyrics, wouldn’t he have to change the title of the song to “Joseph” or something? Stupid.

3. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers (The Lumineers, 2012)

I belong with you; you belong with me; you’re my sweetheart

Ooh, look, The Lumineers are back. This is just a total joyous song. Joyous and fun and romantic and wonderful. It makes me so happy when it comes on the radio, I can’t even tell you.

2. “Somebody that I Used to Know” – Gotye featuring Kimbra (Making Mirrors, 2011)

But you didn’t have to cut me off/Make it like it never happened and that we were nothing

It made me laugh when this made it onto sj’s worst-of-2012 list, because I knew it was going to be in my top ten of the year. I ADORE this song. I’ve listened to this song over and over and over this year. I liked (shh, sj) the Glee cover they did this season. I loved seeing Gotye on Saturday Night Live. Did this song get overplayed? Yes, I guess it might have…but for those of us who loved it, we liked how much it was played. Also, it’s TRUE. The lyrics are true. I like that you get the male point of view, then the female point of view, on the breakdown of the relationship, and how they see it differently, because isn’t that always how it is? Also, both of their voices are amazing, and the video makes me smile. So, yeah. Love it.

(Also, the Walk off the Earth cover is worth a view, if only because it amazes me that they all use the same instrument. You’ve seen this, right? If not, check it out.)

1. “I Will Wait” – Mumford and Sons (Babel – 2012)

And I came home/Like a stone/And I fell heavy into your arms

And my best song of the year. I’ve listened to this song more this year than anything else all year long. I absolutely love it. Love more than I can even say. It’s gorgeous and it’s sad and it’s wistful and it’s joyous and it’s got everything I love in a song all rolled up into one. Over and over and over I’ve listened to this. It comes on the radio and I can’t turn it up soon enough and I sing along SO LOUDLY. Again, I’m well-aware people are all “Mumford and Sons are a stupid hipster band” but I don’t even care. Love them. So much.

There you go! Thanks for sticking with me for three full days of this! I hope I have not embarrassed any of you too badly. And if I did…well, love you to death, but I’m probably not going to become someone with good musical taste anytime soon. I like what I like. I’m lowbrow all the way.

Happy weekend, everyone!

My Annual End-of-Year Music Post, Which I Again Did Incorrectly (Part 1 of 3)

So, last year I did this, and I did it wrong.

Doing it again this year, and doing it again wrong. Don’t know any other way.

It’s the time of year for reflection and end-of-the-year best-ofs, and never let it be said I don’t jump off the cliffs with the rest of the lemmings, no no not me! It’s also the time of year I gather up all the various pieces of paper where I’ve written the names of all the songs I’ve loved this year, hit iTunes, download them all, and make many CDs for BFF, who looks forward to such things every year. (I also burn copies for myself so I can listen to them in the car all year long. I just listened to one of last year’s the other day and still rocked out. I have them going back four or five years, I think. They make me happy and they are excellent road-trip music.)

But, before you start reading my picks and wondering what the hell is wrong with me, you need an explanation.

  • I listen to terrible music.
  • I have very bad TASTE in music.
  • Probably you’re not going to like most of these.
  • Some of them are kind of embarrassing.
  • I think you’re supposed to narrow your picks down to your top 10 or something but I’m not at all capable of that.
  • I also think you’re supposed to only put on songs that came out in 2012 but I put on any song that I loved that I heard for the first time in 2012. This made me have to leave off one song that I love very much and that I’ve been listening to a lot over the last month, but I’d heard it before and that broke the rules. I’m really quite a rules-stickler. Especially when I make the rules.

The worst part of this is that I have two very close friends who are VERY GOOD at music and take it VERY SERIOUSLY. Why they still choose to spend any amount of time with me, I have no idea. So, in advance, Ken and sj, I send you all the apologies. There are going to be songs on here that make you put your hand over your mouth and make your eyes all wide and shake your head and say “no no oh Amy no no.” HOWEVER! There is at LEAST one song that will make you happy, Ken, and at least…I think…three?…songs that will make you happy, sj, because you introduced me to them this year, because you are both individuals of very good taste. You’ve both been excellent musical influences and I thank you kindly.

And now…without further ado…numbers 30-21. (If you’ve been paying attention, that means tomorrow you get numbers 20-11 and Saturday you get numbers 10-1. I know! I can totally count.)

30. “Bottom of the River” – Delta Rae (Carry the Fire, 2012)

Hold my hand/Ooh, baby, it’s a long way down to the bottom of the river

I like how old-timey this song sounds, plus I like the lead singer’s voice. She can belt, yo.

29. “Dizz Knee Land” – Dada (Puzzle, 1992)

I just robbed a grocery store/I’m going to dizz knee land

Sometimes I like songs that make me grin. Not usually; as you will soon be able to tell, I like the sad songs the most. A sad love song is my kryptonite. But sometimes I like to grin at a smart turn-of-phrase and a song that makes me laugh, and this song is one of those. Also, in 1992 I was starting college so that explains why I didn’t know about this until now. I went the longest time without paying attention to anything but parties and boys wearing flannel.

28. “Foolish Girl” – MaryLeigh & the Fauves (The Docks, 2011)

I’m a foolish girl for falling for a broken soul/Ravaged by a woman who stole his heart for her own

Sorry, you don’t get a pretty video for this one; it’s a local group and I heard them on the channel that plays the local music around here and fell in love with this song. So you have to be all old-school and click on the link and click on ANOTHER link and you don’t even get to see pretty PICTURES when you’re listening to it. It’s worth it, though. I promise. She has this pretty, clear, ethereal voice. I think you’ll like it.

27. “Home” – Phillip Phillips (The World from the Side of the Moon, 2012)

The trouble it might drag you down/If you get lost, you can always be found

Shush. I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS FROM AMERICAN IDOL, OK? I just heard the song on the radio and I like the part where the music swells and he’s all “settle down, it’ll all be clear” and he has a nice voice and I like the lyrics. I like the idea of home. I like to think about it. I like to think about what it means, what it means not only to me, but to others; I like to think about what it’s meant to me at different points in my life. Then I was researching this post and found out he was an American Idol winner and I was not the most proud of myself. But listen, Kelly Clarkson was an American Idol winner, and I love the hell out of her, so I guess sometimes it works out alright.

26. “I Could Be a King” – The Dunwells (Blind Sighted Faith, 2011)

I could be a king/I could be anything I want/I could be a poem/I could be some writing on the wall

I like this song because it’s joyous, but I also like the message. It’s optimistic and it’s also joyous. I’m not always doom and gloom. Sometimes I like a healthy dose of optimism. I know, try to control your shock and awe.

25. “Watching You Watch Him” – Eric Hutchinson (Moving Up, Living Down – 2012)

But I’m a window pane/A phantom limb/When I am watching you watch him

I like songs about yearning. It’s a thing with me. This is a very good yearning song. But it’s not total sap; it’s actually kind of fun and a little boppy. But with a sad, yearning message. So it doesn’t rip your heart out TOO much. Also, I like this guy’s nose. I do so have a thing for a guy with a good nose.

24. “Turn to Stone” – Ingrid Michaelson (Everybody, 2009)

And maybe we won’t feel so alone/Before we turn to stone

I saw Ingrid Michaelson this year and fell even deeper in love with her than I already was. She’s fantastic. I can’t say enough good things. She’s fun and she has an amazing voice and she writes kickass songs that make you smile and sometimes make you weep (this is one of the sadder ones) and I’ve been listening to her a lot this year. I can’t guarantee she’s not going to pop up again on this list later on. No, I cannot guarantee that at all.

23. “Someone to Love” – Fountains of Wayne (Traffic and Weather, 2007)

Don’t give out/Don’t give up/One of these nights/You might find someone to love

Honestly? I totally like this song because it says “Schenectady” in it. How can you not like a song that says “Schenectady” in it? The answer is, you cannot HELP but love such a song, especially if you live right NEAR Schenectady. (Plus I strangely love this band. They remind me of bros, but I think they’re fun and kind of weird.)

22. “(I’d Go the) Whole Wide World” – Wreckless Eric (A Bunch of Stiff Records, 1977)

I’d go the whole wide world/Just to find her

This one’s roundabout credit to Andreas. He told me this year I should find and watch Stranger Than Fiction, which I did (and I loved.) If  you’ve seen the movie, you know this is the song that Will Ferrell uses to eventually court (and win) Maggie Gyllenhaal. (If not, I just spoiled you. Sorry. See it anyway, if only to understand what “I brought you some flours” means.) I totally fell in love with this song and had no idea it was from when I was a wee, wee Amy, and before there was even an Amy’s brother. Oh, well. According to my rules, it can still go on the list. That’s why my rules are very GOOD rules.

21. “Flathead” – The Fratellis (Costello Music, 2007)

They don’t come much more sick than you/I could go on if you want me to

This one is loud and fun and makes me bop around. Listen, after all that sadness, sometimes I need to bop around, can you even blame me? No you cannot.

THERE YOU GO MY LITTLE SONGBIRDS! Tomorrow, ten MORE. Oh, what a wondrous time of year, where everyone thinks they are a critic. (For the record, I don’t think I’m a critic. I just thought it would be fun in a terrible way to tell you what I’ve been obsessed with this year. And I promise…they get better from here.)

Who wants to win a major award? Or, barring that, a box of awesome crap?

Happy Sunday, people of the football! 

It is a very special Sunday. What? Why is that, Amy? You ask.

Is it because it is Ken’s homecoming day, and he is safe-and-sound back at home in Germany? No. I mean, that is awesome (although I will miss having him only one hour time-zone-wise away.) Merka has been happy to have Ken here for the past few weeks, and now Ken gets to go home to Mrs. Ken and his happy dogs. And someday, maybe soon, there will be a new bon vivant post, who knows. But, no. Although those are all wonderful things, and WELCOME HOME, KEN!, that is not why this is a very special Sunday.

The answer is, because today kicks off LUCY’S FOOTBALL BLOGGIVERSARY WEEK!!!!

Whaaa? It’s been a YEAR? A year since this nonsense started? That’s crazysauce. That can’t be true? 

Oh, I assure you it is. 

A year ago next Sunday, on June 10, 2011, I published my very first post. Which was not very good at all and kind of not even all that funny or informative or interesting or worthwhile. I’m not even linking to it. It’s not like you can’t find it if you try. But I assure you it’s not worth your time. But! ANYWAY! I still published it. 

What? You want the origin story of the blog? Sheesh, it’s like you think this is a superhero comic or something, what the hell. OK. I love your faces, I’ll give it to you. I think I’ve told you a little, here and there and all around the square over the year, but I’ll put it all in one place. 

I was afraid of the internet for a very long time. No, no, not the internet, so much as social media. Because of the killers. And the strangers. But in 2010, I joined Facebook. Which you all hate with the fire of a thousand suns. I know. I know you do, my little marshmallow peeps. But everyone was always TALKING about it. I wanted to be in the know for once in my life! 

And once I was in the know, it was like a snowball of want. I wanted MORE of being in the know. MORE MORE MORE. 

So I got a smartphone. Then I could text! And check Facebook on my phone! And play Angry Birds, which I totally got rid of not long afterward because it was a., sucking up all my free time and my phone battery and b., making Angry Amy because THOSE EFFING SMUG PIGS! (I don’t have very good hand-eye coordination.Please try to control your shock and awe.) 

Stupid smug mocking pigs that just won’t die. Argh.

Then I realized I was not using my phone to its full potential. So I thought, huh. I will try out this Twitter thing that everyone’s always going on about. I asked on Facebook, “Hey, what do you all think about Twitter?” and, as always, most people ignored me. But a few were all, “TWITTER IS LE SUCK” and to them, I say, “YOU WERE DOING IT WRONG.” 

So I joined Twitter. And for a little while, it was like talking into a hole, because, no followers. But then, a few followers! People to talk to! Lovely people, some of which I still talk to, a year later, that’s like a record for me! And then, one of the famous people I follow (Joe Hill, sigh) tweeted about a book club. For geeks! I’m a geek. And I like books! So I joined. And I met so many amazing men and women. And things snowballed. Again. 

My people. Love, love, love.

Now, I’ve read a lot of blogs on and off over the years. But the three that I never missed (well, once I found them, of course – I mean, I didn’t know about them before I knew about them, don’t be absurd) were The Bloggess, Blogography, and Kevin Marshall’s America. I liked all three for different reasons, but all three were (are) well-written, funny, and intelligent. Even when I took internet breaks (I did that, back in the day – I’d forget it existed, because I didn’t have internet access at home) I’d make sure, when I did have access, to catch up on their blogs. 

One day I realized, huh. You know, I know I couldn’t write like they do? But I could write like I do. And my friends, who were often subjected to insanely-long rambling emails from me, were always telling me I should blog. And I had a small captive audience of Twitter followers who I thought might enjoy what I had to say. And if they didn’t – well, hell, I could always stop. Or I could just write for me, I suppose. I’d started a blog years before, but it was private. So kind of just a journal. (SIDE NOTE, I totally looked in on that the other day. There were about 10 entries – 5 or 6 were total baby-Lucy’s-Football entries, so that’s proof I was this before I was this, and the rest were kind of just sad? I apparently had a sad period I’ve forgotten about. Then I completely forgot I had it.) 

I also had no plan. None. Not even the germ of a plan. Not even a plan-lette. I know most people go into blogging with an idea in mind. Like, I think I will review books! I like to cook, let’s talk about my adventures in the kitchen! I LIKE TO CAPTION ANIMAL PHOTOS WITH FUNNY ALL-CAPS! Nope. I thought, let’s talk about shit. And see what happens. I guess that was kind of a plan. An ill-thought-out plan, but sort of a plan.  So it’s sorta social, demented and sad, but social. Right? Oh, crap, The Breakfast Club slipped in again. That keeps HAPPENING. Dammit.

Oh, swoon. Also, Judd Nelson was such a baby here! Look how young!

(And, side note, I totally did not go into this planning on blogging every day. But I realized, early on, if I didn’t, it would die a quick, forgotten death, like many of my other hobbies. Crochet. Beading. Scrapbooking. All of which I got TOTALLY JAZZED ABOUT ZOMG, bought all the paraphernalia for, then abandoned about three months in because I got bored as shit. Well, except crochet. I still pick that up now and then. And probably will again, someday. I’m really, really good at it. Like, if there were crochet Olympics? I’d win those. ALL THE GOLD FOR ME. I also did not plan the all-caps. Ooh, later in the week, I’ll tell you the story of the all-caps. Did I tell you this yet? I wonder if I did. I don’t think I did. I’ll tell you again anyway, my memory’s for shit.) 

Yeah, I could make these. I can make afghans. I CAN MAKE CLOTHES. I’m really the best at this. I’m not even kidding.

My Twitter people started to read it. Then a few more people started to read it. And then a few more. And then commenting started. Then I got more followers. People whose blogs I admired because they are WAY funnier than I am started reading and commenting. I switched from a shitty blogging platform to a better one where people could comment without wanting to beat their brains out against a metal partition. And dammit, was I having the best time? Just the best. I was looking forward to blogging every day. It was (and remains) the favorite part of my day. It hasn’t started to feel like work. I suppose, when it does, I’ll stop. But no end in sight yet. 

I made friends. Through Twitter and through blogging. Fellow bloggers, non-bloggers, all the people. Wonderful, funny, creative, supportive, fantastic people that I would never have known otherwise. 

And I seem to have made people laugh. This, to me, is the ultimate win, only because it’s what I like to do more than anything in the world. I mean, sure, I like to eat delicious food items and I like to snuggle Dumbcat and I like to sleep, but I really, really like to make people laugh. You know that high that runners say they get? Or I suppose people who regularly have sex get, not that I would know about that at all dammit? I get that from making people laugh. My endorphins are probably broken in that they don’t work how they’re supposed to, but that sure does make them kick up their little endorphin-feet. 

Endorphins aren’t as much fun as the name implies. I thought they’d look more like a dolphin.

(Not that a person can make people laugh every day. If I could do that, I suppose this would be a better blog. Or at least a more focused one. Sometimes I serious it up because I don’t feel laughy. And you seem to like those posts, too. Huh. You’re all very understanding. I like you a lot.) 

Somehow, through no fault of my own, I have built an amazing network of readers. I don’t know how this happened. I feel like the Pied Piper of Hamelin some days, but instead of leading you all to your watery death, I just don’t know what to DO with all of you. You’re all so wonderful! And I don’t deserve you! Not a single one of you! And look at you all with your little happy expectant faces and smiles and supportive comments and awesome ways! I’m a hell of a lucky woman. 

I promise I will not drown you. I don’t know how to play a pipe anyway.

SO, as it is BLOGGIVERSARY WEEK, I want to do SOMETHING to commemorate the one-year anniversary of awesomeness. I thought and thought and thought. If I were more prepared or more creative, I would come up with some sort of Easter Egg hunt or trivia game or a Where’s Waldo of my blog or SOMETHING that would not only be fun but it would get me more pageviews and potentially more readers, but listen, that seems like a hell of a lot of work and who has the time for something like that? I’ve got world domination to plan. Oh, wait, not world domination? Just a trip to New York? Shit, shit, you’re absolutely right, not world domination. 

So instead of something creative and awesome, I’m going to do this all easy and simple-like. 

Comment on this post and you can totally win a package, packaged up and mailed by me me and no one else but me, of anniversary goodies, as a thank you for helping me make this one of the absolute most joyous years of my entire life.

What’s in the package? I have no idea. I told you I’m not prepared. I’ve got a lot on my mind, yo. 

It’s my first anniversary and the traditional gift for such, according to some dumbass site I found online, is paper. So I’ll put something paper in there. Susie and I are going to The Strand when we’re in the City, so I’ll probably put in a book. The modern gift is supposed to be clocks. I don’t know that I’ll put a clock in there. A clock seems like a very stupid gift. Maybe I’ll draw you a damn clock, I don’t know what the hell. 

Here’s a clock. Now I don’t have to put one in there.

What else will be in there? YOU DON’T KNOW. (And neither do I because I haven’t purchased a single thing yet nor made a single solid plan.) Candy, probably. Some sort of goodies I’m picking up in New York with Susie. Something local to reflect where I live, maybe? A little stuffed Dumbcat? Something Lucy related? Something football related? A CD of wonderful music? A very special mini-post I write JUST FOR YOU? I DO NOT KNOW. It might even vary depending on who wins, to tell you the truth. So, it’s like a mystery box of wonder, really. Who doesn’t want a mystery box of wonder? Listen, ask BFF. He’ll tell you. I totally make the best surprise gift boxes. Ever. 

So. Let’s make some rules.

  1. Comment on this post. It only counts if you comment on this post, not any of the other posts this week. It has to be THIS POST. Or you’re not included in the prize drawing. And even if you comment 47 kabillion times, you only get one entry. We have to be fair about this. Also, I know I have a lot of lurkers, because I see my stats, but only a handful of you comment. Un-lurk, even if it’s just this one time. You could win a prize! And, who knows, you might like commenting so much that you come back and play with us regularly, wouldn’t that be great? Yes it would!
  2. Oh, as to what to comment on the post? Whatever. Say SOMETHING, or it’s kind of asshatty. I hate those people that you know just comment to win something. They’re all “hi gud blogg” and you’re like WHATEVER SLAPPY. Those people are like the starfuckers of blog giveaways. Although, yeah, I suppose those people probably will be entered into the drawing. But I won’t be all that gleeful if one of them win. I’m not asking you to write a damn comedic monologue, but the more fun it is to read, the more gleeful I’m going to be if you win, you know? Don’t you want to see me gleeful? Of course you do! IT’S MY BLOGGIVERSARY!
  3. Let’s see. You have until…um…Friday the 8th at midnight E.S.T. to comment. That’ll give me time to do the drawing and write you a pretty actual-anniversary-post for Sunday.
  4. Because I live alone and have no one to oversee the drawing except Dumbcat and he’s totally biased and therefore, if one of my favorite people/usual suspects wins and you’re all VOTER FRAUD! VOTER FRAUD! and that would make me sadface and totally ruin my anniversary and why do you have to be an asshole, anyway?, I will BREAK IN MY WEBCAM (ok, kind of again, I already used it a couple times to make sure I could) and videotape the entire drawing for you and put it in the post so you can see it all go down. I think the drawing will entail something really, really hi-tech like me assigning you all numbers based on the order in which you commented, cutting the numbers out, putting them in a colander, and then picking one, but YOU will get to SEE IT HAPPEN. Also, you’ll get to see my crazy eyes and unruly hair and messy kitchen table. Won’t that be fun? It’s like a little added anniversary bonus.
  5. No limits on where you live. It’s not going to be a huge package and I’ll mail it wherever. YES EVEN THE MOON. However, if you’re freaked out about me having your address, either enter and be prepared with an alternate address where I can’t come and chop you into little bits, or don’t enter at all. (SIDE NOTE: I won’t come and chop you into little bits. I don’t even have gas money to get to work half the time, and I’m really lazy. Axe-murder would EXHAUST me.)
  6. Wheaton’s Law applies. Don’t be a dick. I reserve the right, if you’re a dick, to assign you a number, then rip that number into little pieces and throw them in the river. What river? The Hudson, duh. Where the radioactive fish live.

    I’m not saying we have those three-eyed “Simpsons” fish, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

  7. I will announce the winner on Sunday the 10th. A week from today. On my actual bloggiversary. With a video! And much rejoicing! And beseech you to send me your contact info. (If you don’t send it in a timely fashion, I will have to re-draw, it’ll be a huge mess, so make sure you check back if you enter! Or I will start stalking you via the contact info you left to comment! IT WILL NOT BE PRETTY!) I may take a week or two to mail it out, because, well, I haven’t bought the stuff for it all yet and I want it to be awesome. But IT WILL BE MAILED OUT. And you’re not even allowed to complain, it’s a free box of awesomeness. 

I think that’s it. What am I missing? Comment, drawing, win something as-yet-undetermined but undeniably awesome. If I’m missing something or you have questions, ask. Email’s at the bottom of the blog, or in the comments, or on Twitter, or on Facebook. I’m all over, yo. I’ll be sending plenty of reminders over the next week for people to enter this, so it’s not like you will forget. ENTER! This is exciting and will be total fun times. 

Now, I also want to do a little spotlight dealio on my top 7 posts over the year. I thought that would be fun, and also an enlightening look into the minds of my readers, right? Totally. So, based on my stats (unfortunately, this is just based on the posts that have been clicked on – I can’t tell when someone clicks on the main blog itself, obviously, what post they’re reading), here is the year’s seventh most popular post.

This is likely the only back-to-school fashion article you’re going to read with unicorn sweaters in it 

So, what have we learned about what you like, based on this post? Other than the formatting’s all wonky because it was imported from Blogger and no matter what I do, I can’t fix it, and listen, I’m exhausted from trying, so I’m just going to stop? You can still read it. It’s just a little smooshed. 

Really awful back-to school fashion? Me making fun of children? How old I am that I don’t get what the kids are wearing these days? I don’t know. I like this post, though. Mostly because these clothes are TERRIBLE, yo. Those are some tight pants. Also, UNICORN SWEATERRRRR. 

Oh, shit, that totally reminds me, I promised Jim I would find junior-high photos of myself and post them here. Will do. Might take a while – I think they might be in the ALBUM OF SHAME at my parents’ house and I don’t go home again until August. But they’ll be here eventually. I was a very…um…interesting-looking child. Let’s just say that. Let’s leave it there. Also, BOWL CUT. 

So, anyway. It’s my bloggiversary week! Whoo-hoo! Don’t worry, the posts this week will not be all this obnoxious, they’ll be somewhat normal, I promise. Let the fun begin! Comment away!

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.

It’s almost New York City time – less than a week! I’d say I was getting excited, but that’s really an understatement. I’ve BEEN excited. I suppose you could say I’m getting MORE excited. As each day passes, more butterflies move into my tummy and start doing the Riverdance. The Riverdance? Or just Riverdance? What do you think? Eh, who cares, they’re Riverdancing up a storm, all fluttering and clogging and shit with their little butterfly-feet.

Damn you, Riverdancing butterflies. DAMN YOU.

I was doing a little research recently for the trip so Susie and her husband and I can just pop on the subway and zip zam zoom around to wherever we need to be (I’m not ANTI-walking, but I also might die, and don’t especially want to die, you know? Since I don’t walk a lot? Also, that’s what the subway is for. Transporting lazy people from here to there. And also? Peoplewatching!) and I was taking notes like “take the F train” and “take the 4 train” and “exit at 14th Street/Union Square Station” and I got reminiscey. 

Listen, I love New York City. I love it. If I had the money to do it justice? I’d leave where I live in a minute and I’d live there without a second thought. And you all know how much I love where I live. I’m a huge Capital District supporter. I’ve never loved anywhere I’ve lived more, and don’t plan on living anywhere else ever. But New York City makes me so happy. 

When I was a kid living in the middle of nowhere (Middle of Nowhere! Population as of last census: 1,676! No, I’m not kidding. The population of the ENTIRE TOWN WHERE I GREW UP is the size of SOME OF YOUR HIGH SCHOOLS) I read. A lot. And some of the books I read were about big cities. And I dreamed of someday going to a big city, and what that might be like. Scary, I thought. Probably really, really scary. Killers would lurk in every dark alley! Men would try to SELL ME MARIJUANA CIGARETTES! There would be PROSTITUTES! PROSTITUTING!

Man, I couldn’t wait to go. 

I’d been to a couple of cities before I went to New York for the first time – Syracuse, Toronto, Montreal, Binghamton. (Don’t you even tell me some of those aren’t real cities. When you grew up in a town where you went to kindergarten with the same people you graduated with, anything with a building taller than three stories was A VERY BIG PLACE.) Toronto was pretty. Montreal was nice. Syracuse was ok. Binghamton was gray and kind of dirty (but oh, how I loved it there, the five years it was my home.) But, freshman year of college, a few months into the semester, one of the girls in my dorm asked if I wanted to go home with her for one of the Jewish holidays, to see a concert. She lived in the Bronx. 

“We’d go to New York City?” I asked. 

She laughed. “The Bronx IS New York City,” she said. “But yes, of course. We’ll go into Manhattan. I’ll show you around the Bronx. We’ll take the subway. We’ll see Times Square. All the touristy stuff, if you want.” 

Oh, I wanted. I so wanted. 

I honestly don’t remember how we got there. It’s been twenty years. The bus, I’m thinking? I thought for sure she’d live in an apartment like I’d seen on all the sitcoms. Probably with a lot of garbage cans outside. And rats? Probably there’d be rats. I was prepared for rats. I WAS A BADASS COLLEGE KID NOW DAMMIT. 

Her family lived in a very nice house. A house! In the Bronx! Not even an apartment! She even had a teeny tiny lawn! A lawn-let! 

We went into Manhattan. We rode the subway. They were still using tokens back then. Remember tokens? I wish I’d saved some. I’d love to have a subway token of my very own right now.

She bought me my first egg cream. We saw a concert at Radio City Music Hall. We walked until our legs hurt. 

My mouth is watering for one of these right now. SUSIE! You have GOT to have an egg cream. HAVE TO!

I feel madly, passionately, crazily, forever in love with New York City. 

It’s a city you can get lost in. No one cares. For a girl from a small town where everyone was always watching everything she did? This was a revelation. NO ONE CARED. You could strip down naked and run down 42nd Street and no one would bat an eye. They were too busy doing their own thing. There was always something happening. You couldn’t see enough. I felt like I was walking around with huge eyes and craning my neck and constantly at risk of tripping over my own feet because I wanted to see EVERYTHING. (Psst, I totally still feel like that, only I restrain myself so I don’t look touristy.) A whole STORE just for PAINTBRUSHES. An entire WAREHOUSE just for LIGHTBULBS. People selling things on streetcorners! People walking super-fast! Businessmen! Kids in little school uniforms! So much theater! Another hundred people getting off of the train! 

I couldn’t live there, though. I knew that. Oh, not that I didn’t WANT to. But in order to live there, I’d have to have the money to make living there worthwhile. I’d want to go out and do things. I’d want to see shows and go to concerts and go to the fanciest of fancy restaurants and on whatever salary someone in clerical would get (which is, let’s face it, pretty much what I’ll be doing until I go toes-up) I’d be lucky if I could afford an apartment and something to eat that wasn’t peanut butter or popcorn. I’d want to do New York City justice, were I to live there. So I don’t. But I would. If that ship that I’m pretty sure sank years ago ever comes in? See you, Capital District. I love you, I truly do. But I’ll be living in New York City and visiting you every now and again. 

After that, I went back whenever I could. I went with some friends to see some shows a couple of years later and a man thought I was a prostitute and asked me “how much?” which alternately amused and horrified me. (In his defense, my sundress was pretty risqué.) I had a job where I was required to go to our satellite office in the City once a month or so for a while, and I felt SO FANCY, taking the train with the business people, walking all official-like to the office, getting buzzed up to their floor in the office building like a real PERSON doing a real THING like a real JOB or something. I kept thinking that there were probably videocameras following me, because something this cool couldn’t happen to me. Country mouse! I was country mouse! This was NOT ALLOWED! 

I went and stayed with a friend who lives there for a long weekend once. He’s a bigwig. Like, a total bigwig. We did the town right. Broadway show. Fancy dinner. Again, I felt like I didn’t belong. But that’s ok, because I often feel like I don’t belong in my own life, so at least I was feeling like I didn’t belong in a FABULOUS life. 

I went for a long weekend with BFF. We played tourist for five days. That was the best trip I’d ever had. I highly recommend, if you’ve never done it, going to a city you don’t live in, but you love, with your closest friend someday. You will have adventures and you will laugh until you cry and you will talk until you fall asleep and you will make the best memories. We ate amazing food and we walked until we were too sore to move and we touristed everything there was to tourist and we took every subway known to man and it was the best. Just the best. 

I’ve gone for the day to shop. I’ve gone for the day to watch a show. I love living where I do, because even though I can’t afford to go very often, if I want to go, it’s not far. Just a trip of a few hours. It’s right there.

Not long after I moved here, I went with a group of friends for the fourth of July. I didn’t know them well. They went every year. They did their thing, and I had friends to see, so I went and did my thing for a while, and we met back up in the evening for fireworks and drinks. They collapsed and slept away most of the day on the fifth. Since I hadn’t been drinking much – I came in late to the drinking portion of the evening – I woke up early. The fifth was a Sunday. I crept quietly out of the hotel room, tiptoeing around so as not to wake anyone, and out onto the streets, looking for coffee and some breakfast, maybe the paper. I knew my friends would be out for a while. There had been some…um…upchucking the night before. The bathroom wasn’t looking great. Or smelling like a rose. Let’s just say that. 

I walked out onto the street and it was just me and some street cleaners, cleaning up the red plastic cups and the beer bottles from the night before. The sun was coming up. The streets were bare in the part of town where we were staying. (It was right down by the South Street Seaport, if that means anything to people savvy to the ways of New York. Our hotel was right near the water.) You could see the Brooklyn Bridge from where we were. It was sparkly in the sun. There was mist coming up from the water. 

And it was so QUIET. Even if you’ve never been to New York City, you’ve been to SOME city, at some point, I’m sure. They’re not quiet. They’re never quiet. They seethe, no matter what time of day it is. That morning, the City was so, so quiet. Everyone was sleeping off the festivities from the night before. The businesses hadn’t quite opened for the day yet. There was the sound of the hoses from far away street cleaners, the occasional groan of their trucks as they moved from one area to another. The sound of the river. The sound of traffic from streets away, muffled by buildings. And only me, walking around the street. I felt like an explorer. I felt like the City was mine. 

I found a little shop that was open and got a coffee and a bagel, and a copy of the Post (it was too pretty of a day for the Times, which is SRS BSNS, yo), and sat on a bench, in a street that was all mine, and ate my bagel and drank my coffee and just kept looking up, and it was warm but not hot, and breezy but not too windy, and perfect. Just utter and complete perfection. I had my MP3 player but I didn’t turn it on. I listened to the sounds of the city waking up. It was better music than I’d brought with me. 

I wasn’t out there for more than an hour. People started to show up, stroll the street; shops started to open. Garbage trucks started garbaging. Cars started honking. People sat on the benches around mine, then someone asked to sit at my bench, and the day belonged to everyone else again. 

But I’d had that hour. I’ve lived a lot of hours in my life, and some were wonderful, and some were interminable, and some I’d like to never think about again, but that one is one of my favorites, and I go back and I dwell in it, every now and then, when I need a little peace. It was like peeking backstage of a flashy Broadway show, or seeing a rockstar chatting with an old friend at a bar; it was the City without its makeup on, without its sequins and sparkle and glitter. And it was beautiful and it was stately and it was fine, and it was all mine. Just for an hour. It was magic. Just true, absolute, everyday magic. That happens now and then, you know? I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I know I probably won’t again. Well, until the rapture comes, I suppose, and there’s no one left but me and the rest of the sinners, and won’t we have fun in our quiet, quiet world? 

I can’t wait to see New York City with Susie. We’d have a great time anywhere, up to and including meeting in an abandoned truck stop in North Dakota haunted by thunderwolves, most likely, but it makes me happy the first time I’m meeting her is in my favorite place in all the world. I can’t wait to make more memories there, and I can’t wait to make them with her. Five days, Secret Sibling! FIVE DAYS!

(Title is a Thomas Wolfe quote. I can’t write something that lovely. Nope, not me.)

Rites of Spring

Here we are. Sunday! And a lovely Sunday it is. Birds are chirping! The sun is…well, it’s not really shining, but it’s trying to, if the damn clouds would get out of the way. A person barely needs a coat!

I’m going to say it, even though I’m probably risking the wrath of the weather gods in doing so. SPRING HAS SPRUNG, my little chickadees!

I’m so excited about this I can barely sit down for the time it takes in order to write this post. Eh, who am I kidding, I love sitting down.

Spring is my favorite season of them all. I like summer, except I hate heat because who likes to be sweaty unless you’re doing something a little naughty that makes you sweaty? I mean, walking to the car should not make you sweaty. There’s nothing naughty about that. I like fall, except it leads to winter. And I HATE WINTER. I hate snow and I hate cold and I hate wind and I hate ice and I hate heavy coats and boots and hats and all things related to winter. Except hot cocoa. I’m down with hot cocoa.

But spring! Spring is just the best thing. It’s like a gift to us all from nature. The air smells like a promise. Beautiful things start to grow. Trees start to shyly peek green at us. You can open the windows and your place can smell a little less like you’ve been cooped up in it for months and months and a little more like humans ought to live in it. There are mud puddles and sometimes crazy wind and rain storms and it’s all very exciting and very new. I never get tired of spring. I’d live in a year-round spring climate, if there was such a thing somewhere.

They're like a little surprise! A little nature surprise!

I know this year we didn’t really have a winter, so you’d think I wouldn’t be as excited about spring springing, but I totally still am. SO EXCITED! I have got the worst spring fever. Yesterday at work I did NOT want to stay inside. Obviously, that isn’t an option, as we work in a call center. I mean, it’s not like you can move a whole computer and phone setup to the picnic table. But OH how I wanted to try. It was BEAUTIFUL outside. I want a dog all the time, but more so in the spring, so we can go adventuring and smell all the smells and see all the sights. I want to feed the ducks to thank them for coming back for another year. I want to hug strangers. OK, that’s one step too far. I’m not hugging any damn strangers. But I can’t say the thought doesn’t cross my mind. I AM FILLED WITH SPRING FEVER.

I used to love a boy who loved Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. I think I kind of fell in love with him starting with that factoid, honestly. He was writing an epic poem based on the music. Tell me you wouldn’t have fallen in love with a deep, dark, twisty blue-eyed poet writing beautiful words based on an almost century-old musical work. You can’t tell me that, because it would be LIES.

So today I was poking around online, you know, as one does when one lives in the internet, and found a list of things that cultures and religions do to usher in spring. Well! THAT is exciting. Since the spring equinox is Tuesday, we should probably celebrate. Here are some things we can do. Ready? SHUT UP, YES YOU ARE.

In Japan, March 20 is Vernal Equinox Day. It is a NATIONAL HOLIDAY. Are you LISTENING, Merka? Japan gives the FIRST DAY OF SPRING as a NATIONAL DAMN HOLIDAY. I approve, Japan. I highly approve. Let’s see what Japan does on their amazing, springy, day off from work.

Um. They spend the day visiting family graves and holding family reunions.

I take it BACK. Japan! Way to ruin a beautiful spring day. No one wants to fight with Aunt Matilda over how salty her baked beans are while visiting a cemetery on their day off. Day off FAIL. Sigh.

(Apparently, they also take some time to look at the cherry blossoms. OK, I’m a little less down on Vernal Equinox Day now. Because, look!)

Nowruz is the Iranian New Year, celebrated around March 21. The first thing that is done to celebrate Nowruz is a huge spring cleaning. Well, I’m down with spring cleaning. This place has more cat fur in it than you can even imagine. Dumbcat is SHEDDY, you guys. OK, cool, so we’re spring-cleaned. Then what, Nowruz? Then we buy new clothes and a whole bunch of spring flowers. LISTEN. This is awesome! I want to clean my whole house, then dress up all fancy and get some blooms. This is going great so far.

Then people go to visit their friends and neighbors while wearing their fanciest clothing and give each other gifts. WHAT KIND OF AWESOME HOLIDAY IS THIS. Because I totally want in. The best part is? People visit each other “in the form of short house visits.” SHORT house visits. Like, you don’t even have time to get SICK of your visitors! I like this so much, Nowruz. Wikipedia says the visits are half an hour. Awesome, I could totally visit with anyone for half an hour without getting stabby. Also, GIFTS! And “pastry, cookies, fresh and dried fruits and special nuts, tea or sherbet”! I am SO DOWN WITH NOWRUZ.

Look at this fun display! I want some of these things. The lamp makes me laugh, though. HI, LAMP.

In Egypt, the beginning of spring, Sham el-Nessim, ALSO A NATIONAL HOLIDAY, AHEM, MERKA, is celebrated with picnicking in gardens, along the Nile, or in a zoo (OK! Yes, please, Egypt, I want to picnic in a zoo), and a delicious meal of fish, lettuce, onions, beans, and colored eggs is consumed on your delicious zoo-picnic. I like that colored eggs are like a universal sign of spring, don’t you? So cheerful.

Don't Easter eggs totally make you more cheerful? What, they do. It's like a RULE.

Oh, hey, this one’s for Andreas! Look, Andreas, these are your ancestors! According to Wikipedia, there was a Scandinavian “sacrificial holiday” on the Vernal Equinox called Dísablót. I like how they don’t come right out and SAY what that means but if you read between the lines I’m pretty sure it means they were sacrificing people so that they could have better crops. Andreas! What’s going on with this? Apparently, Valkyries and kings with harmonious names like Alfr were involved. And now, instead of sacrificing people, there’s an annual market in Uppsala. Samesies! Hey, I remember Uppsala! They mentioned it in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I think. THIS IS ALL VERY EXCITING. I want to go to a Scandinavian market with roots in a bloody sacrificial holiday! What could I buy there, I wonder? Man, Andreas’s ancestors have ALL the fun. I don’t even know who mine WERE. Grump. Grump.

Look, here's the market. I was going to put in a picture of the "sacrificial holiday" but to be frank they scared the beejeebers out of me.

Oh, shit, and, AND, apparently, there’s a World Storytelling Day around the Vernal Equinox and it started in Sweden. But obviously now it’s WORLD Storytelling Day. Well, THAT’S exciting. I like stories. And telling of stories. This year’s topic? “Trees.” I think I could tell a very exciting story about trees. I don’t think it would be along the lines of what they were looking for, though. It would have more chicanery. And nefariousness. Probably more spies, too. And douchecanoes. Let’s be frank, I’d be kicked out of the conference.

Apparently in Maryland, where I am TOTALLY GOING THIS SUMMER, they have a “burning of the socks” ceremony at the Vernal Equinox every year. The fancy boat people have to wear socks all winter. They don’t like that. So when the spring hits, they burn their socks. Now, listen, Maryland, I am torn about this. A., I hate socks and would walk around sockless for the rest of forever if given the opportunity. Also shoeless. I’m like a damn hippie about not wearing shoes, if given the opportunity. HOWEVER. I love socks. I know, isn’t it ironic, Alanis Morrissette? I have a whole DRAWER of wacky socks. I LOVE wacky socks. I have cat socks and Wallace and Gromit socks and Goonies socks and penguin socks and frog socks and turtle socks. ALL THE SOCKS.

The sheer fact that this popped up when I did a search for it worries me.

So I’m kind of six of one, half a dozen of the other on the sock-burning issue. (SIDE NOTE – I can NOT, for the life of me, get that saying right. I always say, “I’m five percent of one, a dozen of the other on that.” Or something like that. It’s different every time. And my coworkers are all, “You’re WHAT?” and look at me like I’m nuts. I AM NOT GOOD AT THINGS THAT INVOLVE NUMBERS AND METAPHORS AT THE SAME TIME OR SOMETHING. Leave me BE.)

And of course we have the Wiccan celebration of Ostara. Sound like anything you’ve heard of? Anyone? Anyone? YES YOU IN THE BACK. Oh, Easter? Yes, you win a bag of Cadbury Mini-Eggs (what, they’re only the perfect candy.)

The pagan celebration of Ostara, celebrated on the Vernal Equinox, was co-opted into Easter by the Christians, because they had to quick quick like a bunny make all the pagans be Christian, but the pagans didn’t want to give up ALL their holidays! So they just said, here, we’ll pop Christ on the cross around the same date as your Ostara, who knows what time of year that all really happened, it was so long ago, we’ll call it Easter, those sound similar, and hell, we’ll even let you keep your pagan bunnies and eggs and chicks and shit. Are we cool? ARE WE COOL, PAGANS? Because if we’re not, we’ll totally kill you.

And the pagans were all, um, yeah, we’re cool. Guess we’re cool. Guess so.

Ostara is the celebration of the Vernal Equinox. It’s totally joyous. It’s when the Goddess and God reunite. It’s totally a sexy holiday, you guys. It’s a holiday of fertility and reunion and all good things. You know why bunnies and eggs are the symbol of Easter, right? Not because of Jesus. What does Jesus have to do with bunnies and eggs? Nothing. Because SEX, that’s why. Because pagans and sex. Who doesn’t want a sexy holiday filled with sex? Also, Eostre (sounds like Easter, right? Because it IS) is the goddess of fertility. You want to hear about a sexy goddess. She’s one hot mama. Eostre is this voluptuous sensual goddess of fertility and sex. Wherever she steps, she leaves green GRASS and FLOWERS, she’s so damn fertile. Whoo.

I like Ostara. I like Ostara very much.

Did we learn anything today? No, not much. Other than listen, GO OUTSIDE. The air smells like magic. There’s squelchy mud. Flowers are coming up. You can’t be sad, because you can sense something’s coming, something bright and beautiful and shiny and new.

Also, if all else fails, go get some Mini-Eggs. Nothing’s wrong with a little candy-covered chocolate in your mouthhole. NOTHING.

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