Archive for the 'music' Category

It sneaks up on you

I have a problem.

Actually, I have many problems, but today we’ll just discuss the one. No need to overwhelm you with my inability to maintain a filing system or my ADD when it comes to my desktop wallpaper.

Nope, today, let’s tackle my inability to draw the line between ironic* love and real love.

As someone who enjoys humourous things (are there people out there who don’t?), I especially enjoy loving things ironically. It usually starts small with me jokingly using a funny word or me jokingly confessing my undying love for something weird. But, then it builds. And it builds. And it build some more until BAM! one day I full on actually love something totally embarrassing/inappropriate/lame/ridiculous/all of the above.

So here are some examples:

I used to HATE when people called each other baby. I made this hatred well known and I scoffed at anyone that used that word when not referring to an ACTUAL infant. In fact, I often used to tell people that “the only person that I would ever allow call me baby is Patrick Swayze because ‘no one puts Baby in a corner.'”

This hatred of the word made it all the more funny when I would jokingly call Matt baby. I knew it bugged him and I thought it was funny and it wasn’t a big deal until 2 years went by and now it’s a THING. As in, I actually use that word as a term of endearment. It’s not a joke anymore, it’s something that naturally comes out of my mouth when I talk to Matt (albeit, never in public because I still have some standards).

In a similar example, I started saying OMG as a joke because I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that people would actually say that. Now, it’s a THING that I say, often. I can no longer claim that I’m using it as a joke, we’re past that.

Or, how about the time when I ironically started liking Ke$ha. I thought she was the most ridiculous artist out there and I was dead certain she wouldn’t be any more than a one hit wonder. This certainty allowed me to drop my guard and embrace her insanely catchy single while still maintaining my integrity by laughing at the fact that THERE IS A DOLLAR SIGN IN HER NAME!

But, then she wasn’t a one hit wonder and she released ANOTHER catchy track. I had no problem bopping along in my car and getting my dance on to that second single. I still made fun of her $ and I saw past the glitter facade to recognize that she mostly clothed herself in garbage.

By the third single, I recognized that I should probably be ashamed of my poor taste in music and I tempered my listening enjoyment of her music by quickly switching over to something more acceptable like Arcade Fire or Mumford & Sons.

But now, there is no going back. I am a FULL ON Ke$ha fan and I can’t hide it anymore. It started as a joke and it happened by accident, but it is now the truth and I must embrace it. I LOVE the glitter, I LOVE the unicorns, I eagerly read all the latest gossip about her and once I even watched a YouTube video of a concert of hers (she has cannons that shoot glitter!). I still recognize that she’s probably not the most talented artist out there, but I can no longer deny that talent isn’t all that important when you’re covered in glitter and pumping out an awesome beat.

I won’t blame you if you judge me for these indiscretions. Just beware that this sort of thing can happen to anyone. Don’t let what has happened to me happen to you. Or, do let it happen because honestly, that music video with James VanDerBeek in it is AMAZING!

*I fully realize I am probably misusing the word ironic. Ever since Alanis messed with my head I’ve lost my grasp of the appropriate use of that word and I’m too lazy to look it up right now and confirm its proper use.

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Music meltdown

We’ve been driving a lot this summer. Matt’s family and my family live about 2.5 hours away and between pre-wedding events for my brother’s upcoming nuptials and Matt’s family get togethers, we’re on the road home many weekends.

It’s not a great drive; it’s not a bad drive, but it is a lot of hours in the car. With a lot of hours in the car comes a lot of hours of music. Although Matt and I don’t have the exact same taste in music we do enjoy each others favourites and there are rarely arguments over what to listen to. We have a pretty solid system where the passenger is in charge of the ipod but the driver has veto  on song choice.

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But, it’s not all hunky-dory (why does no one use this word anymore, it’s amazing!). See, Matt is particularly particular about what type of music he feels like right this second.

For me, I choose my music based on my mood. If I’m pumped up and excited about the weekend, then my ipod play list features the likes of Gaga, the Ting Tings and the Black Eyed Peas. If I’m more mellow and relaxed, I’ll move to the Avett Brothers, Counting Crows or Dave Matthews. If I’m in between moods or undecided about my mood, I’ll go for something with a bit of an out of the box sound like Modest Mouse.

All of these choices seem pretty basic and self-explanatory to me. If you break it down, I pretty much find songs that fit the beat of my mood.

But, Matt is infinitely more complex in his music choices. What mood he’s in is important, but it is certainly not the only ingredient when he mixes his cocktail of “music I’ll listen to right this second“.

Nope, he has to make it all complicated and therefore he has to make my life complicated because inevitably I’ll pick the wrong music and be forced to find an acceptable alternative.

From what I can gather, Matt’s music falls into many categories and in order to get the right music you must have taken courses in advanced library sciences in order to figure out the appropriate cross-references that will lead to the perfect song or artist right this second.

First of all, the music must suit the season. There are summer songs and winter songs. Now, you’d think this is simply his aversion to listening to Katy Perry’s California Gurls* in November or his hatred of Here Comes Santa Claus in July. But no, the seasonal categories are deep and scientifically cataloged. Unfortunately, I can’t even find my way through the Dewy Decimal system let alone Matt’s catalog of seasonally appropriate music. He has entire albums and favourite songs that he only listens to for 4 months of the year.

So far, I’ve discovered that Weezer is most certainly summer appropriate. After that, I’m lost.

But, it doesn’t end there. Once you’ve nailed down the summer/winter schism then you have to cross-reference with the weather. Is it raining? Is it sunny? Is it humid? Are we about to get a thunderstorm? Are we in the middle of a thunderstorm? Yes, I bet the music for pre-thunderstorm weather is different from the music for mid-thunderstorm weather.

Finally, you have the time of day to fit into the shakedown. Is it early? Too early for raucous rock music? Or is it just the right time for some loud wake-me-up jams? Is it mid-afternoon? Dusk? Midnight? Do you want the music that will keep you awake while driving or are you awake enough but it’s just that right amount of dark outside that it’s time for some relaxing Simon & Garfunkle?

Gah! How’s a girl to navigate such a minefield of no that’s not quite right? Does anyone else pick their music like this? I know one of Matt’s brothers is the same way but the other brother picks his music more like I do – based only on what he feels like listening to.

How do you pick what to listen to? Is it half as complicated as this?

*Why do people do this! Why do they spell things incorrectly on purpose. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s certainly not witty. In fact, it makes you look like a schmuck. I think Katy and the owner of the Krazy Karpets down the street from me need to review their word lists more carefully.

Loving, not loving and really wanting or: A haphazard blog post full of lists

Things I’m loving:

  • Dance/pop/rock music. I bought 3 cds in the past 2 weeks (who buys cds anymore?!?) I love me some “round tapes” (that’s what my dad calls them) and these three are fabulous. In my head, they all fit into the same genre of music (I’m sure the internet will correct me if I’m wrong and someone will judge me for being all ignorant about music). But, I can’t figure out what genre it is. It’s a lot of dance, a lot of pop and a little bit of rock/alternative. All I know is they all rock and I’m rocking with them.
    • It’s Blitz! – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    • Fixin to Thrill – Dragonette
    • We Started Nothing – The Ting Tings
  • Colourful nail polish. Mine are blue today. Last week they were green part of the time and turquoise another part of the time. For a girl who never paints her nails, that’s a whole lot of nail painting!
  • My one and only tomato plant.
  • That my sister is coming to visit soon!

Things I’m not loving so much:

  • Being so fricken busy! This summer I have a tonne of obligations. From wedding showers to family BBQs, my schedule is packed. I am excited about all of these events on their own. I love seeing family and I love dressing up in summer dresses for such fun occasions. But, when they are all combined, it’s a little overwhelming and I feel like I’ve lost control over my own schedule. And, then I feel raging guilt cause I shouldn’t complain because I’m actually looking forward to all the events. I’m just not looking forward to them all back-to-back-to-back-to-back. It feels like I’m booked till Christmas.
  • That clunky noise my car makes when I turn right.
  • That my knee went all wonky before my 5km race. I’m not going to be able to run the one I planned. But, my knee is getting better (doesn’t everyone have a nurse practitioner, chiropractor and massage therapist on call at all times?) and I will run a 5km race this summer.

Things I want:

  • I desperately want to go dancing. Like wild, crazy, wear red-lipstick and a sequined top dancing. But, the aforementioned schedule means I’m booked till August. Luckily, some of my planned events will involve dancing. Even though it will be sans red lipstick and surrounded by family it may fit the bill because my fam can really boogy.
  • A leather jacket. I know it’s not the season for such frivolities, but I really want one for the fall.
  • On a more season-appropriate clothing request, I really want something made entirely of sequins. I don’t know if I could pull off a full dress, maybe a shirt or a vest.
  • A hobby or a project. Despite having full weekends, I still want something to work on that’s just mine. I’m not very crafty or artistic and I’m not very athletic or good at any team sports. I’m still running but I’d like a project that’s a little more fun and a little less sweaty. I’m open to suggestions. No really, please, provide me with suggestions!

What do you do just for you? What are your hobbies?

Putting an end to The Wallow

These past few weeks have been a little tough for me. Despite the amazing-ness of this sunshiny weather, I’ve been feeling less than awesome about the upcoming summer.

This warm, humid, sunshiny weather reminds me of the years I spent working at a summer camp. Summers past found me with a standard uniform of cargo shorts and tank tops. I would wake to a ringing bell and not worry about brushing my hair before stumbling into the sun to find 100 smiling children and a day full of crafts, running, swimming and face paint ahead of me.

I love my job, but it’s primarily an office job (although I do get to go tour farms every once in a while. Farm days are my favourite days). It’s hard not to fall into a bit of a seasonal slump when you trudge into a climate controlled, weather-neutral workspace which features tauntingly large but unopening windows giving you a perfect visual to the outdoors but no way to actually enjoy them.

I’ve been longing for the summer where I used to wear my watch tan line with pride; the summer where I used to muscle children out of the 2 feet of clay they got stuck in; the summer where I would invent games to entertain children for hours with simple props like Popsicle sticks and milk crates (I worked at a POOR camp); the summer where I would marvel at my ‘tan’ only to see it wash off in the hose and realize that it was just a nice layer of dirt.

I haven’t worked at camp in years, but I still miss it. I miss being outside and wearing french braids.

But, the time for wallowing has come to an end. I need to get out of this slump, pull up my big girl panties and start enjoying this summer.

To help me with this plan to end The Wallow, I have created a(n incomplete) list of fun things I will do this summer:

  • Become a girl who wears nail polish – I have nice nails, I should colour them.
  • Fall in love with all of my old jewelry again and find ways to wear it – I have a lot of chunky, ethnic-looking jewelry from when I was a pseudo-hippie in University. It was all delegated to weekend wear when I got a big-girl job and then it went from weekend wear to being forgotten. I think it’s about time I reclaim those hippie days and match that rockin’ bejeweled faux-silver cuff with some dress capris and a stylish, yet office appropriate top. And yes, I will be sporting that obnoxiously chunky ring in the board meeting. Deal with it.
  • Run a 5 km race.
  • Grow a vegetable – I only have a small balcony but, by golly, I will grow some cherry tomatoes!
  • Train and complete a mini-triathlon.
  • Get outside more – I want to explore the trails around my city and I want to find some activities that let me re-live my glory camp days. Anyone up for some Capture the Flag? (seriously, who wants to play?)
  • Find a friend with a pool – If you follow me on twitter, you will already be aware that I am currently accepting applications for this position.
  • Spend more time drinking on patios at local pubs with friends and host auditions for “Claire’s favourite summer beer.”
  • Party with my family at my brother’s wedding and all the events leading up to it.
  • Plan an awesome vacation with Matt for the end of the summer before he starts school again – we’re currently considering Washington, DC but Boston is also an option. Please advise.
  • Spend at least one weekend at a cottage – do you have a cottage? Can I come visit?
  • Wear summer dresses as much as possible.
  • Continue to expand my music library – I am slowly breaking out of my pop-radio-only slump and I’d like to keep on that.
  • Expand my sandal and summer shoe options.
  • Get dirty – whether it’s from gardening, hiking or an awesome game of Capture the Flag (seriously, please let me know if you want to play), summer isn’t summer without getting a little messy.

That’s all of I’ve got for now, but I’m sure there will be more to add to it. This should be enough to hold the wallow at bay for at least a little while.

What are your summer plans?

A road trip and a request

The open road is calling.

As the sun glows bright, the leaves grow green and the buds begin to sprout, there is nothing better than an open road.

I would give anything to saddle up my hog and take on the endless stream of asphalt with my lady strapped behind me and my boys on either side.

But alas, I have neither a hog nor a lady and I have not been dropped into a Bob Seger song.

What I do have is a 2001 Cavelier that’s sporty because it only has 2 doors (ha! I can dream), a suitcase full of shoes and an ipod to keep me company.

I’m off on a road trip this upcoming week and I am pumped. Unfortunately, I’m tripping alone, but I feel like calling the 7 hour drive to Montreal a ‘road trip’ makes it infinitely more fun. So, I’m sticking with road trip.

Come Friday morning, I will be on my way to Montreal to visit with friends. Friends who I haven’t seen in over a year. Friends that I used to see every single day at home, in class, at the bar, at home, at the gym, in the library, and at home again. You see, I’m going to visit some old housemates and I am excited.

So far, the trip is pretty open ended. The only big plans we have are for M’s birthday and I’ve been told they involve alcohol and a cabaret called Hunk-O-Mania (don’t worry, I’m scared too!). Other than that, I have nothing scheduled. We might go shopping (ha! I like how I pretend it’s a ‘might’), check out some museums, go to the biosphere, the possibilities are endless. Well, almost endless, endless with the confines that we are in Montreal and don’t have an infinite supply of money.

On the way home, I’m breaking up my drive and stopping by Ottawa to hang out with some other friends who I am equally excited to see. I haven’t seen there fancy new place yet and I’m excited to hang out with their beautiful puppy again!

Overall, I’m pretty excited. I haven’t been on a vacation that didn’t involve family (who I love dearly) in far to long and I’m really pumped to meet old friends and catch up.

Although I don’t have many concrete plans for when I actually get there, I do have some plans for the drive. Most of those plans include a kick ass playlist.

I think I’ll start out with some Top 40 to get me excited and to distract me from the fact that I am at hour 0 of 7. But, there is only so much Ke$ha and Justin Beiber a girl can handle and I suspect I’ll need to be moving away from the pop stations come the end of hour 1 on the road.

Next comes some sweet podcasts I have lined up (hello Stewart McLean, please tell me a wonderful story).

The plan is to explore some less-mainstream music from hours 3 through to the end of time 7. I think this is the perfect opportunity to remind myself of the fact that I do enjoy some great music and I do not have to submit my ears to the repetitive beats and auto-tuned voices of Top 40 ALL.THE.TIME. Seriously, I swear I used to have good taste in music but lately all I listen to is the pop radio station and I think I need to explore some other options.

This is where you come in. Dearest Readers, (all 12 of you) please tell me who I should add to my playlist for this road trip. What’s your favourite song right now? Who have you seen live recently that just rocked your socks off? Please, help me out!

Also, tell me what you think I MUST do in Ottawa and Montreal!

Dance Break

Remember way back in Grade 6 when the coolest thing to do on a Friday night was have a sleepover with your BFs4Eva and make up dance routines in your basement?

Remember way back when you and your closest gal pals would record music videos and replay them a million times over until you had all of the dance moves memorized.

Remember at the Grade 7 dance when ‘the song’ came on and the dance floor would clear and you would perform those routines for all your classmates in perfect sync with your 3 best friends?

Gawd, those days were awesome.

I used to dance a lot. I used to be in tap class, ballet class, jazz class and hip hop class. I was often at the dance studio four or five nights a week. It consumed my life way back in the day. That was until I decided to drop it all to pursue my other love: acting. In grade 10, that was a life changing and very difficult decision.

I cannot even begin to deny that I loved the stage. I loved being the centre of attention and I loved performing. I’m confident I made the right decision way back then. As much as I loved dance, I loved drama too.

But, dance has always stuck with me. All through high school and even into university I used to choreograph dances to songs in my head. I would hear a song and get some crazed idea of dance steps that I could not even begin to actually do in real life, but I would fit them together in my head to create the perfect routine that would wow the crowds in my imaginary, but sold-out, theatre.

I don’t do that so much anymore – the choreography-in-my-head thing. I think I just fell out of practice. I tried to pull together a make-believe masterpiece in my kitchen the other day while washing dishes, but it wasn’t as easy as it used to be. I think even imaginary choreography takes practice.

I think I’ll start practicing again. Not in real life, but in my head. Maybe I’ll start with something easy. I think I could probably make a rockin’ ensemble piece to N’Sync’s I Want You Back. In fact, I may even remember some stellar moves from grade seven.

Best of 09: Album of the Year

I’m doing the Best of 2009 Blog Challenge.

December 10 Album of the year. What’s rocking your world?

I have a confession to make: I listen to bad music.

I used to listen to good music. I used to know about good indie bands and I used to listen to a lot of old classic rock, and not just the popular old classic rock.

But then it all changed. I don’t exactly know when it happened. It started with an increasing desire to be able to sing along with the songs at the bar. It kept building as my radio listening increased and my iTunes playing decreased (it hurts my computer to run such a program now-a-days). And just like how lots of small earthquakes and volcanic eruptions eventually build a mountain range, my love of bad music built to the point where I can no longer hide it.

On the way to work, Ke$ha’s song Tik Tok puts a smile on my face. I belt out Britney Spears on my way to the mall. I have the Pussy Cat Dolls on my iPod and I no longer frantically change the station to something ‘more appropriate’ when coworkers and friends get in my car: “Yes I listen to KISS FM, do you have a problem with that?”

Therefore, I am really unequipped to answer this question. But, in a classic Claire move I’m going to answer it anyway.

Despite my love of bad music, and trust me, that love runs deep, I did happen to see a couple good concerts this past year.

I saw Ben Folds, Craig Cardiff, Great Big Sea, Bruce Springsteen and Dave Matthews this year alone (please note this is not a typical year for me, I think I’ve seen more concerts this year than I have all my life).

From these concerts I ended up purchasing CDs which get various amounts of playtime on the drive to work. Typically, I’m totally satisfied with my Rhianna and Beyonce but every once in a while I need a little more depth and I’ll delve into Ben or Dave.

So, of all the 4 CDs I bought this year (Ben Folds – Way to Normal, Dave Matthews – Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King, Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 – White Lies for Dark Times and the impulse buy of MGMT – Oracular Spectacular) the best I have to say is Ben Folds – Way to Normal.

This is not to diminish Dave and Ben H., cause they rock (I don’t feel so bad diminishing MGMT). But Ben F. rocks my world. I mean this man has so much talent (unlike Ke$ha) and such a great sense of humour. His snappy piano chords make me endlessly happy and his lyrics make me laugh out loud. He is vulgar and sarcastic and funny as all hell. We’re talking about a guy who was ballsy enough to write lyrics about how hard it is being male, middle-class and white. Yes, this is offensive to most people, but it’s dripping with so much sarcasm and the piano behind it is so happy that I can’t help but love it (the song in question is not on Way to Normal, it’s called Rockin’ the Suburbs on an album of that same name).

Back to the Way to Normal album itself, it is full of gems. The first song tells of story of how he tripped and fell off the stage at a concert in Hiroshima and got a concussion. The song is called Hiroshima or B-B-Benny Hits His Head. Another song, You Don’t Know Me on the album with Regina Spektor is haunting and beautiful. The Frown Song features lyrics such as “Tread slowly from the car to the spa, like a weary war-torn refugee, it’s a struggle just to get to shiatsu…” and the song, The Bitch Went Nuts always makes me giggle.

You should probably go out and buy this album right now. It will improve your mood, it always improves mine. Also check out Dave Matthews and Ben Harper they rock out hard as well. Ben H.’s new band, the Relentless 7, are pretty awesome and the song Shimmer and Shine always gets me pumped up. Dave’s album is all kinds of awesome too and my favourite song from that one is You and Me, it’s so sweet. Buy all three, I promise it’s a good idea. Or, put them on your Christmas list, there’s still time!


Hi There!


I'm Claire. I like to write about ridiculous things.

I love chocolate but don't think cheese and cake belong together.

I often wish it was socially acceptable to wear glitter before 10pm.

If you want to chat, email me at clairesuzanne1 at gmail dot com.

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